Saturday, March 05, 2005

Republic Commando for Xbox outblasts Halo

In the world according to O-dogg, I'd rather take my squad of Clone Commandos and blast up Geonosian Warriors and Battle Droids in the Star Wars Universe anyday. Let's give Microsoft credit for creating the benchmark first-person shooter game, Halo, and allowing Lucasarts to create an exclusive Star Wars title to rival Halo.

First thing first. Star Wars videogames are just plain cool because they come with authentic soundtracks, sound effects and characters. Republic Commando is a bit of a hybrid because although we're familiar with clone troopers and battle droids, the soundtrack is definitely more rock and roll and the story is an offshoot of a plotline, rather than based on one of the movies. The game play is similar to Halo ... but better.

In single player mode, you have three other commandos that specialize in electronics, explosives and flat-out killing, respectively. You can give those commandos orders that make your life as the leader a lot easier. The weaponry is awesome and the controls are almost identical to Halo, with familiar grenades, melee attacks, strafe/look and jump/squat all at your fingertips. What I like about this game is that you have up to four weapons available at one time because the main DC-17 rifle converts into both sniper mode and heavy anti-armor mode. On top of those three options, you can pick up any enemy weapon and throw grenades with your left hand. If all else fails and you run out of ammo, you always carry a hand pistol that never runs out of laser blasts and the handy-dandy melee attack comes complete with a knife that pops out of forearm ... Wolverine-bezerker style.

The features that I like best are the tactical visor, which is so helpful in knowing the status of the squad, and its constant guidance of distances and objectives. I also love that you don't die a whole lot in this game. As long as one member of the squad is alive and kicking, the game continues. There are generous opportunities to refill health at "bacta stations" and revive downed squad members even without a bacta station.

This game is player-friendly and as easy to pick up as Halo was. So, if you're a blogging, Xboxing, Halo-loving, Star Wars fan run out and get this game ASAP. I guarantee you'll have a blast with it.

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