Renegade X

A Review

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Conquer the Battlefront. One shot at a time.

Nostalgia is a token that many game developers use to bring hordes of players into their games. But what happens when a bunch of indie developers take a beloved franchise and try to bring it back from the very edge of obscurity?

Converting an RTS series into an FPS is a phenomenon that has occurred a few times already in our short gaming lifetime, but arguably the only series that has managed to pull this little idea off is Command & Conquer (C&C, as it's known by its acronym), one of the most beloved and successful series in the genre. It's no surprise then that a group of indie developers decided to revive the only excursion of the legendary series into FPS, bringing the forgotten Renegade title back into the fray of modern Multiplayer combat. Renegade X modernizes the old version and manages to bring it back into the internet's collective consciousness, but does it manage to revive the original and modernize it without taking too much away from it? Did they change enough to make it relevant again? Let's not waste any time and dive right in.

The old school FPS, back in action.

The moment you start playing Renegade X you realize that this is not a shooter like the ones that we have this day and age. It feels old-school, not just in the gameplay but in the controls and the way your character feels, as well as how the game handles the feedback of your actions in the battlefield (or rather, how it does not). The game is a revival in the most literal sense possible, bringing back C&C Renegade without changing much if not anything at all from the original release; the only notable changes have been the additions of certain map tools and, of course, heavily improved graphics.

Come one, come all: The game invites the nostalgic veterans and curious newbies alike

This can be a problem for some people, however, as it doesn't just bring back the good parts of the old FPS gameplay, it also brings the bad ones. You'll be unable to not make parallels to old games such as Unreal Tournament or the legendary Battlefield 1942, and it would only be fair as the original C&C Renegade came around the same time as these two.

There are many similarities, and of course, many differences between C&C Renegade and Renegade X; the main and obvious one being that Renegade X is solely a multiplayer experience rather than a single AND multiplayer experience like the original game was. There is also the fact that some minor modernization of core elements of the game had to be made, along with small fixes to how weapons are handled and how the environment looks and feels in order to give it an identity of its own.

Certain modern tropes such as the now all too predominant ADS do make an appearance in the game; however they don't feel too invasive, and besides zooming in, its true utility is not the recoil remover that it can be like it is in other videogames in the FPS genre. The gameplay goes at a very fast pace compared to other modern games such as Battlefield 4 or CS:GO, making the twitch aim skills that you built up in the days past of PC gaming work their way back into you. You'll find yourself attempting bunny hops and hip-firing a lot more than you would in any other game of the current era, and this is precisely because the game -- rather than to change the original to make it more like a modern shooter -- takes the original's gameplay and refines it, working off all the problems the original game had (Such as the lag issues or even the "bullet sponge" effect some players had).

The voice-over work in this game as well as the ambience that it sets up with it maps is surprisingly good for a multiplayer centric game, with news stations playing on your team's base that give you a feel of how things are going on the world outside of the battlefield you see yourself immersed in, or radio frequencies in outposts that throw off information about how your faction is doing on other grounds outside of the map you are playing at the moment. The voice-acting work for all sides works very well too, never breaking immersion and feeling like it all fits in just right with the game's theme and overall feel.

So immersive you can just feel the little pebbles of sand annoyingly getting stuck inside your boot.

The interesting part about this whole game however is how C&C translates it's tropes, memes and thematic from the RTS genre to the FPS genre, two types of games that are completely different from one another and yet when you play this game it's still recognizably C&C. But how does this game play out?

What makes this nostalgia bomb tick?.

Renegade X takes the multiplayer from the original release and basically carbon-copies it, creating a game mode which is called "Command & Conquer Mode". For those of you familiar with Battlefield, this will be a very easy and interesting game mode to jump into, though it may prove confusing at first.

Command & Conquer mode consists of two teams: The Global Defense Initiative (Refered to as GDI) and the Brotherhood of Nod (Refered to as NoD). Each team has a set of buildings that gives it access to special technologies such as creating vehicles, accessibility to weapons, special armor and, of course, the delivery of these items onto the battlefield. C&C Mode revolves around these buildings, as to win a match you must destroy the buildings of the other team. This makes for some interesting tactics as you can go to specifically take out a certain building to cripple the enemy's supply of tanks or specialized soldiers, making sure that they are less combat effective against your team. This requires you and your team to balance out the attack as well as the defense, given that your buildings are also very vulnerable if you leave them all alone

To obtain these supplies from the buildings, you are given an income which is attained by your team doing things around the map and, as it's logical in C&C game, by your faction's mining of the mineral Tiberium, which has veins around the map which Extractor trucks come by to pick up. This is also another line of attack, as you could attempt to take out the other team's extractor to cripple their supply of income, making them unable to buy as many useful vehicles and/or weaponry. Be carefull not to approach the Tiberium itself however, as it’s highly radiated and will kill you after a few seconds of standing near it.

Do not approach Tiberium as infantry. Trust me. It's more radioactive than The Hulk's balls.

You get "default" and "specialized" characters, default characters require no income to play, while specialized characters range from "cheap & useful" To "Expensive and VERY useful", Most of these characters are tailored specifically to the faction you're playing at the moment, and some of them are even characters that were in the game's original single player campaign (Many of which can be seen on the GDI side with very specific weaponry, so they still qualify as a class of their own rather than a overpowered and over glorified rifle-man).

While there are common characters for both factions there are also specific ones in higher levels as well as specific vehicles, making the play style for each one very different and interesting. This is a staple of the C&C franchise of course, so it's no surprise for players coming in from the RTS releases of the series to find that NoD and GDI are vastly different from one another in these senses. Some players may consider the variety that the game offers lacking however, as while it does go out of its way to give a variety of options for you to take on challenges with each faction, you could argue that they aren’t as diverse as the C&C franchise demands.

Balancing out your income with how much money you're spending on the battlefield, having to figure out what's the best strategy for the situation as well as trying to coordinate with your team can be challenging but rewarding, with excellent moments here and there that make you feel like you've done a proper difference in the battle-- rather than the "cog in the machine" feel that other multiplayer centric games can make you feel at times. I recommend finding a server that has a Team Speak available for such things however, as the game doesn't have a VOIP system.

The problem that stems from this game mode however is the fact that the tutorials for it are lacking, only giving you a quick YouTube video that doesn't explain some nuances that may escape you on your first few matches. That's not to say that Renegade X is a difficult game to play or a difficult one to master, it's simply confusing at first due to how quickly everything is thrown at you.

The technical side of Renegade X is a bit stranger than its theoretical side on gameplay. With some interesting good sides and some unfortunate but expected downsides to it as well.

The technical accomplishments and issues of this remake

Renegade X can get away with certain small problems being an entirely free fan project; however there are still some small kinks here and there that may work against your enjoyment of the game. There is also the fact that for an entirely free game some of its technical aspects are superb, and bring the bar up for other fan projects, for better or for worse. The characters and weapons in this game have a big amount of detail put into them, as well as the buildings and the overall world feel, with good quality texture and modeling that many other free game titles would envy. Unlike many other free games it also takes special attention into making these weapons' animations look pleasing and sounding realistic, much alike the player models as well... As long as you keep the mesh detail at the very highest. For people who cannot run the game at the highest settings, the character models will take a more polygonal look to save up on processing power, however this makes it so that your character looks like a glitch almost. Still, the option is there and it's tailored to try and allow everyone play the game, even people playing on "toasters".

Here’s a quick example of low mesh quality. Ugly as all hell, but it'll do the trick.

One of the annoying parts of Renegade X however is the main menu system, as it often times reacts wildly at the mouse, or even works against you when you attempt to reach different servers or organize them in the server browser. More often than not you'll want to join a server, click on it, then the game will send you to a completely different one due to the browser issues that it has. This is why I recommend that if you're searching for a server your friends are on you guide yourself by how many players there are currently, and to NOT use the filter it provides.

Don't believe its lies.

Several audio issues can be heard as well, with some weapons sometimes not making any noise or the reload sounds playing off at the wrong queues in the animation sequence. I've more often than not reloaded my weapon to hear the reloading sounds 10 seconds AFTER I’ve reloaded, making it a bit disconcerting. Animations can sometimes botch up, and while most of the time they work great, when they screw up they screw up hard. With missing hands, strange movements, or the aforementioned lack of sound at all.

The maps can also feel small for you at first, and the fact that they do not include a proper map to look at while you're trying to explore it -- apart from the minimap -- can make your first incursions into the game's world very confusing. Often times even frustrating as you try to find your way around! That said, the games environments do make it clear where you CAN go and where you CAN'T.

While you may be confused about where are the chokepoints and the like, you will not have too much trouble finding teammates or enemies. This can be a downside for vehicular warfare enthusiasts; however, there's very little elbow room for tanks and helicopters to truly shine in battle to start, other than to be a harassing tool against buildings or some very specific choke-points. The game doesn’t have a big variety of maps, but the few it has do have a strange charm to them, at least to me personally. Some people might find this lack of variety a huge con against the game..

Through hardships and glitches, this game still pulls an interesting experience.

While these issues can break the immersion or the concentration in the gameplay, they are not powerful enough to truly bring down the game altogether, with a clearer and much more prominent set of positives, such as the variety of characters for gameplay, the rich environment even for a free and multiplayer centric game like this.

Is it worth a shot?

It's hard to say no to a fan project with this much thought and care into it, especially when it's entirely free, though there are some issues that can throw you off, this game is definitely worth a try.

The game manages to pull the diversity between the factions that old C&C games do, but it doesn’t go too hard into it, managing to forge its own gameplay identity. More hardcore fans of the series may have some issues with the liberties taken such as the more common units to create a proper base for the FPS genre.

People coming back from the original Renegade will find recognizable stuff that will welcome them in to a new experience, and newcomers will find an old-school experience that delivers most of what it promises, albeit making up for some mistakes here and there.

Glitches and practical issues aside, this is a game that, for its price of 0 dollars, will be worth your time, and most of the issues that come with it being a beta can be looked over if you’re patient enough.



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Sound and Atmosphere

Pros & Cons

  • Takes you back to the past of Multiplayer FPS
  • Excellent variety of weapons and classes
  • Immersive, despite it's focus on Multiplayer
  • Outstanding gunplay
  • Sounds can many a times be off
  • The variety of classes doesn't stretch into the maps
  • The menus are glitchy, sometimes making you pick the wrong class or server
  • A strange learning curve may ruin the experience for newbies


J. Parra avatar
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