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The Superb Star Wars Republic Commando is Free on Switch for a Limited Time

Lock and Load, trooper.

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Star Wars Republic Commando

The beauty of Star Wars is that the series is so pliable and easily adapted to a wealth of different genres and experiences. While there have been plenty of great Star Wars games over the years, the series brought a novel approach to shooters in 2005 with an intense squad-based game called Republic Commando. From 4/20 to 4/26, Republic Commando is a free game trial to anyone with an active Nintendo Switch Online account, and if you decide to buy the game you can even get 50 percent off and save your data, meaning you have no excuse to miss out on one of the finest Star Wars games ever created.

Republic Commando takes place in the heat of the Clone Wars, casting you as a group of elite commandos known as Delta Squad. These commandos aren’t your typical Clone Troopers; they have significantly better training, weapons, and more freedom to do whatever is needed to properly execute the spec ops missions they’re sent on.

Each of your squadmates has a vibrant personality, and a big part of Republic Commando’s story is how those personalities play off each other.


The story opens with a montage of scenes about the clones’ creation and training before the commandos are sent straight into the invasion of Geonosis. Republic Commando adopts a “gritty” military tone, and it totally works in context. It’s fascinating to see another side of the battle on Geonosis, being in the trenches with Clone Troopers as artillery rounds crash and explode all around you. It feels a bit like if you combined Halo with Call of Duty and then put a Star Wars paint job on the top.

While Republic Commando’s narrative isn’t the deepest or most complex thing out there, it’s surprisingly gripping. Each of your squad members (Scorch, Fixer, and Sev) has a distinct personality, and as the war drags on, the commandos start to question their role in the Republic war machine and the morality of what they’re doing. Beyond Geonosis, the game’s linear missions take you aboard a derelict assault ship and the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. It’s those two later sections where the game really shines.

Interestingly, Republic Commando dips into horror vibes on occasion, particularly in one section where the commandos are stalked by Trandoshan slavers aboard the ship. Horror isn’t something we often see in Star Wars, but Republic Commando does a phenomenal job of making it work with an utterly eerie atmosphere and some impeccably well-placed jump scares. The team at LucasArts founds some smart ways to make Republic Commando feel horrific without getting an M-rating: like Battle Droid grease smearing your visor as you hack them apart or Super Battle Droids being hulking brutes that stomp toward you, even as you blow pieces of armor and limbs off.

Republic Commando’s Super Battle Droids are utterly terrifying, unflinching monstrosities that take your whole team to bring down.


Aesthetic and atmosphere are where Republic Commando really shines, but the game’s fairly standard shooter mechanics do have a few unique ideas added into the mix. The squad system is by far the most unique mechanic, as at any time you can issue commands to your three allies.

There are basic general commands that let you keep them close or seek and destroy enemies, but there are more dynamic points of interaction scattered across the environment. For example, you can assign one squadmate to a sniping position, and another to a grenade position while you and the third stay mobile. You’ll also often have obstacles you need to pass, like hacking a door or setting charges. In these cases, you can choose to do it yourself and have your squad defend, or you can assign a squadmate and play defense yourself.

While the missions in Republic Commando are largely linear, the squad dynamics help add a bit of choice and variation into the overall system, giving you some leeway about how you want to handle each battle.

From a single-player standpoint, Star Wars has never seen a more ambitious or well-tuned shooter as Republic Commando, although the Battlefront games have multiplayer locked down. All these years later the game still desperately needs a sequel that can fully deliver on its ideas, but at the very least it’s great that Republic Commando is still readily available on modern platforms, and not lost in the past like dozens of other Star Wars titles.

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