From the first moment its main menu loads, Rogue Company exudes a bold personality. You’re instantly knocked in the ears by a surprisingly catchy hip-hop infused soundtrack playing alongside a loud cast of unique characters. This free-to-play team-based shooter combines facets of many of the most successful first-person shooters already available, from Overwatch to Counter-Strike, to deliver a fun package that requires skill, patience, and an appreciation for teamwork to succeed. – even if that also means that it lacks originality. Rogue Company is a multiplayer-only third-person shooter with a gallery of interesting characters called Rogues, each with their own unique abilities, charges, and perks. The shooting game at every moment is crisp and responsive, but the movement is a bit light and floating. You get used to it in the end, but at first it feels a bit like the characters are skating on the map. Since anyone can dodge rolls, firefights can quickly get very tense and erratic, which helps combat stand out (in a good way) from other games that Rogue Company was clearly inspired by. Just because you get the drop on someone doesn’t necessarily mean you will, as the killing time varies wildly depending on your Rogue and the weapon you use. Even though it only offers three 4v4 game modes which have all been seen before for the most part – a Counter-Strike style bomb mode, a variation of the capture point format and what is basically a deathmatch. as a team with a twist – there is enough variety in all nine maps and the styles of play they need to avoid boredom. Teamwork is crucial, so thankfully Rogue Company is the latest in a long line of games to borrow the insanely clever ping system popularized by Apex Legends. This allows players who are not participating in voice chat to easily communicate with their team using quick scripted calls and pop-up map markers. Hip Shot The first mode listed is Demolition, which has no respawns and is structured a bit like Counter-Strike – it’s also my least favorite mode. A team has a bomb and must either plant it and detonate it at one of two points on a map, or eliminate all enemies. Defenders can win by killing attackers or preventing the bomb from exploding, but in my experience it almost always ends with a team wipe down rather than a detonation. While this is a similar base mode in other games, dividing your attention between two points makes relatively no sense in Rogue Company, as they are usually so close to each other. The maps are small enough that you can switch between them in seconds, which undermines much of the mode’s usual strategy here. The cards are small, which undermines much of the usual strategy of a bomb mode. “Extraction mode is basically a better version of Demolition because it also doesn’t have a respawn, but only has one objective that the two teams are fighting over. If you activate a terminal on that point, a timer starts to activate, and if the other team doesn’t kill your entire team and / or capture the point before the timer runs out, you win. The point moves with each turn and it’s still a frontline battle over mutual benefit, keeping it more focused and tense. Card sizes seem better suited to this style and matches are more dynamic since you are technically both the attacker and the defender at all times. The final mode is Strikeout, which is the least demanding of the group but also the most original of all. It works similarly to Destiny’s Survival game mode where each team only has a limited number of shared respawns. However, the problem here is that there is also a single point of control that will drain enemy team spawns if you hold it. This addition makes Strikeout feel like more than just a variation of the team deathmatch, prompting a defensive playstyle to maintain the checkpoint in a mode otherwise driven only by eliminations. No matter the map or mode, there are a variety of satisfying weapons to choose from. There are an assortment of pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, shotguns, and snipers, but they are mostly locked to specific characters similar to other hero shooters like Overwatch – albeit with a bit more. choice since these heroes aren’t stuck with just one option. Each Rogue has a choice of two primaries at a mid-game purchase station, usually something like a Sniper and SMG or Assault Rifle and Shotgun, as well as a Secondary Pistol, a melee attack, gadgets, a primary ability, and an assortment of perks. You earn money for your actions during a match which is used to purchase and upgrade these tools of destruction between turns, but all you start with is a gun. This will sound familiar to Counter-Strike or Valorant fans, but in practice, Rogue Company’s in-game progression works like a MOBA, essentially taken from developer Hi-Rez’s own SMITE game. The variety of guns would be more exciting if the characters had more to unlock or could customize their options with more impact, but you’re limited to the predetermined loadouts given. Plus, all guns sound miniscule when fired and lack the oomph you expect from a game that’s otherwise full of edgy characters and personality in your face. Explosives, gadgets, and abilities all feel and sound great, which helps these powerful offensive characters stand out even more. I constantly found myself wishing for a good cover mechanic. “I also constantly found myself wishing for a good cover mechanic. Dodge Rolling is a useful evasive tactic, but the checkpoints are so littered with waist-high blankets that it feels like you could stick to walls and blindfire, but instead, this functionality is inexplicably absent. You can at least crouch down, but then having to stand at full height to shoot over walls is a bit annoying – especially since two of the three game modes don’t have respawns and require a more thoughtful approach. and careful of fire fighting. Maybe I’m spoiled by the precedent set by other third-person shooters like Uncharted, Gears of War, or The Division, but a cover system would have complemented anything Rogue Company so well. A Gallery of Thieves There are 14 thieves in Rogue Company, six of which are available for free. Getting nearly half the roster for free is surprising, especially since three of them are some of the best in the entire game. Ronin, the confident sword-wielding mascot in most of Rogue Company’s marketing, is an excellent attack-oriented character with great explosive throwing knife ability and a collection of awareness and speed-focused perks. She’s sleek and badass in a way that makes her a great introductory character and is probably the default option in the tutorial for that reason. There’s also Dima, whose voice is gritty with a thick accent and lots of liners. He gets a frag grenade launcher and health and ammo regeneration perks, along with a solid assault rifle and SMG capable of choosing as primary weapons. Despite being one of the staple options, Dima is strong and fun enough that it’s rare to play a game and not see one of him on both teams. Finally, my favorite free Rogue is Dallas. He’s devious and very balanced since his ability reveals a red silhouette of where the nearest enemy is, which is useful in all situations. Additionally, this ability fully recharges whenever he takes down an enemy, and it has powerful health regeneration and durability-focused benefits to keep them alive. Dallas has a cool, suave look that’s almost the opposite of most rough actors. His voice is arrogant with a sophisticated air, so you know enemies are frustrated to hear his mocking lines. Microtransaction Reaction All playable characters in Rogue Company (October 2020) Rogue Company’s in-game store is a classic example of how to do microtransactions well in a 100% free-to-play game. Similar to other squad arena games like League of Legends or SMITE, the store is limited to characters, emotes, and cosmetics – that’s it. Unless you really want a certain Rogue that fits your playstyle better, you can’t buy anything to give yourself an edge, and you can always unlock them just by playing enough as well. Emotes, cosmetics, and outfits are mostly paid for, in contrast, ranging from $ 2 from Rogue Bucks to over $ 10. The $ 30 Founder’s Pack, which I personally purchased after spending time with the free characters, is great value as it includes all eight paid thieves. However, some of the best and most versatile characters, such as Dallas, Dima, and Ronin, are already included for free. You can earn in-game reputation points for unlocking characters without spending any money, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a dozen or more to get enough points depending on the character. They range from 5,000 to 15,000 reputation points, or around $ 5 to $ 15 when purchased individually with real money.For paid thieves, I found myself playing the most as Talon because of his ability. is a radar that can be set up anywhere and will ping your map if an enemy walks within its range. And instead of typical grenades he gets C4 – combined together you can create an explosive trap on enemies just by looking at your minimap and not revealing yourself at all. There are other well paid thieves as well, but I didn’t feel like I was at a power disadvantage for not having any. Having said that, if for no reason other than increasing diversity and options, it is definitely worth working to unlock them through regular play, or even just waste the money to get them right away. Unfortunately, performance is a persistent issue on PCs, even now that Rogue Company is no longer in closed beta. I had two crashes on the desktop, and once my pre-match lobby with a friend mysteriously merged with another lobby and we could talk to two strangers even before we were paired up for a match. I also had two consecutive sessions where my team started the game with just three players versus four players. Fortunately, the matches themselves are going quite well.