[PlayStation 4] Star Renegades Review

by EdEN, Owner

Star Renegades from Massive Damage and Raw Fury is a procedurally generated tactical turn-based RPG with a sci-fi twist. Check out our Star Renegades review!

In Star Renegades from Massive Damage and Raw Fury, you’ll be taking on a procedurally generated tactical turn-based RPG on PlayStation 4. After a cool fully animated intro that sets things up, you will get to dive into this very fun experience. As you’re probably aware by now, for a roguelike experience such as this one, the gameplay loop needs to be quite addictive to keep you hooked, since you’ll be redoing stuff as your current run comes to an end. The good news is that Star Renegades does a very good job of keeping you coming back for more!

Once you get started with your first run, you will get a separate cutscene that is closer to the pixeltastic look and feel of Star Renegades. Enemy squadrons are on the chase, and the surviving starfighters try to regroup after the attack on their forces. Your main character will be Wynx Syphex, who during the animated intro was shown as a little girl sent out on an escape pod by her mother. She grows up to become a powerful warrior, who is now fighting against the same invaders that are still trying to eradicate all surviving humans.

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How does the game justify its gameplay loop for its procedurally generated content that will have you taking on some challenges more than once? Well, it turns out that there’s this service robot named J5T-1N that will play a crucial role in this story. Why? Because it will travel from another time and place to warn you of the impending doom to be brought by the Imperium! It is thanks to this that you’ll be able to slowly but surely make some progress during each of your runs, since J5T-1N will be sent on to the next dimension so that the next group of heroes that will take on the Imperium have a better chance of surviving the onslaught.

You can move around each overworld area with the left analog stick – running by pressing and holding down the Circle button -, moving around towards points of interest to interact with them with the X button. For example, at the start of the game, you can approach Wynx’s starfighter to take a closer look at what’s left of it. There’s a clear objective marker nearby, but before heading there, you can approach the nearby citizens to see what they have to say about everything that is going on. There’s also the option of using the right analog stick to look around so that you can see what’s in your immediate vicinity.

Since this is a procedurally generated game with tactical turn-based battles, once you enter combat, you’ll have to command your squad to make the most of their skills and abilities, in order to survive. On the top of the screen will be the actions timeline, which will determine the order in which each character on the battlefield will act. Knowing when your enemies will act can allow you to plan accordingly to Defend, or Crit, Stagger, and Break them. The exception to this is rule are instant actions, which are executed immediately. Each round of a battle will last 60 seconds, an each action selected by a unit will require a set amount of time to trigger.

Each unit will have their status bars displayed on top of their heads, which will represent their shields, health, and armor. Current effects will be displayed on top of said bars. You can also check the action that an enemy is going to take. Shields regenerate at the end of each combat. Armor can only be damaged after the shield bar has been depleted. Any lost health or armor can be healed or repaired by activating health kits or by using armor stations as needed, which is a must if you plan to stay alive!

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You’ll have different units to control in battle, with each one having access to a variety of actions to apply. You could, for example, take a quick slash at your enemy, use an ability that will be active for 30 seconds as it triggers a bleeding effect on your opponent, unleash a heavy cleave attack that can deal critical damage, use a faster attack with a lower overall damage, or defend to boost how much damage your unit can divert, in order to reduce the effect of your enemy’s actions in battle.

Remember that I mentioned Crit before? This happens when a unit is hit before they can execute their selected action. Plan this accordingly and do things right, and you can add a Crit Bonus to your attack. This can mean that your attack can deal some extra damage to your opponent, Break their attack, pierce their shields or armor, do heavy damage to their armor, or more! This does mean you need to be extra careful with the actions you select, because your enemies can also Crit you if you don’t pay attention!

Stagger is also something that you need to keep in mind. What Stagger does is delay an enemy’s action towards later int her round, which can allow your units to land some Crits that can easily turn the tide of battle. You can check the amount of Stagger that each of your attacks will deal when it Crits by checking the green number shown next to the green Stagger delay icon. Chain attacks just right, and you can land multiple Staggers on an enemy and have them Break, which will effectively push them to the next round! In order to keep you from abusing this, enemies will have a Stagger Limit which will establish how many times they can be Staggered before they become immune.

And as you land Crits and Breaks on your enemies, you will generate Fury. Crits will generate one Fury point, while a successful Break can grant you three Fury points. Fury can be used to unleash special actions or Combos that can have devastating effects. Combos will be executed by two of your heroes at the same time, and you’ll need to time this right, because you can only use a Combo once for each battle. Combos are available for heroes that have a strong relationship, which you can boost during Camping segments – more on this in a bit.

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When in battle, you’ll also have to consider how each attack will have different core damage types applied to them. These can be light, normal, heavy, flurry, area of effect (AoE), counter, and combo. Each opponent you face might have a weakness to a particular core damage type, which will mean they will take extra damage and delays from them. This, in turn, also means that they can have a resistance to some of said core damage types – and they can even be immune to some of them!

Because of this, you need to pay attention to what is going on in battle, so that you can make the right call at the right time. This is why Inspection Mode is a very important resource for you to use. Inspection Mode, which you can activate by pressing and holding down the R2 button, will allow you to review a unit’s stats and who they’re targeting, which will give you some insight on their traits and effects, so that you can review any strengths, weaknesses, resistances, and immunities they might have, which can save your life in more than one occasion by keeping you from making unnecessary mistakes.

Inspection Mode will also allow you to get a prediction on the potential damage you’ll deal, and if said attack will result in a Kill Shot, which will defeat you enemy either before or after it can take its action. This is not 100% accurate, since there are things that can take effect before you land the Kill Shot – for instance, a unit healing another unit, a defense buff being applied to a unit, etc.), but it’s a good indicator of how things might play out during that particular round, so do not hesitate to make good use of this valuable information!

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As you win fights, open chests, and explore each area, you’ll be rewarded with different resources for your efforts. You can end up getting credits, DNA, Imperium Tech, or Intel. Credits are used to purchase items at the different vendors you can find during your journey. Intel will be used to unlock new characters so that they can join your cause as Renegades. Intel can also be spent to unlock squad perks. Imperium Tech is also very important, since it can be used to construct new advanced gear that can help you save your dimension. Intel and Imperium Tech are the two resources that will carry over from run to run, so be sure to make good use of them!

Once you’ve collected enough DNA, you’ll be able to level up your heroes, which will grant a boost to their stats, which will be of great use in battle. Do be aware that levels are reset when you return to the Renegade Base and jump to the next dimension, which is when your current run must come to an end. You will need to decide which of your heroes you’re going to level up, in order to make the most of the boost that they will get to their health and damage. On top of this, they might gain a new power, or even a Camping Card, so be sure to check this before you make your decision!

Camping will allow your heroes to get some rest so that they can heal their wounds, as well as gain Affection for each other. Each of your heroes will have its own set of Camping Cards that they can play on themselves or on other members in your group. Camping Cards have an Action Points cost attacked to them, and they can be used to regenerate lost health, repair amor, grant special stat effects, or even boost Affection between characters. Action Points are shared between all heroes, which means you won’t be able to use all of your cards during a single Camping sequence. Once you’ve used up all of your Action Points, your group will finally get some much-needed sleep. Boosting the Affection between two heroes will unlock new conversations, bonuses, traits, Combo powers, and even new Progeny heroes!

Star Renegades Review - Imperium Throne

In an interesting twist, every now and then, you’ll be taken to the Imperium Throne room. This will allow you to catch a glimpse of important events, review the Imperium Hierarchy, as well as all currently known Leaders, and Adversaries, and Behemoths. Adversaries are the Imperium elite units, and you should definitely keep an eye on them since they are much tougher than regular enemies, and will have unique traits and abilities to watch out for. Behemoths are the bosses you’ll have to fight against at the end of each run. As for the events you can witness in the Throne Room, these can include introductions to new characters, promotions, as well as deaths, which will have an impact on the rest of your run.

Trophy-wise, Star Renegades has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy to unlock… and it’s not going to be an easy nor quick journey! There are trophies for completing the tutorial segments of the game, which are the easiest ones to get, but after this, you’ll need to work on making the rest of them pop. There are trophies tied to defeating Lieutenants and Commanders, beating each of the Behemoths, boosting your Affection rating with other characters to unlock boosts, combos, and Progeny, unlocking additional heroes, failing 20 times in total, being victorious 13 times, and destroying 500 Imperium soldiers in total – with a handful of trophies popping along the way. Oh, and you’ll also have to beat the game on Extreme. You know, the usual.

Star Renegades is a very fun procedurally generated tactical turn-based RPG with a sci-fi twist. It’s gameplay loop feels just right, keeping you coming back for more as you start to make some progress by collecting enough Intel and Imperium Tech during each run to unlock new heroes, new weapons, new upgrades for your service bot, and more! You’ll certainly learn from your mistakes, as you find the best ways to defeat each enemy type in the different planets you’ll visit as you try to eradicate the Imperium for good. Star Renegades is out on PlayStation 4 with a $24.99 price.

This Star Renegades review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Raw Fury.

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