Star Wars games tend to either great or terrible. For every X-Wing there's a Masters of Teräs Käsi, its a inconsistent line of quality. More recent Star Wars title have tended to fair better thanks to more focus on new story lines rather than using ones from the films. The Star Wars games have covered pretty much every genre in existence with various amounts of success, and failure. The first person shooter genre has generally been a favourable stage for Star Wars throughout the years. Yet there's one quality title that tends to get forgotten, mainly through association.
Star Wars: Republic Commando expanded upon the Star Wars universe by placing players in the boots of a Clone squad leader. Marketed as a tactical squad based shooter,the game saw players visit a number of worlds and take on various enemies ranging from the familiar to the new. While the tactical part of the game was a little shallow, the overall experience was anything but. The action was intense and oozed of that Star Wars feel and atmosphere. The controls were tight allowing the game to flow well, resulting in a satisfying experience. The core gameplay was kept fresh by mixing up enemy types that each required a different approach.
Republic Commando had a number of minor touches to it that gave that sense of polish. Little things like the visor being splattered with blood and oil added that nice touch of immersion. Witnessing the wipers clean the visor of blood and oil is oddly fascinating. Exploring new planets only mentioned by name in other Star Wars media also had plenty of appeal. Republic Commando had a surprisingly solid narrative behind it, along with some decent voice acting. The plot provided a decent viewpoint into how the Clone squads operated and effected events seen the film and extended Star wars universe. Throughout the course of the story familiar characters would make cameos or deliver mission briefings.
The only real issues Republic Commando suffered from was how the game ended, and its association with the Star Wars prequels. The concept of playing as a Clone squad directly after the climax of The Clone Wars had some fans instantly turned off. It's hard for any Star Wars product to shake off the overall disappointment and stigma of the prequels, Republic Commando had that very problem. It's a real shame the game came attached with the underwhelming nature of the prequels. Republic Commando had everything a Star Wars fan could of wanted while being enjoyable to non-Star Wars fans. Slick presentation and a fantastic soundtrack, along with decent gameplay, should of made Republic Commando a smash it, but things did not turn out that way.
While the game did not flop in terms of sales, nor did it flop with critics, it was not deemed worthy enough for a sequel. A follow up was planned well ahead of production of the original (as the ending reflected) but the game only made it to concept stage and was canned in 2004. It still remains a great shame that a follow up did not grace last generation, or for that matter this generation. Even in 2012 Republic Commando still provides a utterly enjoyable experience, even more so for a Star Wars fans (both new and old). The next time a craving for Star Wars arises, remedy it with a dose of Republic Commando.