10 reasons you should play Renegade Ops, whatever that is

, | Game reviews

“I should play what?”

I hear you. At a press event a few months back, this game was idling on a monitor in the corner. I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance if I hadn’t been waiting for a demo of the remastered House of the Dead: Overkill for the Playstation 3. But as soon as the guy demoing it told me the name of the developer, my ears perked up. And by the time the demo was over, this was probably the upcoming Sega game I was most looking forward to.

I only wish Sega shared my enthusiasm. I didn’t even realize they’d released the game last week.

After the jump, what is Renegade Ops and why you should play it

The elevator pitch for Renegade Ops is about as sexy as the name. It’s a top-down vehicle-based action game with four different cars and minor RPG elements. A twin-stick shooter, really, for how the left stick moves your car and the right stick fires your gun. That said, here’s why you should play it.

10) The developer is Avalanche Studios, the Swedish developer whose name deserves to be mentioned in any conversation about open world games, action games, and graphics engines based on the fact that these guys made Just Cause 2.

9) Avalanche’s engine is incredible. If you’ve played Just Cause 2, you already knew that. It serves this top-down game well, providing huge levels with tons of stuff blowing up, breaking, falling apart, and creating a generous sense of mayhem.

8) Whee, physics! What a spirited little driving model. At first, you’ll just appreciate the bounce and jostle of these teensy vehicles. But as the game gets tougher, you’ll appreciate that this isn’t just a simple twin-stick shooter. It’s a driving game. You need room for your car to turn, move, and shoot. How many twin-stick shooters have an actual driving model that matters?

7) When you run out of lives, you keep all the experience points you’ve earned. Every time you play Renegade Ops, even if you don’t clear the level, you will advance.

6) Each of the four cars has its own special weapon and skill tree. As you earn experience points and level up, you unlock stuff on the skill tree. But that doesn’t mean you automatically get what you unlocked. Instead, you get to pick two of your unlocked abilities before any mission. Eventually you earn a third and fourth slot. It reminds me of the way Bastion handles tonics.

5) The difficultly levels are neatly tied into the scoring and RPG system. If you want to play on casual — and there’s no shame in that, as this is a perfectly viable game for just driving around to blow stuff up — then you get unlimited lives and no skill tree progression. At normal difficulty, you get the skill tree and five lives. And at hardcore difficulty, you get three lives and a score multiplier to boost you up the leaderboards. Play Renegade Ops at whatever level matters to you.

4) Dynamic splitscreen support for local co-op games. I didn’t know what this meant either. It means the split in the screen rotates based on where you are in relation to the other player. Each of you can go off on your own, but it’s always going to be super easy to find your partner.

3) Get to mission 4 and tell me you’re not in love with this crazy little game for how it has the same over-the-top action movie sensibility as Just Cause 2.

2) It’s on your PC. Well, it will be by the end of the month, according to Sega. Right now, it’s on the PS3 and 360.

1) Because if you don’t play it, you’re never going to remember anything about it. With a terminally generic name like Renegade Ops, and with so little marketing support from Microsoft and Sega, this game is bound to be forgotten by everyone who doesn’t actually get his hands on it.