So I get this game in the mail. I open it up, and whoa! Is this the Punisher for 360? Did they make a new one? SWEET! Coz I know that’s an Ennis-era Frank Castle on the cover there and … wait, why is it called Rogue Warrior? What the heck? Who is Dick Marcinko, is he just a Punisher ripoff? Oh, wait, he’s like a real dude … Hey, this is cool, a little wiki tells me this guy is a bit of a badass, maybe a real-life Punisher type? I can deal with that.
So then I pop the game in. I learned some new words. As such, this review may not be kiddie-safe. What else did I learn?
Read on to find out…
Here is the plotline for the game: Get the missiles. That’s it. You start out on a crack black-ops military team, excuse me, a fucking badass fucking team of goddamned motherfuckery that doesn’t take poop from anyone (yes he says poop at some point. I have no idea why.) Anyway, you drop into North Korea, which, as we all know, is full of commie pinko sons of whores. At least, we learn this from the game dialog. Yes. So, team gets killed, Dick goes rogue (hey, like the title!) and finds some missiles, then tracks them to Russia via train (and how cold is the wind on the train? Cold enough to freeze the fucking balls off a fucking polar bear. Apparently.) and blows shit up along the way. Ever see a shitty 80s action movie? Coz then you’ve seen this. Rehashed cliché and zero plot complications is about all you get. The real Marcinko, I understand, is somewhat of an iconic badass. The in-game Marcinko, on the other hand, is a ridiculous walking punchline who spits bile while we slowly walk through a well-trod plotline. Motherfucker.
Story/Mode Score: Dreadful
Obviously and unfortunately, shooter graphics go up against the golden standard of Call of Duty. Rogue Warrior does not live up to the standard. Graphics are … ok. Certainly not terrible, but they’re on the edge of late-production last gen and release-date current gen. Considering we’re about 2 years past that timeframe, it’s not a good place to be. I did but one run through of the game, and I noticed several glitches. Texture overlays would be very glitchy – if a guy was hiding behind a door, you could often see his arm through the door. And shoot it, death-by-elbow style. Slowdowns occurred with confusing frequency. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised by slowdown with 100 bad guys on screen, but there would be a tenfold drop in frame rate when two baddies were on screen. Huh? What is this, a PSX game? Framerates even in cutscenes were lower than one would expect on a current-gen game, which results in a very choppy, confusing visual experience.
Graphics Score: Bad
In case you haven’t heard any buzz on this game, it’s just awful. If the game excels in one area, it is the dialog. I played with a couple of friends who wanted to hear just how bad the swearing was, and none of us could stop laughing. Marcinko’s voice is done by Mickey Rourke, whose gravely cursing is fun to listen to, assuming you have a taste for indelicate language, you cock-breathed motherfucker, you. Of course, it sounds like about 99.999% of the voice acting budget was spent on The Wrestler, so the rest of the dialog gets really, really repetitive. Seriously, I think the bad guys can say (in either Korean or Russian) “Intruder!”Â “Kill Him!”Â and “Grenade!”Â and that’s it. Ad motherfucking nauseum. Music is entirely mediocre and uninteresting, but the cues are done appropriately enough, so you know by the soundtrack how close you are to the end of the level. That’s worth a point, I guess. Yes. Way to barely attain adequacy, you red fucks.
Sound Score: Mediocre
Control & Gameplay
Control and gameplay on Rogue Warrior is nearly identical to COD games. You have your shoot and grenade, iron sights, run, crouch, NVGs, etc. There are a few differences, though. For one, a jump option is mysteriously missing. Why it’s missing is beyond me. It’s been a while since I’ve played a shooter that lacks jump. I think it was Raven Squad and … the original Doom, maybe? The other difference is the “quick kill”Â addition in Rogue Warrior. This is actually a fun feature that allows you to just hit A when you are near an enemy and Dick will automatically perform a coup-de-grace with a knife or wall or just throw them over a wall. The game allows a fair amount of stealthy running around just executing these kill moves, and it’s fun for a while, if tedious after too long. I play a fair amount of Call of Duty and I’ve grown used to the fluidity of the controls and aiming on that game, so it’s a big shock to me when I play a subpar rip-off like this one where the auto-aiming of the iron sights is off, and aiming in general is…just clunky. I’ve lined up shots apparently perfectly and unloaded a clip only to not even hit the guy, and I’ve killed guys I am about 10 degrees off from. All in all, the shooting and aiming process is slow, clunky, and inaccurate (even beyond my paltry skillset). This is worsened in “Ëœshoot from cover’ mode, which allows you to take an appropriately poorly aimed shot by just sticking the gun over whatever you’re hiding behind and firing somewhat blindly. Another major, major drawback to the game is the story length. I play shooters very, very slowly and it still took me a scant three hours to beat the campaign. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if online modes were fun, but when I signed on, there were 4 people playing. And yes, that includes me. An extremely low population of online players (COD is the same price, after all) and huge levels leads to some very boring online play.
Control & Gameplay Score: Bad
Replayability in this game is appealing for similar reasons as COD, I suppose. Try it again on a harder difficulty, or try re-logging onto XBL in the hopes that other players have foolishly bought the game. Many of the achievements can be obtained in a single playthrough for the single player mode, but multiplayer achievements will take some time, unless you can just talk the other 2 people online into taking a fall, which shouldn’t be too hard. In other words, once through is far more than enough.
Replayability Score: Awful
Balance in this game is actually handled pretty well, although there may be some amusingly unintentional racism involved. Initial levels are in Korea, where the soldiers are none too bright. Seriously, they’re not too fond of cover, movement, or varying tactics. They’re better than the AI in Raven Squad, but not by much. Later levels, with the Russian Spetznaz are quite a bit smarter, and will actually hunt you down, throw grenades, move away from the ones you throw, and vary cover strategy if you hit them. I’m sure this somewhat racist difference is unintentional, as the Russian levels are the last part of the game, but it is still amusing – and the racism is not at all supported by the dialog. Dick calls EVERYONE a motherfucking son of a whore pinko fuck fuck. Or whatever.
Balance Score: Mediocre
Rogue Warrior is based on a book and ripped off from COD and 80s action movie clichés. There is not one iota of originality in this game. “ËœNuff said.
Originality Score: Worthless
One could call this an addictive game only through a filter of ignorance. Yes, I sat and played through the entire game in a mere two sessions, meaning I played level to level. But, of course, the game is three hours long and only has eight levels. The only thing that kept me glued to the game was the curiosity factor in seeing if the rumors of such a short game were true. They were.
Addictiveness Score: Dreadful
This is going to appeal to one very small group of people: those that are big fans of Marcinko’s books (there’s a lot of those!) and love filthy language (again, a lot of those!) and shitty video games (ok, none of those). Sorry, nobody should like this game.
Appeal Factor Score: Worthless
Although I have referenced it already in this review, the language in the game deserves its own section. Every other word is “fuck.”Â In every single line of spoken dialog. This game absolutely destroys the fuck count of, say, Pulp Fiction, and both are about the same length. It is unintentionally hilarious, and I loved every minute of it.
Miscellaneous Score: Above Average
Control and Gameplay: Bad
Appeal Factor: Worthless
Miscellaneous: Above Average
FINAL SCORE: BAD GAME!
Short Attention Span Summary:
Rogue Warrior is an overpriced, underdeveloped, buggy swear-fest. The best part of the game is the dialog, which is all summed up in the cheesy rap in the end credits. So, here, save yourself $60 and watch this.