In Republic Commando you are the leader of the Delta Squad, a squad of four elite clone warriors
Star Wars: Republic Commando is considered to be one of the best Star Wars games. However, it was already published in 2005. It could still be played on the PC and Xbox One thanks to backward compatibility. For owners of other consoles, however, it was considered a “lost jewel”.
Republic Commando has now been re-released for PS4 (and thus also PS5) and Nintendo Switch. It is available in the respective stores of the consoles for 15 euros. I tested the game on the PS5.
The positive thing about Republic Commando is the setting. Star Wars fans not only have the rare opportunity to playfully immerse themselves in the time of the Clone Wars, but also to play a clone warrior themselves. You slip into the role of the leader of the Delta Squad, a group of 4 elite clone warriors.
Similar to the animated Star Wars series “The Clone Wars”, not much time is wasted on the story. You start with the attack on Geonosis. Then there is a short text to read and you are, without any direct connection, exploring an Acclamator-I-class attack transporter. A few years later in the timeline you are fighting on the home planet of the Wookies.
From today’s perspective, the incoherent sequence of missions takes a lot of getting used to. The locations and scenarios that one only knew from the animated series, but were not allowed to play, compensate for this.
The game is a shooter with tactical elements. The game is played from the first-person view. The tactical elements relate to the fact that you can give the 3 AI comrades basic commands (defend area, search & destroy). At certain points, such as cover or guns, you can instruct your comrades to take a stand.
From today’s perspective, it is not understandable why the AI was so praised for its intelligence back then. The clone warriors run and fight, but sometimes they stop half a meter in front of a B2 super battle droid and allow themselves to be killed instead of running for cover. In addition, they do not take a stand on critical points on their own, although it is obvious that it is necessary and that they should.
Sending the clones into the positions is bumpy at best. Often times, the area to target to send a trooper in or out is so small that it is difficult to get a crosshair across in the heat of the moment.
The gunplay is rather mediocre. The standard blaster has a high rate of fire, but only does sufficient damage if it is hit by the head. Precise aiming and shooting is hardly possible. It is easiest with normal enemies if you stand directly in front of them and only then shoot or use the melee attack. But that feels old-fashioned even for a shooter released in 2005 and is more reminiscent of games like Doom 2 or Quake 3.
What am I shooting at?
It’s similar with the graphics. For the re-release, the HUD and a few textures were polished up, but in principle you get to see the 2005 game almost in the original. As a die-hard Star Wars fan, you sometimes think: What the hell?
The iconic Separatist droids are only recognizable as such when you stand in front of them – and even then, they look more like command droids than B1 droids. The same goes for many other opponents. Sometimes you wonder what you are shooting at.
In 2005 Republic Commando was one of the best Star Wars games because there were no alternatives in this setting. It’s still the only notable first-person single-player shooter set in the era of the Clone Wars.
That alone is enough to give the game a chance as a Star Wars fan – even if the trip to 2005 is bumpy. For 15 euros you can still have a good 8 hours of acceptable conversation.
Occasional Star Wars consumers who smell a hit game at a bargain price should rather distance themselves from the game. It has not aged well because it had problems back then that are still there today. It’s a shame that it’s just a re-release and not a remake or at least a nice remaster. The scenario set in the context of the Clone Wars deserves a more loving refreshment.