As I covered in my preview piece a little while ago, Rogue Company is a free-to-play title appearing on the Xbox One, in addition to the PS4, Switch and PC. Featuring competitive 4v4 multiplayer action, as well as cross platform play that is enabled as a default, the game seemed to have a lot of potential to be fun. Now that it is out of its preview status and available as a general release, it seems only fair to go back to it and review the heck out of it. So come with me to a realm of rogues, rounds and riveting firefights.
So, as I mentioned at the top, Rogue Company is, at its heart, a 4v4 shooting game. There are a plethora of options to choose from, with 13 different Rogues, nine different maps and three game modes; it’s possible to have a different experience every time. Of course, the one certainty when playing with other members of the gaming world is uncertainty, and it’s safe to say that no two games of Rogue Company ever work out the same way.
The 13 Rogues, to explain these guys first, are the characters that you can select to be. There are six basic types of Rogue: Defenders – Anvil and Trench – have abilities that are helpful when defending an objective, like a barricade or barbed wire to slow the other team down. Breachers are almost exactly the opposite to Defenders, and Dima and Gl1tch, the two characters in this class, are designed to push forward and take the fight to the enemy, pushing through enemy lines. Duelists are the main damage dealing class in Rogue Company, and Scorch’s fire abilities and Chaac’s stim pack giving him health can be vital in the middle of a hot firefight. Ronin and Lancer are the other two Duelists, and in particular, Lancer’s starting secondary weapon is very good indeed!
Intel Rogues use their abilities to feed info to the rest of the team, and Talon’s radar dart can ping multiple enemies, but only once a round, while Dallas’s ability can only reveal a single enemy player per use, but he can recharge his ability by downing enemy combatants. The Sniper class meanwhile has only a single member, Phantom, and she plays as a cross between a Breacher and an Intel class almost, doing damage and revealing enemies with her abilities. The Support class is made up of Saint and Dahlia, a brand new Rogue, and these are the only guys able to revive teammates at range. Saint can use his drone to revive any team mate, whereas Dahlia must select who she is going to revive by linking with an ally at the start of each round.
These are the Rogues, then, and playing as the same Rogue time and time again will allow you to unlock Mastery ranks for each one. These reward you with unique sprays or emotes for each character, and while the grind to get up the ranks is very real indeed, it’s nice to be rewarded for playing as your favourite Rogue. There are ten ranks to reach too, so it should help keep you playing for a while.
Further maps have also been added to the game since the early preview days, with a further two added to the rotation to take it up to a grand total of nine. These are Vice – a level that is seemingly set in a rave in Miami – and Lockdown, which is a high security prison set in the Venezuelan prison. These two new maps join High Castle, set in, wait for it, a castle, Skyfell, which throws us towards Dubai, Favelas, which as the name suggests is set in a Brazilian slum town, and Windward, set in a tourist trap featuring an old church. Further to that, we have Canals from Panama, Icarus – which is a really pretty map in the countryside – and finally Factory, which is set in an industrial zone. Whichever you play, the arenas deliver a good mix of twisty corners, long sight lines and close-quarter battles, which help make every game feel tense as you try to stay alive and complete the objective.
Dropping in to each map sees the game start the same way: skydiving in from an orbiting aircraft, before everything degenerates into a massive scrap near the middle of the map. Learning the arena is definitely an advantage, as quite often there are flanking routes that can be used to get behind the enemies, and opening up on them from close range and from behind is always a valid tactic. There are a variety of team commands to utilise too, allowing you to give instructions to your team if they don’t have their headsets on. Seriously, and this is a bit of a pet hate – put your headset on if you’re playing a game of this type. The difference in Rogue Company, in particular between the team that communicates and the one that doesn’t, is often the difference between success and failure, as being able to dictate plays and strategic calls is a ton better than just dying in a heap and watching the rest of the squad go down like skittles.
Game modes have again been expanded on, specifically with the new Extraction mode. In Extraction, there is a point that has to be captured and defended, or recaptured. Equally you can eliminate the other team to win. Each character has a single life, so if you die you’re out for the rest of the round, and this means it can get pretty tense when you are the last one left, trying to keep an eye on the point and not get shot in the backside. Eyes in the back of the head would be a very useful perk here. The other modes – Strikeout and Demolition – are the same as they were in the preview, and remain as much fun as before. Demolition sees you trying to either plant a bomb on one of two points, or prevent the planting of said bomb, while Strikeout is an odd combination of Conquest from the Battlefield series of games, and a straight up Deathmatch. Capturing a point will start a counter, and if you can defend until the counter runs down, the enemy team loses a life. The first to run out of respawns loses, basically. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the gist, and it is surprisingly tactical to play.
There may be only three modes to go at, but the majority of those that play Rogue Company seem to think that the only worthwhile way to find success is to play a glorified deathmatch. Oh, and it seems that reviving their comrades is for the weak. The number of times I’ve been downed while trying to capture a point, and crawled back to friendly lines only to be ignored, absolutely baffles me. Surely having another gun by your side would be an advantage; why let anyone die at your feet without trying to revive them?
Rogue Company is packed with action, but how does it play? Well, pretty well is the answer. The gunplay is good, aiming and shooting doesn’t always win against spraying and praying, but all in all the weaponry in hand all have different feels and work well. The visuals are pretty too, and even if you are watching another player on your team and they kneel down they slide about the stage, but that’s no real biggie to be honest. The guns sound good, the Rogues all have various quips to make, and it all just works. The third-person perspective is a nice one to have as well, with the ability to aim over either shoulder being a cool little touch, meaning you don’t have to hang your bottom out of cover in order to get a shot off.
All in all, for a free-to-play title, Rogue Company on Xbox One is worth every penny. As you’d expect, there are various options for buying cosmetic items, but as these have no effect on gameplay I’m okay with the opportunity if others want to spend real money to make their Rogue look a bit different. I haven’t felt the need, and as all the Rogues can be earned using in-game currency, it’s all good. Rogue Company is certainly better if you can get a good squad around you, as playing with randoms is a bit like banging your head against a brick wall, but a team that talks is a team that wins. In conclusion though Rogue Company most certainly stands up as a wicked game in its own right. For free, you may as well give it a try. What have you got to lose?