Star Renegades PS4 Review – When it comes to Roguelites, Star Renegades is by far my favorite title in the genre. Developer Massive Damage and publisher Raw Fury have crafted a unique and complex title that can put most strategy games to shame. With its incredible and strategic combat system, amazing animations, and a soundtrack that gets you pumped for every encounter, Star Renegades is already one of my favorite titles of 2021.
Star Renegades PS4 Review
A Lackluster Story Holds Great Character Writing Back
Star Renegades tells the story of a band of Renegades fighting for the galaxy’s survival against a mechanical menace known as the Imperium. The Imperium is looking to eliminate all life in the galaxy, and you and your allies are the only things standing in their way. Being a Roguelite, defeat means you have to restart the entire campaign.
Story-wise this is explained by the game’s main character who is a small robot drone that can teleport to another dimension to restart the battle against the Imperium. We’re introduced to the world and the main advisory called Mother in a great opening cinematic, but outside of that, the game’s story doesn’t really go far when it comes to the main narrative.
Where the great writing does come in is seen in the party members and their unique personalities. Your team is comprised of various characters, such as a paranoid conspiracy theorist commando called Jens and a dual-wielding robot who’s a novelist. The characters are full of personality and listening to them conversing with each other is always entertaining.
Preparation Is The Key To Survival
First and foremost, the Imperium is built with a hierarchy. Much like the Nemesis System from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War. It’s not as sophisticated as the Nemesis System, but it helps understand who the big honchos are. Suppose you lose a battle against any of these generals. They get promoted and become stronger on your next playthrough. The hierarchy also provides important information about the Generals on each planet.
This information is vital in preparing for encounters. You’ll learn their strengths and weakness, such as taking less damage from heavy attacks and being more vulnerable to Pyro damage To defeat the Imperium, you must liberate various planets of their forces. Star Renegades sees you traverse a map comprised of sections and new enemies, equipment chests, money chests, healing items, and DNA (the games EXP).
You have three days to defeat as many Generals and collect as much money, items, and equipment as you can before the world boss appears, The Behemoth, at which point you’ll be forced to battle it. The map is broken up into grids, and you only have three turns a day to enter three different grids and complete whatever tasks that grid provides.
With a total of nine turns spread across three days, you won’t be able to conquer the entire map, so you must pick and choose what’s more important for you. Gathering better equipment, defeating Generals to earn DNA and level up your characters, or collect money to buy the best and most powerful equipment from shops. These are the choices you’ll have to make.
Defeating General’s nets you, Intel. Intel is used to unlock characters to recruit at the start of each playthrough. This becomes incredibly important. It allows you to recruit the first three characters you want to start with without worrying about them not showing up as recruitable companions throughout the campaign.
What party members join your party is randomized. Every time your party is wiped out, and you restart, you can choose which three party members you start the game with. Every time you clear a planet, you’ll be able to recruit another party member out of two randomly chosen for you for a maximum of six.
This can hurt your progress, especially when you’re looking at creating a specific type of party. I lost many battles simply because I was forced to chose two characters with low defence and low shields. Before I knew it, my entire party was filled with power attackers with almost no defensive capabilities.
After each day is over, you can enter Camp. When camping, you use cards that you unlock from levelling up your characters to boost your teammates by giving them passive upgrades for extra armor damage, applying bleed to opponents when struck, or many other options. These cards also build up your relationship with your companions. When you reach a certain level of companionship, you’ll unlock permanent passive stats for those characters during that playthrough, but better yet, you’ll unlock combo attacks between two characters.
Combat is the bread and butter of Star Renegades. It looks and feels simple, but the strategy for victory is extremely complex. It took me a good three hours to truly grasp its mechanics, but once I did, I just couldn’t put the controller down.
Fantastic Combat Is Complex Yet Exhilarating At The Same Time
Each encounter in Star Renegades is a tactical game of chess. Each of your characters has three main attributes that you must manage: Shields, Armor, and Hit Points. Before an opponent can hurt you, they must drain your shields. Armor is the next attribute in their way, but it simply limits how much damage you take, and your armor chips away with every attack you receive.
Enemies act the same way, and you must eliminate their shields before you can actually hurt them. The biggest hook of combat is planning and sometimes thinking two steps ahead. Managing what characters will get attacked and trying to stop opponents by staggering them before they mount an offensive is crucial to survival.
At the top of the screen is the turn order bar indicating who attacks next. Characters and enemies shift and move around this bar depending on the type of attack they receive or the type of attack they pull off. Stagger is what you have to manage the most. Stagger allows you to knock an enemy off the turn order bar. When this happens, the enemy suffers a break and isn’t able to attack that turn.
Looking and seeing which enemy is going to attack which member of your party makes Stagger a key component in staying alive. If you see an enemy targeting a party member at low health with a potential death looming on the horizon, you may want to attack and stagger the enemy that targets the wounded party member, giving them a chance to survive for at least another round.
One thing to watch out for, though, is that each enemy has a number next to their icon. Each stagger attack drains that number, and when that number reaches zero, that enemy can’t be staggered that turn. So you have to think ahead and ask yourself, is it worth staggering an enemy in that turn if it may pull off an even more powerful attack later.
Star Renegades’ pixel art style looks amazing, especially during the combat. The attention to detail is outstanding. Not only are the animations gorgeous to look at, but some of the enemy designs are downright creepy as well. Though you can’t interact with it, even the environments have a lot going on in them. Seeing local wildlife in the background observing the battles, and watching foliage sway and move with the wind. It’s all quite gorgeous.
The soundtrack is the type you would expect from the type of futuristic setting. The game’s music has an 80s futuristic sound, which got me pumped for every encounter I was about to participate in.
A Great Roguelike With More Than Enough Going For It
I’ve always had trouble with Roguelites, but Star Renegades grabbed and hooked me from the start. Though I failed multiple times, I was excited to restart and try again more than I’ve ever done in any other title. Star Renegades can be overwhelming at first, but after some time, I found myself mastering the combat system and learning to work with whatever the game felt like giving me through every playthrough.
Star Renegades is available now on PS4 and is playable on PS5 via backwards compatibility.
Review code provided by publisher