Renegade Ops is a sexy new twin stick shooter from Avalanche Studios. This game features stunning visuals, four different upgradeable vehicles, four player online co-op, and two player couch co-op. You’ll play as one of the four Renegades, an elite team of do-gooders dedicated to thwarting evil and blowing stuff up in spectacular fashion.
Avalanche Studios are the same guys who made Just Cause 2, which itself is a very sharp looking retail game. Renegade Ops features truly impressive graphics for a downloadable title. The environments are bright and colorful, and the weapon effects and explosions are superb. The levels themselves give the illusion of being very large, but timed objectives hinder your chances to truly explore most areas.
The game wastes none of its graphical prowess on the story. This is not a bad thing. The plot plays out through a series of voice-overs and comic stills. The voice of the main hero is jarringly out of place, but it adds to the campy vibe of the game. I was expecting the main villain, Inferno, to bust out a “Co-Bra!” Alas, it never happened. Inferno is threatening to destroy mankind because he didn’t get sharks with frick’n laser beams attached to their heads, or something like that. Shoot stuff before it shoots you. Got it? Good.
She looks battle-hardened to me.
At the beginning of each level you can choose between one of four characters. Each one has their own specific vehicle with its own available upgrades. I usually choose the most tank-like vehicle, but I recently decided to alter my criteria, so I chose the girl who was showing the most skin. Roxy drives an armored dune buggy and has a bad-ass Air Strike special ability. That’ll work.
I soon realized the only real difference in the vehicles was their special attacks. Of the other three vehicles, Armand has a very Batmobile-esque shield, Diz has an EMP, and Gunnar has a - wait for it, Heavy Gun. Each vehicle has three upgrade towers. The first two towers focus on defense and offense, and are pretty much the same across all four vehicles. Defense adds armor or extra lives, while the offense tower does things like increase secondary weapon ammo or damage. The third tower is the tactical tower, and it applies to your special abilities. Choose your vehicle based on whichever special power compliments your play style. I like to fire and forget, and I like bare midriffs, so Roxie was a natural choice.
The online co-op portion of the game is pretty standard. Four players can connect via magic tubes and take on any one of the nine missions. You aren’t tethered to each other, so you can divide and conquer when secondary objectives occur in the heat of battle. Each player levels up by scoring points (killing bad guys). Every time you level up you’ll earn an upgrade point to spend on the particular vehicle you are currently using. If you run out of lives (yeah, it’s one of those games) before completing the level your game is over, but you get to keep all of your upgrade points. You can apply those to your vehicle and try again. Certain skills stack, so choose wisely!