Fight or Kite: Hi-Rez’s shooter Rogue Company is a less-punishing Valorant


High-intensity, action-packed matches are my bread and butter these days. If I can find a game that keeps my attention long enough to even entertain the idea of logging back in, then I’m already in a better place overall. Rogue Company honestly shocked me by doing just that. I signed up and played a couple matches, and by the time my night was over, I was actually looking forward to playing again the next evening.

I’m sour, I’m grumpy, and I’m a stickler about how often games do stupid things. I’ve been playing a number of games recently – from CRSED FOAD and Conqueror’s Blade to Dysterra and Bloodhunt – so I’m getting accustomed to a certain level of jank and funkiness from my games. And I honestly knew nothing about Rogue Company, but it caught my attention in the Epic store. It immediately gave me some Valorant vibes with a side of Apex Legends, and I was down for it. Even though the game has basically been available since 2020, it only officially released last May, so it’s still pretty fresh and hot out of the oven.

Now, we’ve been through most of these things before in the Fight or Kite column, but for those in the back I’ll run through the basics of how these arena shooters work. Rogue Company (which I have mistyped more times than I can count as Rouge Company and can’t help thinking how different of a game that would be, although interesting all the same) doesn’t veer too far away from the standard formats and gameplay we’ve come to expect.

Rogue Company opts for a third-person perspective rather than the traditional FPS view, so you’ll typically be shooting over your shoulder at all the baddies. It’s similar to Fortnite or Gears of War. Personally, I prefer that to first-person. I always feel as if I’m artificially restricting my POV in those games. Do I look like I want to simulate being a dang horse with blinders on? Get that camera out of my face! It may be an unpopular opinion, but it’s one I’m willing to go down with.

Combat itself is mostly a traditional style with clicks for pointing and shooting, running, crouching, dodging, and tossing grenades. You also have a key for melee attacking, which is kind of cool. You don’t get fancy kill animations as in some games, but the attacks are effective enough if you can pull them off. I also appreciate the ability to quickly switch which shoulder/hip you’re shooting from so you can attack around corners more effectively.

Each hero has both a unique passive and active ability. Most of these are going to be familiar from games like Valorant or Apex Legends. You’ve got some with healing-style abilities, some with sonar for detecting enemies, and some that appear to drop smoke bombs and the like. On the passive side, they tend to be ability refreshes or some form of immunity. Unfortunately, most of the characters are locked, with only about nine available when you first log in, so I wasn’t able to really get my hands on all of them.

In total, the game currently has 25 heroes. While nine are available from the onset, a pair of those are rotating unlocks, so if you wait around long enough, you’ll eventually be able to try them all before you buy them. It’s not an unusual in games these days to do this. MultiVersus does this as well as others. It sort of gives me a bit of feels-bad-man.jpg when you can’t just try them all, but it could be worse. Characters can be unlocked for free by playing and earning some in-game currency, here called Reputation. To unlock them all would probably take a while, but in games like this I tend to find one that works for me and main it.

Now, the two unique abilities aren’t the only things that differentiate heroes from one another; the other is the weapon classes and perks available to them during a match. There are six different classes of main guns in the game, and each character has access to two of them. Similarly, the heroes have a secondary, melee, and gadget (various grenades, heals, and turrets) to use. That doesn’t mean you are totally locked out of using the other pieces of gear because you can pick up weapons that opponents drop throughout a fight and use them. However, between rounds and respawns, your gear will reset to only those that are available.

Gearing up in Rogue Company plays out just like Valorant. I was expecting it to play more like a battle royale where I need to go search out better gear, but that’s not how we do things here. Basically, when a match or round begins (and even between respawns), you can pull up a store screen that lets you spend money (earned through taking out opponents) to upgrade or purchase gear available to your hero. That includes the perks. I haven’t paid super close attention to how much money you get, but it does somewhat turn into a snowball if your team can’t get any kills, as the winners continue to get better and better gear – but you just keep respawning as a broke bloke.

Because of the arena-style matches and the gear purchasing mechanics, it definitely felt a lot like playing Valorant right off the bat. However, it isn’t nearly as punishing as Valorant – or as rage-inducing – since Valorant includes direct, instant-death headshots. If you peek around a corner early and get capped, then you’re just done. In Rogue Company, you will take extra damage from headshots, but it isn’t death, so you have a chance to dodge and survive. Much less punishing for a noob like me.

Overall, a lot of the game really plays and feels like Valorant, even if it isn’t in first-person perspective and the headshots don’t end the game for you.

Rogue Company currently has three game modes and a handful of training tutorials. We have a 6v6 team deathmatch where the winners are accruing kills. Then there’s Demolition mode, which is akin to Valorants primary mode, sees one team is the attacker trying to plant a bomb and the other is trying to prevent it. The last one is what Rogue Company calls Strikeout, which is really a point control mode like a conquest game, but instead of the usual three points to capture, only one is available each round. This appears to be the primary mode for the game, but I could be misjudging that. Each team gets a pool of 15 respawns here, and whichever team runs out first loses. I suspect you can win by fully capturing the point too, though I never saw that happen. In each of my matches, the teams were simply wiped out.

As always, I appreciate a game that includes a PvE mode for beginners to get my feet wet and help me acquire the muscle memory of how to play before getting thrown into a tank full of sharks wearing a meat suit. First Watch and Hi-Rez have included one for both Strikeout and Demolition. When I did this, it looked like I was teamed up with other players against AI, as opposed to be a single-player mode.

The last thing to mention is, of course, customization and monetization. I was kind of surprised to see how few skins the game currently has available, honestly. Perhaps the game is still too new, technically less than a year old, so maybe a deluge of outfits and the like will arrive in no time. Currently there’s at least one outfit to buy for each hero, but some have several. Each weapon also has skins available, but so far I’ve seen only two: a gold set and a holiday-themed set. It’s not really even worth mentioning at this point, but we also have seasonal battle passes to buy, so you can always pay to try to earn some skins too. While there isn’t a ton of them, we do have a solid selection of emotes. I don’t buy emotes, but take a look at that heart and siren ones – that’s tempting.

That’s Rogue Company in a nutshell. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, and if you’re a fan of Valorant, CS:GO, or even Apex Legends, I highly recommend you check it out. The game is well-made, and even better, it ran really well even on my potato.

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!
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