Platform | Release Date
PS3 | September 13, 2011
X360 | September 14, 2011
PC | September, 2011
Developed by Avalanche Studios
Published by SEGA
RENEGADE OPS™ puts players in a mobile commando unit sent behind enemy lines to defeat Inferno, a madman intent on global domination. Defeat enemies across a range of stunning environments using a wide variety of vehicles, from tanks armed to the teeth to fully loaded helicopters.
One of my fondest childhood memories was playing with G.I. Joe toys. High-tech tanks, jeeps, helicopters, and hovercrafts that had all manner of cool looking weapons and crazy characters like Destro and Snake Eyes at their helm. I would spend hours scripting out massive battles between the forces of good and their arch nemesis, Cobra. This obsession with vehicular combat was instantly translated onto the television screen during my 8 and 16-bit days with games like Jackal, Return Fire, and the “Strike” series. I’m happy to say Avalanche Studios has re-captured the spirit of this era with the release of Renegade Ops.
The story of Ren Ops is straight out of a classic episode of G.I. Joe – the classic one, not the crappy re-makes. The evil mastermind Inferno has plans to take over the world by detonating a massive bomb. General Bryant can’t get help from the world’s militaries to take on Inferno’s terrorist army, so he recruits a crack group of renegade operatives. This is where you come in, choosing from one of of the four renegades and their heavily armed vehicles. Although each vehicle is different and effective in its own way, I played as Roxy in her fast-attack dune buggy for the majority of the game. In part because she can call down air strikes, but mostly because dune buggies are awesome. Other options include a jeep, APC’s, and at times, helicopters. The entire story is told through comic panels and animations with over the top voice acting and dialogue that set a great, cartoon-like tone.
Action takes place in an isometric view across nine missions. You’ll visit and blow up various locales such as jungles, deserts, and underground super fortresses. The environments are highly destructible, adding to the overall carnage you can unleash. In addition to Inferno tanks, foot soldiers and helicopters, you can blow up, shoot down, or crash through almost every structure you come across. The mayhem is both satisfying and hectic. Even in single player, you’ll sometimes lose track of yourself on the screen because of all the explosions.
While you’re busy annihilating everything in sight, you’ll be tasked with one main objective and additional side missions that pop up through each chapter. Many of them involve blowing up something specific or loading POW’s into your vehicle and rescuing them, a la Jackal. These side missions are repetitive, but it’s so much fun shooting the hell out of everything that I never got bored with them. Plus, side missions net you bonus points. These, along with multipliers you receive for causing massive havoc, are the best way to earn the points you need to unlock upgrades for your vehicles. You can work on upgrading as long as you’re on any difficulty higher than “casual”, but beware, this game is no slouch. I had more than my fair share of deaths on the challenging “normal” difficulty.
While Ren Ops is fun played on your lonesome, the real magic happens in multiplayer. Couch co-op is solid, and showcases a “dynamic” split-screen function similar to Toejam and Earl, although the split screen can still be a bit confusing when there is so much going on at once during combat. Online multiplayer is superior, and 4 player co-op online is out-of-control awesome. It’s just classic, reckless, video game fun with everyone driving all over the place blowing up everything in sight. It’s also got a simple, well designed lobby and there was barely any lag in the games I played. Avalanche should be commended for such smartly implemented co-op.
Renegade Ops may not be one of the most hotly anticipated titles of this year’s insane fall lineup, but it’s absolutely worth checking out. Avalanche isn’t breaking any new ground, but instead they’ve created a game that’s fun, highly polished, and reaches back to the classic console-era in all the right ways. Especially the ways that involve fiery explosions and smashing jeeps through houses.