Why Hi-Rez’s Rogue Company is Actually Underrated

The multiplayer shooter gets a bad rap for its third-person playstyle, but the game brings something unique to the current gaming landscape.

Photo Source: Hi-Rez Studios

If you like Valorant, Fortnite, CS:GO or Apex Legends, chances are, you’ll also enjoy Rogue Company, the new shooter from First Watch Games and Hi-Rez Studios. Or, at least, that’s probably what the developers thought when releasing the game.

The game released on October 1, 2020 for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and launched on Xbox on November 10, 2020.

The most common complaint I’ve heard about Rogue is the fact that’s it’s in third person. Most of my friends are die-hard Overwatch, Apex and Call of Duty players who will download pretty much any new multiplayer shooter under one condition: It’s gotta be in first-person.

“I don’t like the aiming in a third-person game,” my friends tell me.

But what if this is just a comfort bias? Wouldn’t a new perspective mean new playstyles and angles to learn and a wider field of view overall, thus creating a fresh gaming experience?

As someone who’s played over 1600 hours of Overwatch and over 900 hours of Apex Legends, I’d tend to agree. The first-person gameplay does feel stale after some time, with a limited FOV and a predictable aiming experience.

Games like Rogue can actually push you out of your comfort zone and make you a better gamer overall. Expanding your horizons past the first person makes you a versatile player and more embedded in that specific game’s playstyle.

So the fact that Rogue is third-person may be its greatest challenge to overcome in appealing to the older, more hardened FPS demographic. Rogue has attracted some of the Fortnite crowd, but in order to create a competitive community, Rogue will need to attract gamers from the FPS world.

And I think, to a small degree, it succeeds in that effort. I’ve convinced a few of my Apex and Overwatch friends to play Rogue with me. I tell them it’s free, that’s it’s aim-based with unique characters.

But a few still say, “I like the game, but I don’t like that my character choice limits my gun options.”

Rogue combined the idea of Valorant’s buy-a-gun shop with Overwatch’s character-based loadouts, the result being that each character or “rogue” in the game can choose from two different primary guns and a host of rogue-specific abilities that can be upgraded as the game progresses.

I think that overall, Rogue’s in-game shop works well. Players have to unlock and learn the whole rosters of rogues’ weapons to find their preferred loadouts. In a lot of ways, this is actually a big positive for the game because it means that players can predict the enemy’s playstyle and guns based on who they select at the starting screen. This leads to fewer surprises and, as a result, fewer frustrations.

If your enemy swaps to Widowmaker in Overwatch, you know what you’re in for and can plan accordingly. But if there’s a Lifeline across the map in Apex who suddenly Krabers you, it can be a frustrating experience. In the shooter world, the more predictable a game is, the more it becomes up to mechanical skill rather than RNG. In Valorant, fans of the game have praised its “skill-based” focus, where aim is king over abilities, ultimates or wild gameplay strategies. Rogue sits somewhere between Valorant and Apex. Aiming for the head is always the priority, but there’s less camping and more movement than Valorant. Every rogue can do the game’s signature “roll” (which looks exactly like McCree from Overwatch’s combat roll), a movement ability that proves surprisingly useful when trying to out-position enemies and avoid gunfire mid-fight.

If you’re looking for a free shooter to play with your friends, Rogue should be your pick. It’s pretty laid-back, but you can still sweat your socks off if you want to.

There’s three different game modes you can explore, and one offers limited auto-respawns. There’s also a rogue for every kind of player.

Got a McCree or Ashe main? They can go Dallas. Got a Widowmaker friend? They should snag Phantom or Fixer. And do you have a friend who frags on Jett? Maybe they’d like Lancer.

These rogues feel very familiar if you’ve tried Valorant, Apex and Overwatch, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s enough “newness” in Rogue and its different playstyles that make it feel like its own thing.

I wish there was more of a community surrounding this game, and I think part of the reason Rogue hasn’t fully caught on yet is because Valorant recently built its own community of die-hards, Apex is still going strong and Call of Duty is such a dominant behemoth in the shooter space. And then there’s Fortnite, of course, which offers its young player base a lot more freedom and a lot less responsibility than the objective-based focus Rogue requires.

Maybe I’m alone on this one, but Rogue is going to be a game in my regular rotation for a while. It’s what I put on when I’m done trying to sweat my brains out in Apex and when I’m too tired to deal with the toxicity of Overwatch.

By comparison, Rogue is comfy and chill, and when was the last time you ever heard someone say that about a shooter?

About the Author: Kate Irwin is a content creator, writer and PC gamer. You can find all her social media links here.

Writer, PC gamer and content creator. I have an MFA in writing from Columbia University.

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