Renegade Ops is a throw back top down, dual joystick shooter in the vein of the classic Jackal. One to four players can cooperatively assault the island fortress of global mad man Inferno in their tricked out assault Jeeps. You are given the option of four different playable Renegades each with a custom special weapon and a varied skill tree of unlockable abilities. While the special weapon functions do a great job of differentiating the players (some are purely defensive shields, others call in air strikes) the experience trees lack variety. Characters do unlock abilities as they level but two of the three branches of skills contain identical skills in varying orders. The remaining path deals solely with the characters special ability and offers some more variety.
In game the Renegades can nab secondary weapons like missiles and flamethrowers to aid their non stop machine gun barrages. As you rocket your jeeps across the island you will smash through bunkers, shoot down missiles and transform into helicopters to assault massive multi-turreted battleships. You also frequently are sent on side missions to earn extra experience but the game does a wonderful job of keeping you on the critical path. When you are in danger of failing the screen will desaturate and time will slow, alerting all players to the urgency of the current task.
Avalanche Studios is most notable for Just Cause 1 & 2, the anarchy fueled open world actioners that garnered acclaim for their fun atmosphere and limitless hijinks. Renegade Ops uses the same physics engine as it’s free-roaming ancestors but the controls it inherits can make some of the high speed maneuvers frustratingly loose. Still, 4 player bullet hell mayhem with a unflinching 80s action movie aesthetic add up to unrelenting fun. B+ — Glenn Given