What would happen if the Just Cause series was a retro style top-down twin-stick shooter? It'd be Renegade Ops, basically. In fact, the upcoming PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC downloadable is by developer Avalanche and uses the Just Cause engine. Win!
The basic story is this: Inferno, the big baddie of the story, is hell bent on taking over the world. Enter the Renegade Ops, a four person commando squad that's kind of a cross between the A-Team, G.I. Joe and the Expendables. Yeah, it sounds very cliché but don't worry, it's supposed to be.
Renegade Ops (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, PC/Steam)
To be released: Summer, 2011
In the preview Sega was showing off, the demo was taking place on an island reminiscent of the one from Just Cause 2. Inferno's forces are trying to destroy the island and it's up to you to defend the place and save the local inhabitants along the way.
Each of the four playable characters will have a custom vehicle they control with unique features associated to each. With the character I was playing as, I was able to unleash a special EMP blast wave that temporally shut down enemy weapons. As this is a twin-stick shooter, you'll use the left stick to steer and the right stick to aim/shoot at targets. Controls took a bit of getting used to and the vehicle controlled a lot like the Warthog from Halo.
The upgrade system will work in two ways. First you'll be able to find machine gun upgrades (giving you extra barrels) or find missile pickups scattered around the level. These are sort term upgrades and won't reappear when you're brought back to life. The other system is based on the points you accumulate for completing mission objectives and other activities. After every level, you'll be able to use the points to upgrade your various abilities and health through a skill tree system that will stick with you throughout the game and in multiplayer.
The island I was driving around on was ridiculous huge and I was able to go anywhere at any time. As you drive around, primary and secondary mission objectives will pop up. Primary mission objectives have a time limit while secondary ones looked like they could be completed at leisure. The mission structure basically involved either me saving hostages and transporting them back to a church (which acted as the main base for the locals), defending the church or taking out enemy weapon placements. At most there are three objectives at a time and there's a nav point surrounding your vehicle directing you in real time to the various objectives.
Everything that I experienced felt very frantic and crazy, which I really liked. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing other locations and trying out some four-player co-op as I can only imagine it gets even crazier. I also want to see what it's like controlling other vehicles, like the helicopter.
Expect more on Renegade Ops come E3 time.