Star Wars: Republic Commando review
An engaging but short FPS for Star Wars fans

The good:

Great Star Wars-based storyline. Excellent sounds, music, and voice acting. Online & offline multiplayer modes.

The bad:

Sluggish controls. Too short. Somewhat dull graphics. Long load times.


A new FPS set in the Star Wars universe, Republic Commando follows the pre-Trilogy movie storyline by placing the player in the role of a Clone Trooper commando. Your objective is to lead your four-man unit, codenamed Delta Squadron, through a series of campaigns covering events from Episodes 1-3, mostly events surrounding the Clone Wars. You'll face enemies like Droids, Trandoshans, Genosians, and other local types while ordering your team to perform various maneuvers as part of your duties.
The graphics are clean but generally dull, as everything seems to be dark and really lacking variety and color in the settings. The frame rate is generally smooth but at times it seems to skip frames when in crowded areas, and it also results in occasional slowdown issues. Characters show plenty of detail but a few of the larger, more detailed ones like the Wookies seem to look a little rough around the edges. Sounds & music, like in almost all Star Wars games, are one of the game's strongest points. The sound effects are taken directly from the movies, resulting in an extremely high level of realism & authenticity, although a few sounds, like when a Super Battle Droid or commando gets shocked by a detonator, are way too silly. The voice acting is solid, highlighted by Temeura Morrison (Jango Fett in Episode 2) lending his unique voice to the player's character. There's a lot of chatter as well between the player's characters and enemies, and although there's a good variety of lines they quickly get a little repetitive. The music is taken directly from John Williams' scores, and each piece sounds very appropriate for the area and situation the player is in. Controls are equally complex and sluggish-every button on the Xbox controller is used in some form or another, as well as the control pad and both thumbsticks. The controls sometimes feel slow to respond, especially when you're trying to change weapons, and using the right thumbstick to look around and aim while using the left stick to move is tougher than it should be and takes getting used to. Additionally, you just can't pick up some weapons by running over them like in most FPS games-here you have to look at it, be in the right position, then press a certain button-extremely time-consuming and aggravating in a battle. Gameplay offers a few variations on traditonal FPS, namely in that you can order your other squad members to perform various tasks like demolition, slicing terminals, door breaching, sniping, and others. The only issue is you also have the option of doing these yourself, so it can almost defeat the purpose sometimes. The enemies all come from the Star Wars universe and will be recognizable instantly to fans of the movies, as will most of the weapons, but there are a few new additions. Also, the game is much shorter than it appears to be-although the maps are a decent size and there are 3 different campaigns, there are only about 12 stages in all and are not as long as they could have been...most skilled players can beat this game in only about 10 hours. There also is no real unlockable content except for a handful of "Making of" featurettes for progressing through the game as normal. Also, the load times between areas and stages are rather long, generally 15-20 seconds but can be up to a minute or so when you're trying to load a saved game after turning the game on. Multiplayer and online play add some replay value. Also worth noting, even though it has absolutely no bearing on gameplay, is this is perhaps the first Star Wars video game since the Arcade original (1982) that DOES NOT begin with an "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." and subsequent logo & scrolling text prologue. When you start a game you get right into it, even though the first part of the game just has you looking around as you're...well...cultivated and become a clone trooper. It's also funny to note that the gameplay demo after the "Press Start" screen (wait a couple minutes) is actually for the PC version, not the Xbox version!
This game clearly will be a winner with it's target audience, Star Wars fans, but probably will not be much more than an extended rental to all others except for hardcore FPS fanatics. Consider waiting for the price to come down to $20-30 if you're not a SW fan but want to pick this one up.

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