In Good Company
HIGH Tense multiplayer.
LOW Why the hell is there Dr. Disrespect-themed content?
WTF The beat to Run The Jewels’ “Legend Has It” plays during the character select screen.
Rogue Company is a third-person shooter from developer First Watch Games and published by Hi-Rez Studios (Paladins, Smite) in which two teams of four compete to either attack or defend an objective.
Sure, that doesn’t sound super original, but what if I said that it stars a group of characters with different passive and special abilities? No? What if I said they also enter the arena via wingsuits… which has also basically been done.
I struggle to pinpoint what makes Rogue Company stand out because it really doesn’t, and most of its best ideas come from other shooters. However, that isn’t inherently a bad thing.
Rogue Company asks players to tackle different objectives across three different modes. Each team is four players who choose from 13 different characters called “rogues”. The story sets the rogues up as participants in an interconnected conflict, each with varying backstories including ‘street racer’, ‘discharged veteran’. ‘crime boss’ and more.
Frankly, the setup isn’t interesting and the opening cinematic tries to go for the gusto in the way that Blizzard’s famously ostentatious Overwatch CG does, but RC really lost me — I just didn’t care what was going on between these people. Thankfully, this being a multiplayer-focused title, the weak story didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment.
As of the time this review was written, there are three modes, each offering a variation on attacking or defending a point on the map.
Demolition, the main mode, is the most straightforward. Taking cues from the likes of Counter-Strike (or even this year’s Valorant), players start every round by buying weapons, perks and items for use in that round. After being dropped into the map via wingsuits, they must either plant a bomb at one of two objective areas or eliminate the defending team. The opposing team has to either disarm that bomb or kill every enemy. There is no respawning until the next round starts.
Again, this is standard stuff that doesn’t deviate much from the formula set by games before it. Despite that, the controls feel great and shooting has a kick that I have come to love. Downing enemies feels satisfying and the tension added by either the bomb or the risk of being killed heightens the excitement in each round.
The other two modes offer slight variations of the Demolition formula. Extraction plays nearly identically, except that the objective point rotates each round. Strikeout, my favorite of the bunch, has players frantically trying to deplete the enemy team’s lives while trying to hack an objective.
The rogues themselves add much to the gameplay, thanks to their different abilities — every one has a special ability that takes time to charge and a passive that grants them a buff. My new main, Scorch, has the power to inflict fire damage from either bullets or melee attacks. She’s also immune to fire, and able to walk through the flames certain grenades cause.
Each rogue also has a specific loadout, with the option to purchase one of two primary weapons. Everyone starts with a pistol during the first round of a match, and as the game goes on, they earn cash for performing certain tasks like racking up kills, reviving teammates, and so forth. Weapons can be upgraded and players can buy different perks like being able to mark enemies for their team to see or the ability to reload while sprinting.
Rogue Company encourages experimentation with the full cast by allowing only one specific rogue per team — it’s not possible to have two Scorches on a side, for example. However, if there’s a character that players become attached to, they can earn mastery points by selecting them more often.
Teamwork is encouraged and knowing what other rogues do is essential. For example, I was playing a few rounds with fellow GameCritics writer (and Saint main) A.J. Small. He noticed that the enemy team was using a rogue named Dallas, who has the ability to reveal enemy players on the map. Because of this, he knew to buy perks that prevented him from being seen.
With RC finally being released in a free-to-play format, the question of microtransactions comes into play. There are two types of currencies — Rogue Bucks and “reputation.” The former is bought with real-world cash and used to buy a majority of the cosmetics in the game. The latter is earned through play and can be spent on some cosmetic items. However, none of the purchases affect gameplay, it’s all just about looks.
Rogue Company wears its influences on its sleeves. Like other Hi-Rez studio releases, I have no doubt it will take off and become a popular staple among multiplayer aficionados — even with generic-looking characters and gameplay that borrows from others in the genre, I can’t pull myself away from it. It may be derivative, but it’s also an addiction, and I that in itself is an impressive feat.
Disclosures: This game is published by Hi-Rez Studios and developed by First Watch Games. It is available on PC, PS4, Switch, XBX and XBO. This copy was obtained via publisher and was reviewed on PS4 and XBO. Approximately 15 hours were spent in multiplayer. There is no single-player
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T for Blood, Suggestive Themes, and Violence. The action here isn’t horrifically violent, thanks to the lack of gore but this might be more suitable for older teens than young children.
Colorblind Modes: Colorblind modes are present in the options menu.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles are present during the training stage, but nowhere else. Being able to mark enemies on the map is locked to certain abilities, and without those abilities, the player will be unable to receive any visual cues that show where other players are. Also, the minimap displays cues when guns are being fired, but those cues are not on the main screen. Overall, I’d say that this game is not accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes, the controls are remappable. The Y-axis can be inverted
He has a knack for talking about movies and games he‘s passionate about. If anyone ever needs an expert on Jim Jarmusch, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Donkey Kong Country, or Kanye West, he’s your guy. Don’t say we didn't warn you, though.