When we speak of Dreamhack Atlanta, we usually associate the southeastern event with the World Finals for some of the biggest competitive titles like Brawlhalla, Smite, and Paladins. While these hosted events in the hometown of the respected developers, said studios also use the annual event to showcase upcoming projects as well. Speaking of specifically is the previously announced Rogue Company.
Among the current defining titles from Hi-Rez Studios, Rogue Company was a surprise announcement during this Fall’s latest Nintendo Direct revealing that the Georgia-based team will be creating a tactical, third-person shooter. As we have already witnessed with both Hi-Rez’s MOBA and first-person arena shooter, the two projects have proven to be a strong esports-focused project, and the same might be said for their latest project.
During my time on the show floor, I went to Hi-Rez’s side of the event for the developer’s self-named expo and got some hands-on time with the upcoming online shooter. Aware that sign-ups for the title’s alpha is still up as of playing the build at the event, I approached the game with an open conscious knowing that things will be altered or even removed later on in the project’s development.
Laying out the essentials of the game, players will have the option to choose between a bevy of different characters with unique abilities and a respected loadout. Divided between offering three primary categories: offensive, defensive, and specialist. Depending on your character of choice will ultimately complement the user’s playstyle once understanding where you stand when playing. As for me, I already knew I would lean more towards the specialist aspect of the roster and picked Dallas since he was equipped with recon abilities to uncover nearby enemies.
This is not unordinary for Hi-Rez as their other popular multiplayer-focused titles also offer a diverse cast of differing class types and specific abilities, however, once queuing into the game is where some influence is implemented into the game. Upon deciding what weapons of your class will instantly bridge the inspirations from games like CSGO as the game loadout system has implemented an in-game economy which you unlock more currency through completed objectives and taking down opposing players.
Comprised of two upgradable primary weapons, a side arm, unique melee weapon, class-specified gadgets, and a bevy of perks that you can unlock as you progress more into the match. Your character of course will also have their own selection of weapons and perks to choose from, but how you decide to unlock them will be determined on how you want to use your in-game capital.
Moving onto the gameplay aspect, my experience with the game was mainly conceived of 2v2 matches. However, I did dabble one match in 4v4 as well which did offer a different perspective on how the title functions, but ultimately resulted with pretty similar playtime regardless. Despite the differing player count, all matches were objective-based similar to Hardpoint/Domination as the players had to claim a territory of the map which mixed the motion of the game in a different direction. Among the three people at Rectify Gaming who played, playstyles changed depending on the side of the map you spawned.
Gunplay for the most part seemed to be fair play, at first. Only equipped with pistols, your economy of $500 only supports for gadgets or smaller upgrades. But when moving onto primary weapons, the differing arsenal combined with the classed characters does open a compromise to being better balanced. Essentially, you have five tiers of upgrades for both primary weapons, that either being a semi/full automatic rifle, bolt-action, or shotgun, they don’t show to do the damage when reaching the end of the match.
Regardless if you choose a defensive character that could ensure greater health in the game or a more nimble mercenary, weapon damage does not show to be impactful when fully upgrading the respected loadout. In one queue, I unintentionally matched against a fellow Rectify associate, and near the end of the game he unloaded onto me with his assault rifle, but did not match to take me down. Granted, there is a perk to provide additional protection to you, but I had not purchased the aided ability that match.
Aside from the unmatched weapon upgrade stats, the only other issue that we ran into when demoing the title was character interactivity with the environment. Mainly mantling, the model would typically jump against the wall and not register the obstacle ahead: this mainly a nuisance when during grave moments as you would not climb a simple hurdle before being showered in bullets.
Fully aware of the game still in the alpha phase of development, the build was an impressive show nonetheless. The in-game visuals did hold to be above par with rendered textures, lighting, and performance being kept consistent. Although we did play on the PC version of the build, it is unsure if the Switch version can be said the same. However, it is impressive to say the least that the Switch ranks pretty close in appearance when watching over occupants playing the docked version.
Regardless of the few complaints I saw with the game, I am still eager to see where Hi-Rez plans to take the development with the game leading ahead into 2020. Again, the game is still in alpha phase, so these issues could be resolved for a later build down the line next year. Ultimately, I can see Rogue Company being a title that me and a few other friends could hop on for a hour or two of tactical shout outs, strategic play styles, and memorable last-second moments when the game has been properly adjusted.
Interested in getting your hands on the game? You can sign-up for the alpha by heading here.
Rogue Company is set to release in 2020 for Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.