Streets of Rogue Review – Chaotic Sandbox Fun with a Helping of Stealth
Play It Your Way
On the shell of its exterior, Streets of Rogue invites the player to take on plenty of challenging tasks stuffed into small, yet open maps full of potential chaotic moments. But deep down there’s a nice amount of depth that brings players the opportunity to try different approaches to almost every scenario while staying true to its fast-paced action formula. With a bit of a steep learning curve to navigate around patiently, Streets of Rogue opens up into a rather addictive experience; but does the relatively repetitive formula stay as interesting as the first few opening hours?
Check out our video summary review of Streets of Rogue below:
Streets of Rogue pits players in an adventure combining chaotic moments, mission-based gameplay progression and a heavy dose of roguelike elements. Players will start off what’s called a “run” – which is essentially a new game pushing players to see how far they can make it across all levels without dying. And while Streets of Rogue doesn’t initially offer up any extra lives or means of permanent upgrades to make each “run” easier, but does allow certain mods to be engaged for those looking for a more casual experience. But more on those later.
Who to Choose?
First thing’s first, is players must choose their starting character. Each character comes equipped with unique characteristics as well as a unique loadout pertaining the theme of each character. The doctor comes with a tranquilizer gun and isn’t able to equip lethal weapons since their dedicated to “saving lives”. While the military soldier comes stocked with a submachine gun, grenades and all of the fixings for chaos. The prisoner comes with a knife and lockpicks, and so on. Each character caters to different play styles which allows player of all skills to find their favorite starter.
There’s only five main areas to Streets of Rogue, but it’s not necessarily about making your way through every level on the first try. The game will throw more and more dangerous foes your way along with periodic environmental hazards to keep you on your toes. And with the game’s roguelike elements, it’s not about finishing up the game in one run, but more about learning and figuring out the best methods of taking out enemies and finishing up missions without taking on too much damage. Once the player dies it’s all over and you’ll need to start at the very beginning without any of the temporary upgrades previously earned transferring over. Eventually players will unlock the option of starting on later areas in the game, but that comes only after completing a series of difficult tasks first.
The initial formula of Streets of Rogue comes off as a hectic indie shooter where chaos reigns and quick reflexes are demanded in order to survive. However, once you dig a little deeper you’ll find that often times taking a more stealthy approach and taking advantage of the game’s sandbox design can make things far easier. While going gung-ho on enemies and watching them splatter through walls is mighty fun, other tactics can be more beneficial to those players trying to make it to the end unscathed. Streets of Rogue allows players the option to interact with NPC, trigger various environmental traps and even pit an enemy target against an unknowing NPC.
Progression in Streets of Rogue is a big part of making your way to the end of the game. Players must travel and complete three randomized levels within each of the five main areas. Each level has a few mandatory tasks to complete in order to take the elevator to the next floor. However, just finishing up these few main missions won’t always be the wisest technique, as nearly every level offers up health items, new weapons, optional missions for extra rewards and more. The game is designed to give players a more difficult time if attempting to speed their way through, so being patient and taking what the game offers you is crucial for success.
Taking It Slow
Taking your time also pays more dividends in player progression as it allows players to level-up their character after killing enemies and completing missions providing them with new temporary abilities. And since you’ll constantly be weary of your health meter, every level-up refills your health essentially giving the player a leg-up for the next area. However, players may only choose their new temporary ability once they’ve reached the elevator to take them to the next level, so there’s still some motivation to continue forward after accomplishing everything you’ve wanted on a level.
The gameplay within Streets of Rogue sees players exploring moderately sized open maps looking to either take out a specific NPC(s), fetch a certain item, flip a number of switches or destroy a piece of equipment. Every mission and level is randomized upon the player’s entry to the level, so you’re never quite getting the same experience twice. At least, that’s what the game wants you to believe, but after a certain amount of time each mission becomes predictable as there’s only a small number of mission types and requirements.
Players can also fail missions if passing the mission seems too risky. Putting yourself in unnecessary danger can lead to a run-ending scenario, so killing off that heavily guarded NPC your supposed to rescue may be a more productive option rather than attempting to pull off the kidnapping. Failing missions only negates any rewards, such as items and experience points – but you’ll live to fight another day; which is often more important.
Items, Mods and More – Oh My
There are tons of items and weapons to collect throughout the game to keep your character well-armed and inspired with new tactics to complete certain tasks. Health consumables and various syringes can become extremely helpful when in the thick of the adventure, but finding a robust amount of weapons and ammo can be just as lucrative. While you only have a limited number of inventory slots to keep your goods, it never typically feels as though you won’t have enough space for everything that’s important.
That being said, there are ATMs scattered throughout the game that allow a certain number items to be stored which can be claimed at later areas in the game, or grabbed during future runs. Other vending type machines allow various item purchases, ammo refills and even surprise special items can be located across all levels in the game which can be a rewarding method to spending your hard-earned coin.
Another aspect to Street of Rage is the mod feature. Playing the game as is can be mighty challenging, especially to the more casual crowd. Various mods can be turned on and affect elements of gameplay, such as adding continues, more powerful melee attacks or having the ability to skip through floors. However, turning these mods on will negate the option of unlocking new characters and starting areas, so they work better as a means of feeling the game out and getting a better idea of how to tackle missions without using mods. There’s a long list of mods to choose from, many of which can be unlocked through playing the game – creating some goals for players hoping to get their hands on a few of the more enticing game mods.
And for those trying to avoid tackling the streets by themselves, there’s also up to four player co-op for a more chaotic experience. Teaming up with friends can become quite hectic, but does offer new strategies and more thrilling adventures, one floor after another. While going solo allows players to play at their own pace, it’s nice to take on a few partners, especially when dealing with some of the more frustrating moments within Streets of Rogue.
There’s a lot to like in the roguelike style sandbox adventure. The simple visuals inspire from a more approachable era, but understanding the finer elements in the gameplay may not be as easy to grasp at first. Once digging into the world a bit deeper, players will find an experience that will push the player to try out new approaches to certain scenarios. But the often frustrating feeling of losing all progress is still a sign that even the most charming or intoxicating roguelikes can feel a little insulting to the player.
Streets of Rogue won’t find its way into a lot of the casual gamer’s hands. Due to the hardcore roguelike play style and hectic pace of combat, it might take a more monumental amount of determination in order to really gel into a comfortable spot with the chaotic sandbox adventure. However, with all of the difficult elements aside, Streets of Rogue does offer a substantial amount of fun within a world begging to be destroyed – but it’s up to the player on just how they wish to go about destroying it. And that is, perhaps, exactly what makes Streets of Rogue so ultimately satisfying to the players who are willing to put in the effort.
Review copy of the game was provided by the publisher.
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