Rogue Company is totally, utterly fine. There’s nothing remarkable about it and yet nothing inherently bad with it, either. However, is that enough in 2020, when we have so many amazing online shooters to play on nearly every platform? I’m not sure it is.
Developed by Hi-Rez Studios, Rogue Company is a third-person team-based tactical shooter that seems to be heavily inspired by games like Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, and Counter-Strike. It’s been out for a bit now in an alpha state, but launched today in a closed beta. Players can buy a founder’s pack to gain access to this beta on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. Full cross-play and cross-progression across all platforms are the game’s biggest advantages over other multiplayer shooters, nifty features that older, more popular games like Siege don’t provide.
However, supporting cross-play and universal progression is only important if you have a game worth playing across multiple platforms, and that’s not the case with Rogue Company. At least not today. Considering this is an online game, it’s likely it will receive countless updates over the next few months and some issues might be fixed. But there are problems with this game beyond what a simple balance tweak could address.
I’ve been beating around the bush and holding back a bit because I feel mean saying this, but Rogue Company is just boring. Nothing here is new or interesting. You have rounds where one team tries to plant a bomb and the other team tries to stop them, just like Counter-Strike. You have different characters with different abilities, just like Siege and Overwatch. It’s played in a third-person perspective and uses a dropping-in mechanic that instantly reminded me of Fortnite. It feels like bits of other video games stapled together into a dull Frankenstein’s monster of a game. This might have worked, but the entire presentation is similarly boring, with characters that fall into the same categories you expect. (Armored dude, fire person, big guy, sexy sniper, etc., etc.)
While Rogue Company isn’t very remarkable or exciting, it is genuinely well made. The game feels snappy and quick. Combat can often be exciting, especially with teammates who are even somewhat capable of supporting you or moving forward. Between rounds, like in Counter-Strike, you take the in-game money you earned and buy items or upgrade weapons. That last part is different than Valorant or CSGO. Instead of freely buying any weapon, each character has a small selection of weapons they can unlock and upgrade throughout a match. It simplifies the buying stage, but also means you feel more limited in longer matches. That said, you can pick up weapons off dead enemies, which helps give you more options.
While combat can be fun, after a few hours I wasn’t really sure why I would come back to Rogue Company. I don’t care about the characters. I didn’t find the maps memorable. The game modes aren’t new and the world hasn’t hooked me.
A warm bowl of oatmeal isn’t the best or most exciting food, but it will fill you up and provide you with some nutrients. There are definitely better alternatives, and worse ones too, but that bowl of plain oatmeal will work. But how many people are excited to eat it, or would call it their favorite meal? And like that boring but fine bowl of oats, Rogue Company isn’t very memorable or interesting or fresh. In a world with games like Overwatch, Fortnite, and Valorant, it’s not enough to just work and play fine. You need something memorable. A hook or some personality. And Rogue Company just doesn’t have that.