It took me way to long to play Star Wars Republic Commando - way too long. After binging every season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I grew attached to the clones in a way the movies never seemed to convey. Their personalities shone through, and the lore presented was some of the best in the franchise. Jumping into Republic Commando after that all these years later felt like a new chapter in the series, and despite originally releasing back in 2005, has withstood the test of time.
Diving into Star Wars Republic Commando, I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I'd say what little expectations I had were completely off. From the gameplay I'd seen, I just anticipated the game to be another FPS campaign, but set in the Star Wars universe. The heat of the action being set in the middle of the Clone Wars is a great choice, and perhaps the most suitable period in the franchise to frame a game such as this. While you do get all the thrills and action of an FPS campaign, you also get so much more.
While the narrative isn't much to write home about, where the game absolutely excels is in its gameplay. Opening with an explosive set piece amidst a huge battle on the planet Geonosis, things immediately go full throttle and the campaign never lets go from there. In a similar vein to Call of Duty, where its campaigns have you running from one thrilling moment to the next, with someone in your ear screaming "go, go, go", the same sense of adrenaline is felt here.
But what sets Star Wars Republic Commando apart from other Star Wars spin-offs and every other military shooter is the tactical gameplay. Outside of the setting, the game embodies everything I loved from the Clone Wars show - the comradery. Across the entire adventure, you'll be joined by three other clone troopers. Each has their own personality, skills, and usefulness. Very quickly the game shows that it's more than a simple FPS shooter and becomes a more tactical experience.
You'll be guiding your team mates into position, issuing commands, and working together to clear room after room. Even on the normal difficulty, if you decide to run into the middle of a fight and go all-guns blazing, you'll wind up dead. I absolutely loved this surprising gameplay element. It genuinely made me feel like a commando, ensuring that I was quickly issuing commands on the fly to guarantee our survival. It takes quite a few missions to really get what the game is about, and it can be a steep learning curve, but once it clicks, it feels so good.
It won't be long before you're entering rooms, issuing orders left, right and centre, as your ragtag band of heroes dispose of enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible. Setting up your sniper into position, followed by ordering your demolitions expert to go forward and cause some destruction while you lay down supressing fire is exhilarating. It often feels like a real time battle of chess as you carefully work you way through each linear level.
Despite the graphics, it's easy to forget how old this game actually is. The gunplay feels terrific, the squad mechanic is a perfect addition, and once those classic Star Wars themes ramp up in the heat of battle, you'll have a massive grin on your face. Some elements feel a bit overused by the end, but it's hard to deny the blast I had on this adventure. It's quickly become one of my favourite Star Wars games, and if you're yet to check it out, now may be the time, young Padawan.
Also, Star Wars: The Bad Batch is out on Disney + today. Don't sleep on that!
Have you checked out Star Wars Republic Commando? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.