Let me start by saying: Wow. Now that I got that out of the way, I can get to describing this thing. Renegade does what it truly is meant to do, bring you Command and Conquer on the ground level. After playing it a lot the last few days I can truly say Westwood Studios has made a new kind of FPS. I like to call it a First Person Strategy. Sure you can run and shoot like a renegade but in the end your not going to win. Team play and sound strategy will win the day every time out. This game brings together the best elements from the strategy genre into the shooting genre and does it in a seemingly easy to learn, fun to use way.
Renegade’s interface is a mixed bag. While it brings forth a very familiar C&C status bar on all units, targeting in general can be a bit tough. When you’re close to your opponent and you are both running like mad and shooting each other you would think people would be dieing. In that scenario it takes about 2 minutes to kill anyone. This can become very frustrating at times. Sniping is also made difficult when trying to hit moving targets. Once I got used to the interface I got a better handle for how to play. It takes a few days before you feel comfortable enough.
While every 3D game’s graphical performance is based on your own computer specifications its difficult to judge graphics on any game. Every user is going to have a different experience. From what I’ve seen the graphics are solid. The engine is a bit dated by today’s standards so it can be difficult to compare it to some games such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein. All the textures are well done and the vehicle, building, and unit renderings are crisp and detailed. It’s still in the beta stages and a lot of the art needs to be improved upon but I’m sure come release date it’ll look much better. Graphically this game does what it needs to do but you won’t be impressed compared to the current line-up of games.
While we see some old weapons in Renegade, we find some new ones as well. Some of the weapons are too strong while others are very weak. Do to the fact that Renegade is in a fictional universe the people at Westwood don’t have any real guidelines when creating weapon balance. Weapons such as the shotgun and pistol are useless while the railgun can take out a mammoth tank in 6 or 7 shots. There is still a lot of balancing to do and this beta test will greatly help in that. All the C4 and mines act like they should and there was no visible glitches in any of the weapons. After trying them all I have to say I like the railgun the most and the grenade launcher the least.
From your standard issue hummer to the invisible stealth tank, Renegade has a good amount of familiar C&C based vehicles. They all handle like they should and the physics engine is done quite well. The mammoth tank is slow and powerful while the dune buggy is fast and lightly armored. They are a blast to drive right into the enemy base. It’s also enjoyable to run over enemy infantry. While you can’t really win without the vehicles they are not as mighty as they look against special forces units. A few shots from Ravenshaw’s railgun or Sydney’s personal ion cannon and they’re toast. Used as a mode of transport and attack, vehicles earn their place in Renegade.
All the buildings are perfectly rendered and scaled and act just like they should. Destroy a power plant to make the enemy have to pay twice as much and wait twice as long for their vehicles and special units. A downed power planet also takes all base defenses offline. Kill their refinery and you’ve killed their cash flow. Destroy their barracks and they lose the ability to buy special forces units. Kill their weapons factory to disable their ability to create new vehicles. Most buildings can be easily destroyed by placing lots of C4 inside or with tank fire from the outside. The trick is keeping them healthy while having some guys stay back at base and repair.
The sound in Renegade is a mixed bag of footsteps, machine gun fire, and explosions. When walking great distances, and you will on these massive maps, hearing the sound of your footsteps repeating over and over like a bad wav file can get quite annoying. It is nice to hear the differences when you walk on different types of terrain. Most of the guns sound like what they should while others just sound weak and make the gun seem that way. All the explosions, EVA, and voice commands are done to perfection. Unfortunately there was no in-game music to be had although there was a nice track during the installation. Make sure not to put the speaker volume too loud or your mom might think you and your sister have started world war 3.
All the multiplayer maps are huge. It can take a good 3-4 minutes to walk by foot to the enemy base. The city maps have neutral buildings that you can fire out of ala RA2. The desert maps have a good combination of rock outcroppings and sand dunes that’ll make you thirsty. The balance of building, vehicle, unit, and base size help the maps feel like they should. Allowing you to move around without getting lost. I thought there was a good amount of originality in the few maps I’ve played. One map had a funny freeway sign that had the NOD symbol on one side and the GDI symbol on the other pointing to the enemy base.
The Purchase Terminal
What really sets Renegade apart from all other multiplayer FPS games is its money and purchasing systems. You acquire money from killing enemy infantry, vehicles, or buildings or from your harvester and Tiberium refinery. Once you have a good amount of money you can visit a purchase terminal, which can be found in every friendly building. Once you log into the terminal you’re presented with a purchase screen allowing you to change the type of soldier you are, refill your weapons, buy special units, or purchase new vehicles. Once a vehicle is bought you have 12 seconds to enter it before its up for grabs to the rest of your team. Saving your money will allow you to buy very strong special units or vehicles, which can easily rip bases apart. These purchase terminals add a whole new realm of strategy in of themselves.
In conclusion I would have to say Renegade has the potential to be one of the greatest FPS's out there. Westwood is really gonna need a lot of polishing cream to get this one together for the release date. But I'm convinced that in their capable hands they can pull it off. The game gets better and better each day so if these impressions seem a bit harsh its do to the fact they are on a beta version of the game.
Each day till the end of the beta test we’ll be releasing more information on each aspect of the game mentioned above. Additionally each day you can feast your eyes on 10 brand new screenshots. So stay tuned. If you have a question about Renegade stop by our forums and get your question answered by one of the three Westwood Infiltration beta testers.
Click here to access our Renegade Beta area where you can find new Renegade Beta info.
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