Have You Played… Star Wars: Republic Commando?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

As we enter a phase of Star Wars in which everyone involved tries really hard to pretend those leaden prequel movies never happened, it’s worth remembering that not everything from that ponderous timeline was a disaster. Squad-based shooter Republic Commando plucked something with heart and heroism from the wreckage.

Whether RepCom is suitably Star Warsy is a matter for some debate. This is not a game about being a Jedi. It does feature Wookies, a Yoda cameo and some enemies with lightsabers, but for the most part it’s focused on battling those skinny droids and the bugmen from Episode 2. Y’know, the stuff no-one actually wanted from Star Wars. But it works so well, thanks to rugged and challenging combat, and a team comprised of broad but likeable personalities. You’ll come to care about these four faceless not-quite-Stormtroopers, and you’ll come to rely on them too, as you make heat-of-battle decisions about who’s going where, who’s defending what, who’s hacking which door, and whose life you’ll try to save first.

It is, perhaps, difficult to hold up individual aspects of Republic Commando as particularly superior, but what makes it great is how solid and well-maintained a shooter it is. It understands the business of fighting and it understands the business of risk and challenge, without ever losing itself to overblown storytelling or contrived setpieces. Like its stoic heroes, it’s quietly capable and reliably effective.

From this site

95 Comments

  1. Grumpy Trooper says:

    Such a great game, why there wasn’t a sequel for this is beyond me, Sev we love you.

    I still replay this at least once per year.

    • Anthile says:

      You can always watch The Clone Wars animated series. It’s mostly excellent with plenty of episodes focusing on the clone troopers. Some of the characters from the game even make an appearance.

      • Rich says:

        Really? I thought it was universally panned.

        • Anthile says:

          The pilot and the first season are pretty bad but after that it gradually gets better. You know you’ve gotten there when you see a black lightsaber.

        • Philomelle says:

          On the opposite, it’s widely considered to be pretty much the best Star Wars thing to have been released in years.

          The pilot episode is… awkward because while it fulfills its purpose of introducing the key players and their chemistry, it was released in theaters by the value of being an hour long. The result is that people judged it as a theatrical movie and not a pilot episode to a TV-show, and its production values definitely don’t meet the bar.

          But the rest is a very good show. In my opinion, you actually need Clone Wars to make sense of Episodes 1-3, since they provide much of the background behind the politics in the Galaxy and character development that the prequel movies simply skip.

          The series was unfortunately canceled because of the messy network transitions in the wake of LucasArts being bought out by Disney, but the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels (set during the original trilogy) is produced by much of the same staff.

        • drinniol says:

          Anyone who likes the Clone Wars CG cartoon can no longer complain about the writing of the prequels. It is horrible, the voice actors are terrible, the plot is laughable but the battle scenes are pretty good.

          They should take whoever wrote Yoda for the series out the back and shoot them.

          • Dare_Wreck says:

            You’re views are actually very much in the minority when it comes to the show. It’s generally considered to be very well written, definitely a step above the prequels.

          • drinniol says:

            Probably because it was the happening thing to hate the prequels but not the TV series. The pilot was panned almost universally but that was the only one film critics had to review.

          • Hex says:

            He has a point about Yoda…

      • kalirion says:

        Which one? I always get confused between the 2D one by the people behind Samurai Jack and the 3D one featuring that Jedi tween.

        • Cleave says:

          The Samurai Jack one was completely awesome. The 3D one was actually surprisingly good but the pilot movie they made was awful.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        Fun Fact: the Republic Commandos actually cameo’d in The Clone Wars series. It was kind of blink-and-miss-it but they were there. :)

  2. -LiQuiD- says:

    Oh I played the demo years ago, it’s awesome! And the mainmenu music is great too. Just a question, does it still run on modern systems? I tried reinstalling the demo but it doesn’t run.

    • bill says:

      I remember reading lots about texture problems on the characters in modern systems, so I didn’t buy it.
      I have no idea if people have found a way around that yet. GOG/Steam forums are usually a good place to check.

      • Guvornator says:

        It seems to run fine on my 64bit Win 7 machine (so far, I’m about 2 hrs in). There’s some slight texture weirdness on the commandos themselves, but it’s not massively noticeable – not even Wolfenstien levels. . I’m running it 1600×1200 and, black bars aside, it looks pretty good.

    • Vin_Howard says:

      I’ve played it on my Windows 7; don’t really remember, but I might have had to do some minor fiddling, but nothing too major

    • Earl-Grey says:

      I played it some six months ago a pretty modern laptop running windows 7.
      Took some fiddling getting it running in widescreen, hex editing and such.
      I believe I followed these instructions:
      link to wsgf.org
      But it has been six moths, so I can’t guarantee It’ll work, sorry.

    • typographie says:

      Looks like the biggest issues are that it doesn’t natively support 16:9 or 16:10 resolutions, and has no field of view options. Fixes available at link to pcgamingwiki.com

      I don’t see any mention of any serious issues with Windows 7/8 systems. It was released fairly close to the launch of Windows Vista, so it may have been developed with some thought toward modern OSes.

      • typographie says:

        I’d love to play the Force Unleashed games, but the 30 FPS cap and apparently terrible keyboard/mouse controls are deal-breakers for me.

    • nearly says:

      Picked it up during one of the more recent Star Wars sales, ran fine on Windows 8 aside from limited resolutions. Even managed to get some multiplayer around when Gamespy was about to shutdown (I assume that was the only reason people were still playing it online)

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I also played the demo and quite enjoyed it, but the squad thing turned me off, so I never got around to play it. Now that we’re getting new movies and games I thought I should get around to playing the old ones that I still haven’t tried. RepCom and Battlefront 1 and 2 are on that list – and not many more, since I’ve already played the Jedi Knight and Kotor games. I’m having a great time playing The Force Unleashed 1 at the moment, but I don’t think I’ll get TFU 2 anytime soon. It seems worse in many ways.

  3. xXOwenatorXx says:

    Loved this game I want a sequel. They left it with a cliffhanger but such a great game that I don’t think could be remade with the same sorta feel

    • w0bbl3r says:

      That’s right, you left it as the clone war on Kashyyk really took off, and one of your squad (I forget which, maybe Sev?) was left behind.
      A major offensive was underway with the Wookies, with Yoda on his way to help backup the clones. Which is the large fight on the shore in episode 3.
      It also has a mission where you spot general greivous for the first time if I remember right, and you fight his guard, those big bots with the electro staff things. Bastard hard things to take down they were.
      There was talk of Imperial Commando as a sequel, where you would play a stormtrooper commando unit during the time between episode 3 and episode 4.
      Why this never happened I can’t understand, because the game was universally liked, and most star wars geeks loved it, myself included.

  4. int says:

    The best part of the game was the visor wiper for all the Alien blood.

    • Faran says:

      I know, little details like that made it feel really immersive. Plus your voice really sounded like you were talking inside a bucket (or well, a helmet in this case). Loved it! 10/10 would kill one of those flimsy droids again.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The whole helmet effect was very well done.

      Although I gotta say the best bit is your teammate AI. It’s probably the only single-player squad game where I could actually trust them enough to leave them out of my sight. And not just quickload when I get downed, because they’ll actually manage to co-ordinate a push with cover to get me back up (or at least give that illusion).

      And not once do they block your way while telling you to reload, or stopping to heal you, or dispensing plot or cinematic sequences. The door-breaching process is slick and smooth.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Door breaching was slick and smooth, EXCEPT for the very rare cases when you were working alongside just one other teammate. Here’s my time to be the one throwing the detonator!
        Shame I’m AWFUL at aiming detonators and it inevitably bounces off the doorframe and kills us both…

    • Axion741 says:

      Oh god yes! There was nothing more badass than knifing a droid in the face and then taking a dramatic pause to wipe your visor.

    • Optimaximal says:

      …which I believe they stole from Metroid Prime.

      • Rich says:

        That didn’t come out on PC, so it doesn’t exist.
        Stop making stuff up.

      • Koozer says:

        I’m perfectly happy to have more games steal from Metroid Prime.

        • Guvornator says:

          Considering how many games have you in a helmet which doesn’t seem to have any meaningful impact on your view, I’d say not enough games steal from Metroid Prime. For example, I’m trucking through Call Of Pripyat, and even though I’m wearing a gas mask, whenever I die my player model is bareheaded. Grrrr…

  5. CamWiseOwl says:

    This game got me to read the books, which are probably the best Military Sci-Fi I’ve ever read.
    Also: Damn, now I’m all sad remembering the ending all over again ;__;

    • Philopoemen says:

      Karen Traviss just took over as the writer for IDW’s GI Joe comic franchise, though it remains to be seen what she does with it.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    I didn’t realise that game was released on PC.

    • phelix says:

      I actually purchased it as part of a “Star Wars: Best of PC” collection, which also introduced me to Jedi Outcast, Battlefront and Empire At War. Some of the greatest memories.

  7. jikavak says:

    Thanks for reminding me about this. It truly is a feat of game design. Needs a sequel so bad..

  8. Ham Solo says:

    It was one of the best Star Wars games to come out, along with the Battlefront Series, Jedi Knight and Kotor.

    • rinseout says:

      TIE Fighter was the best Star Wars game.

      • Ham Solo says:

        Come to think of it… there were alot of good star wars games. Unusual for a movie series.

        • Premium User Badge

          cpt_freakout says:

          And for a series so universally panned as episodes 1-3 was, it nevertheless inspired some generic sounding but really, really fun games like Republic Commando. Anyone remember the pod racing game that came out after episode 1? I think I had it in the N64, and I remember enjoying it immensely, if only for the feeling that it was fast as hell and for the personal-but-at-the-same-time-impersonal violence of crashing other drivers into walls.

          • Koozer says:

            I absolutely loved that game, my brother and I would play it for hours. I tried it again a few months ago and I was completely terrible at it.

  9. unit 3000-21 says:

    I really liked that oil splashes on the screen after knifing a droid in his “face”.

  10. subedii says:

    I wanted to play it, but the severely low FoV in the demo made my eyes water something fierce. I’m not sure I’ve ever had it that bad in a game before.

    • suibhne says:

      I had the same problem. I’ve bounced off the game several times over the last few years, entirely because I find the FOV totally unplayable. At least the last time I checked, I was unable to find any relevant mods.

    • Janichsan says:

      Typical console port problem. I can’t play Halo (the first one) for the same reason.

  11. sovvie77 says:

    RepCom is soooo underrated. If only we could have gotten more money invested/a sequel. I’ve seriously considered doing a tie-in to the books in UE3, but have zero contacts for the programming side who are interested.

    • Popotter says:

      Republic Commando is the only Star Wars game I’ve played and liked since Jedi Academy. An as far as I remember, the only prequel trilogy game I ever liked.

      Oh, and gora Euskadi!

      • thegooseking says:

        I don’t know. I think Lego Star Wars (the prequel one) was a lot better than Lego Star Wars II. It seems the quality of the levels was inversely proportional to the quality of the films they were based on. Empire Strikes Back is the best film, but the ESB levels in Lego Star Wars II were so boring. Conversely, Revenge of the Sith is the worst film (worse than The Phantom Menace, I don’t care what you say), but its Lego implementation was super fun.

        Like Chronicles of Riddick, sometimes it takes an awful film to make a great game tie-in.

      • sovvie77 says:

        1: Nobody ever says jack about the flag, so thank you. You’re awesome.

        2: I’m a child of the prequel era (I saw the original trilogy on VHS first, of course, but I was never told there was anything intrinsically wrong with the new three so I’ve never had any big hatred of them. Sue me; I am what I am) and I have always thought that the Old Republic era as so rich in lore potential. The Clone Wars became my favorite thing in SW when the Samurai Jack series ran its course and Jedi took second-string in my head. Anyone can wave a shiny stick around, but duel-wield hand blasters? That’s awesome. I loved what little glimpses into the clone life Ep III gave and how it alluded to the fantastic graphic novels set between II and III (gritty as hell). So that’s my two and a half cents. Niche fanboy rant over (for now).

        • welverin says:

          I’m a child of the original trilogy and I like the prequels. The ability to control expectations and manage disappointment is the key, not avoiding whiners telling you what to think.

          • sovvie77 says:

            What do you mean? I’m not sure I understand.

          • Hex says:

            He’s saying it’s okay for you to like the prequels, and that people who whinge endlessly about them should put on their big-boy pants.

    • Cinek says:

      +1. Next to the KotOR series it’s the best Star Wars game.

  12. rndmplyr says:

    I loved it. The best part was docking at that ship which contact was lost to, where you walk through the docking tubes seeing the space around you and then the first minutes in the ship you don’t see anybody, but traces of fight. Such an awesome ghost ship level.

    Also, not everyone hates the droids in the prequels. I liked them when they were a serious threat (Ep. 1 / 2), but hated that they had to become slapstick figures in Ep. 3.

    Now someone make a sequel to RepCom! You left me with a damn cliffhanger.

    • Rich says:

      I’m pretty sure they were torpedo tubes, which is even cooler.

  13. Stellar Duck says:

    I have!

    I didn’t like it much though. It was dreadfully scripted and generally I found it rather uninteresting to play. I don’t know why but I found the laser guns super boring to use. And frankly, I couldn’t care about the story enough to remember who was the blue dude and the red and green and yellow guy and why I’d care.

    It might get better later on but I gave up on Kasshyyyyk or however you spell that.

    Jedi Knight 2 still is the best Star Wars shooter and TIE Fighter is still the best Star Wars game ever produced.

    • jack4cc says:

      Same here, it just wasn’t a good shooter, for some reason. But I’m also one of the older people spoiled by JK2…

      • LionsPhil says:

        What a bizzare place to play the age card.

        It’s not really directly comparable to JK2, since that is a mostly-solo game about being a space wizard.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Not to mention that JK1, Dark Forces and JA were all far more fun in their own ways…

    • Vandelay says:

      I would agree with this. I have tried to play it a couple of times, at each time I came away wondering why everyone always raves about it. It seemed rather bland to me, both when I played it about 8 years ago and when I more recently got it in a Star Wars bundle on Steam.

      Give me any of the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series any time instead.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Kashyyyk (had to Google it) is the final part of the game, so I guess you made it pretty far!

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Oh dear! I had no idea.

        That made me laugh, at myself and the game.

  14. Fnoros says:

    I personally liked episode 2 more than any of the other star wars films… although I never much liked the original films. I can understand why a fan would dislike the prequels.

    • Vandelay says:

      I loved the original films when I was kid/teenager. I look back now and think that must have been because I watched very few films and mostly shit ones.

      A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back have merits, both making them good, enjoyable films, but the original trilogy mostly suffers from the bad dialogue and direction that the prequels suffer from too. I would agree with the commonly held belief that Empire Strikes Back is the best of all of the films, but the first film has a more important place in cinema history, for good or ill.

      Of the prequels, Ep2 probably is the best, but it isn’t saying very much.

      • Scurra says:

        I am one of those heretics who quite likes the structure of the prequels (Lucas may not be able to write dialogue or even plot to save his life, but he can do narrative and mythic structure like very few others. The more I watch them, the more I find to admire – for instance, the way the prequels essentially play out the original trilogy backwards works in specifics as well as in generalities.)
        And yet there are so many things that are horrible about all of the films. Anyone who complains about Jar Jar Binks but doesn’t find C3PO to be equally irritating needs their head examined. Return of the Jedi isn’t quite as bad as The Phantom Menace but it comes pretty close, except that the last half-hour or so is genuinely brilliant on all levels. The big finale of the original film (now called A New Hope) makes no sense at all in the wider context of the whole series (although, of course, at the time it was just fine.)

        But the thing that bugs me about Star Wars is that it’s a little, self-contained story (about the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker) set in an environment that makes no real sense outside of the one story it was created to tell. (It’s very similar to the Harry Potter series in that respect.)
        And yet somehow people have created this vast “expanded universe” around it. And I just don’t think that it works – especially not in the multiplicity of video games we have.. The mythos doesn’t make sense outside of the story (hell, it barely makes sense inside the story!) The universe wasn’t designed for telling any other stories beyond the one it was created for. It wouldn’t be particularly difficult to rewrite the whole thing so that it took place on one planet (indeed I reckon that the different monoterrain worlds would make far more sense that way.)
        And so what is it about the Star Wars universe that makes people so keen to stay there? I mean, at least I can understand it with Star Trek, which was never about telling a single coherent narrative, and therefore offers a lot more space to explore.

        (In passing, this makes me sound a little bitter. I’m not, really. I love the films and think that they do deserve their place in cinema history even if individually none of them are that great. But as a piece of over-exploited IP, I have also always felt that they illustrate perfectly everything that is wrong with our cultural conservatism.)

        • Rizlar says:

          This is sanity calling – the old films were great and the new ones are shit.

          Seriously – C3PO was indeed annoying but he was also a great character! Jar Jar Binks on the other hand is literally worse than Satan.

          • Koozer says:

            I like Jar Jar more than C3PO. threepio is a whiny, unhelpful twerp whereas Jar Jar is a kindhearted dope.

            I also liked Episode I. Right, where’s that number for witness protection…

          • Rizlar says:

            More seriously, this: link to youtube.com

            The ‘remastered’ original films are a fucking disgrace as well. They basically just messed with the tone, implemented pointless crap clumsily and ruined the ewok song at the very end of the trilogy.

            And less seriously again: link to youtube.com

          • SomeDuder says:

            Goddamnit, yes, thank you for posting the link to Red Letter Media’s review of Ep1, I was about to post it myself. It shows everything that’s wrong with the prequels. Their personal vilification of Lucas is especially great. No idea if the man deserves it, but it’s funny as hell.

            And for the rest of you nerfherders who seem to think that 1-3 are better than 4-6: You’re not needed on this planet anymore. EPISODE 3, BETTER THAN 5? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!?

  15. Icarus says:

    I was thinking about this game the other day. One of my favourite Star Wars stories – now I think about it, my favourite Star Wars stories are the ones without Jedi. TIE Fighter back when I was a nipper, Mike Stackpole’s X-Wing novels, this, the ARC Trooper bits of the original Clone Wars cartoon…

    And like pretty much anyone who’s ever consumed anything Star Wars-related before I was expecting the familiar John Williams fanfare for the closing titles, especially given the two other familiar musical motifs in the last cinematic – nnnnnnope:

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, the abrupt musical cut to some teenagers in a garage is a bigger kick in the balls than the inevitable unresolved cliffhanger.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Well, it was one of the better tracks from that Ash album…

      • Janichsan says:

        …which unfortunately underlines that Ash had their best days long behind them at that point.

  16. Blain says:

    The Rebel FM podcast did a multiweek game club about Republic Commando culminating in an interview with the game’s director, Tim Longo.

  17. Carra says:

    One of the handful of games that I finished not once but twice. Highly recommended.

  18. captain nemo says:

    I enjoyed Rep Commando – There was a real feeling of being in a squad.

    Must re-install it

  19. Alexrd says:

    “in which everyone involved tries really hard to pretend those leaden prequel movies never happened”

    The joke’s on them, whoever they are.

  20. WJonathan says:

    I remember the Super Battle Droids being particularly satisfying to take down. Republic Commando may have been so much fun primarily because it was originally built to be another franchise’s squad based shooter, with emphasis on strong NPC tactical intelligence. Only late in the process did it become a Star Wars property, after the guts of the gameplay were already constructed. I believe that’s also why it ended abruptly, because there wasn’t a very strong Star Wars storyline built into the mission structure.

    At any rate, one of the most purely fun SW games I’ve played.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I’d honestly say the abrupt ending, intentional or not, was a plus. Yes, it might have been more of a plus if this thing got a sequel, but it was… something of an emotional gut-punch. It’s like racing along at 200mph and then suddenly hitting a tree. The entire game was ‘abrupt’, really. Brief, furious, tense battles that sort of leapt at you out of the silence and then were done just as quickly. In short, the ending suited the game, I just wish we had another one.

  21. Metalhead9806 says:

    I can confirm the game works on Windows 7 64 bit OS. Game initially crashed, however if you go into the settings put bitmapping to low setting and the game loads up perfectly. Every other setting on high/max with the highest 4:3 ratio resolution my monitor could support (black bars).

    All in all its good times and works.

  22. ribobura osserotto says:

    It’s an interesting game. Bit too repetitive on one side, but the characters are interesting and the music is great. A solid singleplayer experience that could’ve been a lot more interesting if the maps were more open and less linear. Scripted obstacles and cover objects often provide too obvious clues on what to do beforehand, so the game seldomly manages to deliver a real surprise.

    Other than that. it doesn’t fit very much into the Space Opera-ish theme of Star Wars given that it’s a game with an overly dark and brooding atmosphere. The sci-fi context works great for it, but maybe if it wasn’t Star Wars, it would have a little more room to breathe.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I remember reading somewhere that Republic Commando was meant to be the Star Wars universe “from the eyes of a soldier rather than a jedi”. I’ve always taken it as that, and loved it as that, personally.

  23. Sunjammer says:

    A superb video game. The franchise didn’t deserve it at the time. I still bring it out to play from time to time, just love those characters.

  24. w0bbl3r says:

    Thanks to this article I reinstalled the game and started playing it again.
    Had to use a workaround for widescreen resolution, and bump mapping makes the game look weirdly shiny in places, so it has to be turned off.
    It’s ugly without the bump mapping as well. Very dull looking graphics all round.
    However, it’s still an awesome game. Feels very star wars, but also like nothing star wars you have played before. Even the shooter genre star wars games are nothing like this.
    It’s just great. The only two gripes with it are that the enemy AI is terrible, and the main weapon, the blaster rifle that amazingly transforms into a grenade launcher and sniper rifle as well, is so underpowered. It can take almost 30 rounds sometimes to take down even a standard battle droid. Super battle droids can take a couple of sixty-round magazines, even using grenades to help.
    The sniper attachment is awesome, and so is the nade launcher. But the standard rifle is a bit crap. It looks and sounds great, but just doesn’t have enough balls. The pistol actually does more damage. But is also rubbish, only firing eight rounds before needing a reload.
    But aside from the enemy AI and that weapon, it’s an amazing star wars game, and a fantastic squad shooter.
    Would have love some co-op options in it, that would have been incredible

  25. IDBUYTHATFORADOLLAR says:

    One of my favorite shooters of all time. You really feel like you are in command of a little squad, but also that you are one quarter of that squad. Most squad games are full of AI teammates who either just get in the way, or run ahead of you and do all the work. RC does a good job of having you feel like you have to hold up your side, and that your squadmates are doing the same, without you having to carry them or babysit them. Plus, the visuals are bright, colorful, and original even within the confines of the Star Wars universe. I love the huge wookiees.

  26. Papageno says:

    Didn’t this have some kind of problem with textures on Nvidia cards? I still have the disc version lying around somewhere, and I remember there being a problem.

  27. tigershuffle says:

    the original Xbox game sits proudly alongside my sons 360 collection. Still a faff to play on a controller for me but just love the games mechanics.
    Pc version is great too.
    Love the cartoon and :rebels looks promising :)

  28. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I hated republic commando it was just inferior to Jedi Knight….

  29. HumpX says:

    I found it too linear and forgettable. There are far better Star Wars games out there.

  30. Brett Douville says:

    Not sure if anyone’s still seeing this, but if you care to ask questions about this game, I’m happy to answer what I can either on Twitter (@brett_douville) or my Ask.fm account: ask.fm/brett_douville; latter is probably better if you want longer/more detailed answers. I was the lead programmer on SWRC.

    • sovvie77 says:

      Not every day I get the artist behind one of the masterpieces of my younger years to actually appear “in the flesh” (on the Internet). I have many questions!