It’s no secret Hi-Rez Studios never shy away from creating blatant clones. Smite (though I actually find it quite enjoyable) is admittedly nothing more than a mythologized League of Legends, I’ve often heard that Paladins is clearly a rip-off of Overwatch, and if I had to guess, their battle royale, Realm Royale, seems like an attempt to capitalize on Fortnite’s success (like many other battle royale games have and still are). Either Hi-Rez has the worst luck ever by always being just a step behind, or something fishy is going on because they can’t seem to think of original concepts.
Rogue Company might as well be their most obvious clone yet. The third-person shooter released earlier this year comes off as their most original title to date, yet at the same time their sneakiest title to date as it is a culmination of elements borrowed from a multitude of games rather than just an imitation of one. Imagine third-person Call of Duty with the art style and personality of Fortnite with a dash of Overwatch. That’s Rogue Company. Yet, despite all of its plagiaristic qualities, Rogue Company still maintains authenticity in most of its ideas.
With all but three modes to play, Rogue Company is a 4v4 in which players select a “rogue” (this game’s “operators” from Rainbow Six Siege) which each have a unique set of weapons, gadgets, perks, and a special ability (sound familiar yet?). In Strikeout, each team has 12 shared tickets (lives) with a central objective that will, if held long enough, eliminate enemy tickets as well. As for the other two modes, Demolition is essentially this game’s Search & Destroy, and Extraction is basically the same as Demolition but with a neutral objective.
The best mode is Strikeout (I was never a fan of modes where you only have one life per round) as it is, for one, the most original, and two, the mode that contains the most pure fun. It is reminiscent of COD in the way its gameplay flows through fast-paced action with quick respawn time. The central objective creates an essential area of focus within each map to create extensive team battles.
Map design is questionable but remains mostly passable. Each one is a 3-lane bore (along the likes of the maps in COD WWII) but there are enough details and separate micro-routes so that each map is distinguishable. Sufficient areas of cover from each direction are provided and flanks, while sometimes long, are vastly helpful and easy to navigate. The only feature I dislike with a few of the maps is the details that favor one side. I’m not saying each side involving the objectives should be entirely symmetrical but sometimes one side proves advantageous because of one specific feature.
Easily the greatest strength of Rogue Company is its shopping system. Unlike most games where characters have a predetermined set of weapons, gadgets, and perks, Rogue Company has a predetermined selection of said commodities. Then, between every round (and at the start of the game), players get to choose which items — and the upgrades that accompany them — they want to buy. Money is earned by how well you perform between rounds whether it is attaining eliminations, downs, assists, revives, or a team-wide bonus for winning the round (though your team gains a smaller sum for losing, too).
It’s this money garnering and shopping system that separates Rogue Company the most from other shooters. Players have to actually earn their rewards to buy what they desire. The system is also balanced in such a way that the items aren’t even that greatly powerful so that the losing team still has a fair chance. Of course, if only there was the ability to sell items (you can undo purchases but not after they’ve been put to use), but it’s not an issue worth peeving over.
The Rogues themselves are balanced for the most part. Some easily have more desirable traits than others (like Saint or Scorch over someone like Trench), but none of them are overwhelmingly bad or good. If anything, weapons with a faster firing rate borderline on overpowered. As someone who has both used and had one used against me, I’ve definitely witnessed some eyebrow-raising instances where it seems to be the case.
Rogue Company has its fair share of smaller issues. One is how players aren’t replaced once they leave or disconnect, although I can see why — because I certainly wouldn’t want be plopped into the middle of a game. Also, it is probably this way because the added players wouldn’t have the money to buy what they’d want from the shop, especially if the game is already a few rounds in.
Another smaller issue is some of the ultimate abilities — Ronin’s and Anvil’s specifically. I recall there being functionality glitches in which their ults just would not activate or go into immediate cooldown having without even used it. These bugs have been patched since, though, so this is another issue I’m fine with brushing off.
For all of its complications and banalities, I still find Rogue Company to be a fine game. It’s nothing too different to your usual shooter, first-person or third-person, but the movement generally feels good and there’s enough leeway for intuition in its play style. Although Hi-Rez is oft-accused of making clones — some more obvious than others — no one ever said they made bad clones.