Most of the games hark back to past titles tend to treat the source material in a variety of ways, and they tend to have some detractors that become displeased by such unfaithfulness. As time goes by, changes have to happen in order to stave off staleness and bring the title to a newer audience. In the case of Renegade X though, the degree of faithfulness to the original title is something that Command & Conquer fans should appreciate. If you’re one of those kids who don’t know what Command & Conquer is, then this game should convince you of how good the franchise is in shooter form.
Renegade X is the successor to the original Conquer & Conquer Renegade, a first/third-person shooter with real-time strategy elements that was released way back in 2002 that let fans of the real-time strategy games experience how it is to be on the ground, fighting as either GDI or Nod amidst the tiberium-laden battlefields with various classes and vehicles at your disposal. The objective is to destroy the enemy base, and you must coordinate with your teammates in order to do so as you will have to contend with opposing players and base defenses in the way of accomplishing it.
This is a passion project by Totem Arts that took the original Renegade, updated it to current standards, and breathed it new life. Just as when the development of the new Command & Conquer had been put to jeopardy and the franchise itself beset by past releases that sullied its reputation, this reminder of what Command & Conquer is about seems apropos, even if it’s in first-person form. It was developed with the Unreal Development Kit, so it scores quite well on the technical side of things. Two betas are available for download, which are Renegade X: Black Dawn singleplayer and the online multiplayer client.
It’s still rough around the edges in a few places, but the developers have done a good job in coming up with something that stays faithful to the original while adding a few more bits to make it more complete. The singleplayer makes use of the original voices from the first game, which fans of the series can appreciate. There is a shortage of missions though, so perhaps more will be made in the coming future since it’s in continued development after all. The main focus of this beta though is the multiplayer, featuring the Command and Conquer mode.
If you don’t know how the multiplayer in Renegade is like, there is a comprehensive tutorial that you can learn the ropes from. The tutorial is voiced by Justin “TheGunrun” Ignacio, the broadcast manager of TwitchTV and also a big Command & Conquer fan who made mods for games in the past. That means it’s an actual player teaching you how to the game and not just someone who’d been given some cue cards to read off without understanding a word, so you should be able to get it easily enough.
Despite the similarities, this game does feel a good bit different from the first one. In the original, weapons didn’t have recoil, which made it incredibly easy to kill enemies in multiplayer and finish the singleplayer. Renegade X turns that around, implementing more realistic weapon accuracy that requires more skill from players to utilize. There are more weapons and vehicles to choose from, which you can purchase once your side has enough resources, which are being acquired from tiberium fields by harvesters. You can destroy the enemy refinery to hamper their economy and ability to procure more powerful equipment.
Choosing which buildings to destroy first is a big part of the strategy in this game. Destroying the war factory or airstrip prevents the enemy from getting vehicles, taking out the power plant shuts down radar and makes everything more expensive, and so on. You must also contend with base defenses while you’re at it, which means that you have to bring firepower and explosives into the mix to take them out. If your buildings are damaged, they can be repaired by engineers with the repair gun, and they can defuse planted C4 bombs as well.
This game is good fun to play with friends and is true to the Command & Conquer franchise in so many ways. It doesn’t look half-bad either, with the Unreal Engine giving Renegade X that large chunk of visual appeal that was absent in the original. It took a while for Totem to make this game, so for them to make it available for free in such quality, even though it’s still in beta, is quite commendable.
Perhaps this is over-romanticizing, but it has to be said somehow. This project isn’t just some any other game; it’s a love letter to a lost yet belove franchise. There was no real reason for it to exist other than giving what the fans want, and that’s earnestness that can truly be appreciated. For those who want to try it out, go to Renegade-X.com to download the client of your choice.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8.5/10