Star Rating:

Star Wars: Republic Commando

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Release Date: Tuesday 6th April 2021

Genre(s): Action, Sci-Fi

It really does speak to the impact 'Republic Commando' had as a first-person shooter that players have been eagerly awaiting the return of it to current-gen consoles for so long.

Originally released in 2005 for the Xbox, the game has assumed a legendary status not just among die-hard fans of 'Star Wars', but amongst players of all stripes. The game's intuitive squad-command system was far ahead of its time, and even playing it now, the simplicity at the core of its concept is one that's been missing from gaming since.

The likes of 'Rainbow Six: Siege' or any one of the 'Call of Duty' games had nothing remotely close to this, and even though a sequel to 'Republic Commando' was planned, nothing has come out quite like this game for that concept. You're rushing through a fire-fight, trying to push back a swarm of Geonosians while a Super Battle Droid appears out of nowhere and starts spraying lasers everywhere. With a quick button, you can focus fire on them or put a sniper in place to take care of it while you try and blow a door open to keep the fight moving.

All of the personality is there as you remember it. Scorch and Sev, the fast-talking bombs expert and the cold-blood sniper, have their witty banter intact. The game's gloomy, militaristic soundtrack still thumps throughout. The night-vision mode still has a glow to it, and the voicework and the storyline are still as impressive now as they were back then.

It should be noted that 'Republic Commando' is a straight port of the game from 2005. No additional features have been implemented, no updates have been made to any of the graphics, and no changes have been made to any part of the gameplay. It's exactly as you remember it in 2005, just now it's in a handheld format on the Nintendo Switch. To its credit, the handheld console is able to keep up with the game's frame rate for the most part, though it does tend to dip quite a bit in scenes chock-full of enemies. Still, the original game was liable to do the same so it may simply be that the Unreal Engine 2 couldn't cope with some of the scenes in the game.

As enjoyable as 'Republic Commando' is, some of the flaws in the game that you may have ignored previously will hit you hard this time around. There is a pitifully small arsenal of weapons open to you. Your base weapon, the DC-17 rifle, has all the effectiveness of a pop-gun against certain enemies. You'll have to get up close and knife them repeatedly in order to drop them. The squad-command system, effective though it is, can't save some of the dopey AI in your squadmates.

Still, you're talking about a game that is sixteen years old. As much as gaming technology has come on, this edition of 'Republic Commando' is a straight, no-frills port by Aspyr, who also ported the likes of 'Jedi Academy' and 'Civilisation IV' to the Nintendo Switch. You can't apply current standards to the game because it's a game plucked right from your past and brought to now. In the same way that a vintage car may not have power-steering or all of the features you're accustomed to, a port like this needs some leeway in order to appreciate it.