Now you may be wondering, what exactly is Star Renegades? Is it a 16-bit Final Fantasy game? Or Blade Runner on the Super Nintendo?…
Well no, it’s none of those things I’m afraid. It’s actually a Rogue-like RPG, with lite story elements that’ll punish players for stepping out of line.
So if you’re a full-blown RPG masochist, then boy do we have the game for you!
Let’s check it out!
Inspirations From Final Fantasy X?
In classic JRPG fashion, characters line up and take turns showing off their flashy animations and skills. But what’s really interesting about Star Renegades is that each action has a time element to it. Allowing you to ‘Crit’ enemies for extra damage, and possibly hold up, or as the game calls it ‘Break’ an opponent’s action until the next round.
Think of Final Fantasy X’s Conditional Turn-Based system, where certain moves can delay or bring forward actions on the timeline.
The key focus here is that parties must juggle heavy, normal, light, flurry, AoE, counter & combo attacks to ‘Crit’ foes and dish out as much punishment before they can retaliate. As any damage dealt prior to the enemy’s assault will pack a huge punch. Combine this with ‘Stagger’ attacks, which pushes back character actions on the timeline, and you’ve got yourself the keys to success.
However, the interface can become a touch too difficult to read when there’s a bunch of character models, visual effects and information on-screen, but it’s never too distracting to the point of frustration.
The interface can become a touch too difficult to read when there’s a bunch of character models, visual effects and information on-screen, but it’s never too distracting to the point of frustration.
The party’s composition and careful consideration of your equipment are also top priorities in Star Renegades. And as with traditional RPGs, each character has a particular role to fill. A Juggernaut, for instance, will have you taking less overall damage. Whilst the main protagonist, Wynn Syphex, who’s a Valkyrie, excels in front-line DPS destruction. Plus, she has an assortment of different attack speeds and moves at her disposal.
All these elements help add layers of tactical depth and really push you to plan out each round. Because if the party kicks the bucket, Star Renegades will plonk you right back to its opening scenes!…
This game’s not messing around, folks.
Does Star Renegade’s Rogue-Like Design Weigh It Down?
As frustrating as it is to restart, I’m not entirely sure if this works in the game’s favour or not. Because even though it’s a Rogue-like, repeating turn-based encounters can be a bit of a slog. And if the cast and overarching story aren’t grabbing you… Then I could imagine players might opt out for a less overwhelming experience.
To alleviate the difficulty, however, Star Renegades lets you carry over certain upgrades and bonus abilities between runs. Even though there are elements of randomness, specific things such as party-member perks, unlockable characters and equipment can jump-start your adventure off on the right foot. Granting you different options to experiment with and try out new approaches to combat, upon restart.
To alleviate the difficulty, however, Star Renegades lets you carry over certain upgrades and bonus abilities between runs.
There’s even an adversarial, Nemesis-type system like in Shadow of Mordor, and you can also partner up and produce offspring from those with a strong enough relationship. It’s similar to Fire Emblem: Awakening, in theory, but you’ll never receive any hints or tips on whom to actually partner up with… Guess you’re just gonna have to trial and error it to death? Not the greatest execution here, that’s for sure.
The Presentation & Formula of Star Renegades
Your first run will have you straight up gawking at the gorgeous pixel art. Especially in battle, as there’s very much a tangible gravitas and flair to these arenas. Combine that with the flowing synth-wave music, and the game’s space opera-type feel is amped up even further.
Your party will then be travelling around the 3 main planets. Growing your squad and progressing from battle-to-battle, conquering each enemy you encounter along the way. Culminating in a tough-as-nails final boss fight that will slap you silly for days. Kicking your butt right back to the start – Get ready to fail… A lot!
Culminating in a tough-as-nails final boss fight that will slap you silly for days. Kicking your butt right back to the start – Get ready to fail… A lot!
At the end of each day, there’s a camping section, allowing characters to unlock extra bonuses and combo moves. Which are essentially limit breaks that can be used once per battle. Even though it’s a relatively minor feature of the game, this mechanic can really assist your team in a pinch. Impacting the long and short term results of your party’s run, so make sure you choose wisely.
Tonal Inconsistencies + Story & Character Issues
Like I mentioned before, Star Renegades’ story and characters aren’t the greatest. It’s basically a stop-the-invasion plot, spanning across several dimensions. The other timelines acting as failed instances of the party not stopping the invaders in their tracks. Because of this, there are some strong bonds forged between party members, but nothing that goes beyond surface-level banter.
The awesome opening cutscene has a very sombre, stirring atmosphere, however, it’s a shame that the rest of the story isn’t congruent with this approach. It doesn’t contrast well with the quippy, one-liner-type protagonists either, who don’t offer any real sense of dramatic depth.
You’d think the intro scene would help set the tone, but it just doesn’t follow along with how the story and characters are portrayed.
It feels like false advertising quite honestly…
So, is Star Renegades worth your time? I’d have to give it a solid maybe. If you like punishingly hard RPGs, then you’re in for a treat! If not, then the sweet presentation and solid gameplay might do the trick. Though don’t expect a grand story of epic proportions or a cast with tonnes of depth and characterisation. Star Renegades is all about that cyclical, Rogue-like gameplay. If that’s not your style, then I’d actually suggest looking elsewhere.
Star Renegades has the Rogue-like formula down pat, but it does fall flat in a few areas. The story isn’t that entertaining, the game actively punishes specific party set-ups and the HUD in battle is a visual train-wreck at times. However, if you are a Rogue-like masochist, then you may find certain aspects of this game enjoyable.
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