It may seem strange to say this in reference to an online multiplayer shooter, but Rogue Company has a certain charm to it. Not the sort of charm that an adorable puppy might have, but rather an enthralling charm, one that can be quite addictive. I've never been a huge fan of Counter-Strike styled games that require you to be both mechanically skilled, but also smart with money - when there are no major repercussions involved I can be a little wild. Yet, somehow, Rogue Company kept me entertained, even through the teething process of learning the game from scratch, which admittedly can be a little brutal.
Rogue Company is a 4v4 multiplayer shooter, developed by First Watch Games. The concept of the title is very simple, you pick a unique Rogue and use their personal abilities/weapons to either eliminate the enemy team or complete an objective on the map. Essentially, it's closer to Valorant than anything else out there, however it isn't as hardcore. In fact, you can clearly see the effort that has been put in to ensure the game can be played without needing a masters degree in crosshair placement and grenade trajectories. Of course, being good at both will help, but it isn't as crucial as it is in Counter-Strike.
With the gameplay of Rogue Company being strictly online, the differing game modes end up being very similar. Whether it's the search and destroy type, Demolition, the less objective focussed Extraction, or the more casual team deathmatch styled Strikeout; each match starts with a buy phase where you are given the opportunity to outfit your Rogue with the best weapons, upgrades, equipment or perks that suit your style of play. Across the more competitive modes, such as Demolition, the first buy phase always results in a pistol round, where the round winner has more cash to splash when next buying. Compared to Counter-Strike, or for that matter Valorant, Rogue Company is far less punishing, and you can quite easily lose three rounds straight and still have a strong enough loadout to keep you in the running without needing someone to pull off a hero play.
The issue with the buying system is how certain items feel kind of useless. Considering how you only have a limited amount of cash and there are only a few rounds in each match (it's not quite CS's 30 round marathon), and most annoyingly of all, halfway through the game the buy economy resets as you have to re-pick a Rogue, it makes your purchasing options quite transparent. After you've picked up a main firearm and some equipment, for the remaining two rounds you have left, you can either upgrade a gun to make it marginally better or alternatively grab a perk, which will prove absolutely useless should you miss your shots anyway.
On the topic of landing your shots, the gunplay in Rogue Company is a highlight. Without a shadow of a doubt, this title has one of the best feeling FPS systems out there, when looking strictly at gunplay, on PC for the case of this review. It's responsive, accurate and incredibly easy to pick up and jump into. However, don't be mistaken, while it might feel great to play, there are some kinks in terms of how Rogue Company operates. For example, the third-person camera angle: this became a source of pain countless times while I was playing, as being in third-person allows you to peek around corners without revealing an inch of yourself. A feature like this in a shooter with fast time-to-kill values can often make fights feel incredibly one-sided.
Within Rogue Company, everyone plays as a Rogue agent; a hero character with unique abilities and weapon combinations. Currently, there are 14 to choose from, around seven of which are available when you first log in - the rest are either bought with in-game currency or unlocked with Founder's Pack access. The main area separating each Rogue are their abilities, as these are truly unique. Dallas for example can reveal the location of one enemy when he activates his ability, whereas Ronin can throw an explosive knife, great for using as a trip mine. Each Rogue is given a class that to a degree, highlights their style of play; i.e. Anvil is a Defender, and he can deploy a ballistic shield to act as cover.
The maps themselves are also brilliantly designed, featuring settings from various locations across the globe. You can head to South America in Favelas, to the Mediterranean coast in Icarus, or even to the streets of Miami in Vice. Maps also have the general three-lane design, however, lanes are often linked together, meaning you can easily rotate around the map with ease. This style of design promotes faster gameplay, as more often than not, there are too many corners to check, making Rogue Company a little different to the type of play Valorant or CS encourages.
Now that Rogue Company is in open beta and is free to access for anybody, you can acquire everything related to gameplay in the title without needing to spend a dime. There are still plenty of opportunities to whip out your wallet and impulse buy some weapon skins through the store page, but every Rogue can be earnt through playtime and the in-game currency. Although it is worth being aware, this method will take you a serious invent of time.
Hi-Rez Studios has produced some great free-to-play titles over the years, from Smite all the way to Realm Royale. Whilst some have succeeded more than others, Rogue Company shows the most promise, even in its early days. The title has simple enough mechanics, tight, great feeling gunplay and characters unique enough to keep the gameplay feeling fresh. Sure, it isn't without its flaws, but for a title that is looking to be around for the long run, Rogue Company is definitely showing early signs of what could be greatness.
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