People often complain about the stone-faced, bald and monotomous space marines in videogames; how they're an extremely overused template and stifle the development of round characters. Republic Commando puts an interesting spin on this complaint: It gives you four clones; four space marines. That's where the complaining ends.
Republic Commando is a squad based shooter set in the Star Wars universe during the Clone Wars. You play Delta 38 "Boss", leader of a highly specialised and extremely elite squad of Clones. You're bred with a great affinity for your clone bretheren. Your squad is as much a part of your arsenal as your special rifles and armour. Repulic Commando translates this premise to gameplay in an absolutely incredible way. You can 'direct' your squad to perform tasks while you hold off the enemy. Or you can work on the objective while you let them hold the line. The surprise in this comes from their intelligence. More often than not, CPU allies are less than helpful. Not the Clone Commandos; they are in a league of their own. They take, and move through cover, hide when the odds are against them, secure the area before helping you instead of running in headlong, and their aim is about as good as your own, so they don't feel considerably overpowered. What also helps is a careful balance of enemies. There are just enough in each room to keep it interesting, but never too many to make it feel like a grindfest.
Your three squadmates (and yourself) are the bread and butter of the game's presentation. 2005 graphics haven't aged so dignified, but the artstyle gets the job done. Everything looks slightly grittier and messier than it does in the films. You'll quickly determine this when you use the melee button a droid for the first time and the grease and battery acid are wiped off your visor with a laser. The helmet display resembles that of Metroid Prime a lot, complete with ambient effects and splatter. But, enough about the visuals, the real fun is in the sound. You, and your brothers engage in a lot comic banter to keep spirits up. You, the boss are the tough as nails leader, voiced by Mr Jango Fett himself. Delta 62 "Scorch" is the squad's demolitions expert and all-round joker. Delta 40 "Fixer" is the straight man and computer specialist. And finally, Delta 07 "Sev", the sniper and gruesome sadist. The dialogue exchange is worth its weight in gold and because the game's pace is tight and condenced, they don't end up looping up. It gives the whole endeavor a lively character that is a nice offset to the gritty visuals.
Still, there are some things you'll have to consider. The game isn't very long; you can tear through it an afternoon. Replaying it wastes some of the surprise moments, but you'll be better at some of the positioning and directions, allowing you to focus on speedrunning for instance. Some gauntlets can also feel extremely cheap at first. Sometimes you'll end up reloading a particular section over and over again because you squad gets wiped within the first 10 seconds. And then there is the ending off course. I'll let you figure that out on your own. I can reccommend this game to anyone who is a Star Wars fan, and to anyone looking for a shooter with exemplary squad AI and gameplay.