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Rogue Warrior is often considered one of the worst games ever made. I’ve heard people say it’s terrible, it looks like shit, and the gunplay is atrocious. It’s been on my radar for a while, especially because it’s extremely cheap. Developed by Rebellion Developments and published by Bethesda Softworks, Rogue Warrior was released for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in November, 2009. It was originally being developed by Zombie Studios but Bethesda wasn’t happy with the game so it was eventually scrapped and Rebellion developed an entire new game from scratch. Rogue Warrior is a cover-based first-person shooter, kind of like Rainbow Six: Vegas, although I would say it’s a little faster paced and it is definitely not a tactical game of any kind. The plot follows real-life Navy SEAL Richard Marcinko, who was the commander of SEAL Team Six. And this game is not based on the autobiography of the same name.
Set in 1986, the plot follows Richard Marcinko, who is voiced by Mickey Rourke. Him and two other SEALS are sent on a classified mission to North Korea to retrieve intel. After they drop from the plane they are soon ambushed and Marcinko is the only one to survive. He proceeds with the mission despite orders from his commander to abort. In fact, throughout the entire game, Marcinko frequently disobeys orders and is promised to be court-martialed upon his return. Honestly, the story is quite forgettable and plays out like an action movie from the 1980’s than any kind of realistic depiction. Marcinko completes every mission lone wolf, eliminates hundreds of bad guys, and saves the day. Now the voice acting is just ridiculous. Whenever Marcinko has to speak to anybody, gets injured, or even when he kills enemies, he’ll start swearing like crazy. It’s always “fuck” this, “fuck” that, or he’s calling people “motherfuckers”, telling them to suck his dick, and it’s borderline hilarious. There’s a lot of name-calling and using words like “dick” and “balls”. It’s absurd. With that said, Mickey Rourke delivers a humorous performance and Neal McDonough voices Admiral Travis Payton, the commander of the operation. If you want to consider this a comedy, you could say he’s the straight guy, I guess. The game will make some references to the Star Wars program which was a real-life program intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons. In fact, I think the plot is just that with a different premise. You’ll be destroying plenty of missiles and blowing a ton of shit up, otherwise it’s good bye free world, or so Marcinko says. Besides the throwaway plot, the game is extremely short, you can beat it in under two hours.
There’s three difficulty modes – Recruits, Regulars, and Elites. Marcinko can run, crouch, snap to cover, blind fire, repel down ropes, throw grenades, and carry two weapons at a time. At the start of most missions, you’re provided the opportunity to sneak up behind enemies and perform kill moves which are brutal executions and they’re pretty cool to watch. He’ll stab guys in the balls, stab them in the head, snap their neck, among other violent types of kills. The radar at the bottom of the screen indicates enemy positions and I believe green means you’re not spotted, yellow means their suspicious, and red means enemies are alerted to your presence. Once you’re detected, all enemies in the area seem to know where you are but sometimes you’ll proceed through the mission and have another opportunity to sneak around. Marcinko is also equipped with night vision goggles that can be activated at any time during gameplay. Some areas have a panel you can destroy, which kills the power, making it hard for enemies to spot you. Whenever you are detected, you’ll need to get behind cover because if you’re out in the open too long, you’ll die. In fact, if you’re not behind cover, enemies can drop you rather quickly. There is a regenerating health system and the checkpoint system is very forgiving so even if you do die you’ll normally respawn very close to where you died.
There’s a decent arsenal of weapons including an AK-47, Dragunov, SM5, Type 97-1 shotgun, SAP-9, AR4, and some others. Unfortunately, most of the automatic weapons feel the same and none of the weapons really have their own unique feel to them. That’s the best way I can describe it. The actual gunplay is generic but fun. All enemies seem to go down after a few shots so encounters usually never last long, making it easy to breeze through missions. Many areas include explosives that you can shoot and, of course, any enemies in the blast radius will usually die. You start out up against Korean soldiers, eventually you’ll come across guys wearing balaclavas, some of the later enemies have helmets of some kind but they all behave the same. They’ll run around, get behind cover, blind fire, occasionally throw grenades, but their AI is nothing special. They’re often terrible at staying out of harm’s way and once they get into cover, they usually just stay there. Sometimes a downed enemy will continue to shoot at you which is pretty cool to see. Weapons and ammo are everywhere so neither should ever be a problem and you can even acquire weapons from fallen enemies. Reloading can be a bitch sometimes because if you enter or leave cover in the middle, or even towards the end, of a reload, he won’t finish it and you’ll have to start the reload process all over. It’s just annoying.
All missions have you going from point A to B. This is a very linear game. You’ll be activating things, riding elevators, repelling down ropes, and planting explosives. After you do what you need to do you normally have to escape. Enemies are usually patrolling, sometimes they repel down ropes, or arrive in vehicles. Every now and then enemies may advance on your position but they’ll rarely try and flush you out, or flank your position. You’ll traverse through several environments like a munitions factory, docks, you’ll have to infiltrate a palace and underground bunker complex, and late in the game you’ll navigate through a hydro-electric dam and submarine base. There’s really not much to say about the environments. I do like the Palace mission because it’s easily the most exotic and most memorable location in the game. The level design is okay and there’s usually plenty of objects to use as cover. The environments normally have a ton of stuff that can be blown up like explosive barrels, vehicles, and even what I think are ammunition caches and when one explodes, you’ll see projectiles launching from the destroyed cache. It’s pretty cool.
Visually, the game isn’t anything special and wasn’t anything special in 2009, either. Although, the character model for Marcinko looks pretty good, especially if you’ve seen the real guy. Textures are a bit blurry, jaggies are noticeable, and there’s not many graphics options to configure. One area contains snowfall which looks okay, I think the lighting looks good and I enjoy watching the gunfire illuminate dark areas. On the audio side, there are a few decent tunes believe it or not that are pretty good at building up tension and getting you into the action. The music heard at the main menu is actually pretty catchy. Now the sound effects are mostly generic. Some guns sound extremely weak, others sound better, but nothing really stands out. Enemies will shout when you’re detected, they’ll groan when injured, and Marcinko will swear and start with the name-calling when he takes damage. As for the performance, the entire game ran very smoothly from start to finish. I read that vsync is always enabled but as soon as I started playing I saw some screen tearing so I forced vsync through the Nvidia Control Panel which resolved that issue. I did notice some bugs like bodies getting stuck in walls and ragdolls freaking out but nothing game breaking. Overall, it’s a solid performer.
You know, I actually had fun with Rogue Warrior but I’ll admit it’s not a very good game. I, honestly, think its biggest issue is the length. It’s just way too short. But I was really getting into it for a while. It was just fun plowing through enemies, listening to Marcinko swear like a pre-teen, and the entire game reminds me a lot of classic action movies from the 1980’s. However, it’s just a very generic cover-based shooter with no standout or unique qualities. There’s a multiplayer mode which I didn’t try but outside of the multiple difficulty modes, the single player doesn’t really give you any reason to return. There’s no collectibles, unlockable modes, or anything like that. It just kind of all comes to an abrupt end. I would put Rogue Warrior right up there with games like Soldier of Fortune and BLACK. Although, Rogue Warrior is at the bottom of the list. All of these games have throwaway plots with fun action-packed gameplay. I really wish there was a modding scene for this because I think mods could do this game some good. I couldn’t find any which is kind of disappointing because I really wanted a reason to jump back in.
So you may be wondering if I would recommend Rogue Warrior? No. Not because of its generic gameplay, but because it’s way too short. Honestly, it’s a fun title that could have been better. The plot sucks, the enemy AI is sub-par, and the weapons lack a punch. However, it is fun executing enemies and blasting your way to your objectives like a macho overpowered testosterone-filled psychopath. I don’t know what the fuck people are talking about, but Rogue Warrior is far from being one of the worst games of all time. It’s obvious that some of these people have not played truly shit games. It’s not really a good game but it’s not a broken mess or unplayable either and does offer some bits of enjoyment. I can think of a few shooters that are worse than this, Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza being one of them. In my experience, Rogue Warrior runs well, it plays well, and it offers a somewhat enjoyable two hours of action packed gameplay. It could have been a lot better but it’s really not as bad as some people make it out to be. It’s just a generic shooter that’s definitely worth it’s Steam price of $4.99. For that price, I would say check it out if you think this looks interesting but don’t expect greatness. Expect to waste almost five dollars for a small rush of enjoyment.