By Sam Coles:
Sometimes I wonder what board members are thinking when it comes to greenlighting projects in the games industry, which was my thought when I played Rogue Warrior for the first time. This game is so bad that it is amazing, it is entertaining for all the wrong reasons but that is what makes it special. Originally released in 2009, developed by Rebellion and published by Bethesda (yes really). It’s a game that I expect that Bethesda want to eject from their portfolio, now is it a 1 out of 10 like IGN rated it back in the day? No, as I found that rating rather ridiculous and hyperbolic as the game is functional (mostly), but it’s worth it for the dialogue alone. Let’s get into it!
Based loosely on the book of the same name and I will say loosely with the biggest quotations that Microsoft Word will permit. It follows the escapades of real life Navy Seal Richard Marcinko who is called Dick for short, which is rather appropriate considering the game’s tone which I will get into. He is tasked to investigate North Korea, as there are hints of them hiding weapons of mass destruction for the Soviets. Like with most military shooters of the time it is rather stock standard, but that is not the reason to play the game as absurd amount of profanity that is out of context coupled with the performance from Mickey Rourke is what makes this game amazing.
Gameplay is a first person shooter, which is functional for the most part; you point and shoot where they reliably die. It takes ques from the Rainbow Six: Vegas games where it has third person elements, what I mean by this is that you can snap into cover and it will bring the camera out where it turns into a cover based shooter. This system works somewhat, but there were moments where I was clearly in cover and yet I was still taking damage by someone who seemed to be able to curve bullets like an assassin from Wanted. The other issue I have with the gameplay is that you die insanely fast; it only takes a couple of bullets before you resemble a human shaped clarinet. On the other hand you do regenerate health just as fast, so you could look at that as a silver lining.
The game does emphasise stealth, but this is works just as well as trying to eat a bowl of soup with a folk it just doesn’t work. What has clearly had a lot of work put into it are the executions, according to some sources there are 25 of them and I very much believe them. They vary from the usual slicing someone’s throat open, to the more “creative” where he stabs them in the neither regions and the delivers a right hook. The stealth doesn’t work really because as soon as someone spots you there is no way to revert back to a non-alert status; you just end up pulling out an automatic weapon where it is business as usual.
Now what is the saving grace of this game? Well it is the dialogue, which is voiced by none other than Mickey Rourke. He clearly knew what sort dross he was working with so he hammed it up with his performance; it’s so over the top where he uses four letter words like Tic-Tacs. If I had a tally chart counting the amount of times he accused someone sampling male genitalia in a firefight, I would probably go through an entire stationary draw of pens. It’s the absurd amount of profanity is what makes this game so good, it is always out of context and he sounds like a rambling old man sat in the corner of the pub shouting at the youth. If he ran out of ammo I’m sure he could swear the North Koreans to death, which honestly if a bearded man ran in a room and started to shout nonsensical profanity at me I would probably be scared too.
The game is not particularly good looking, and don’t give me the excuse it’s from 2009 because even for 2009 it wasn’t visually impressive. The textures are muddy, blurry and look like they come from a PlayStation 2 game, rubbing excrement in your eyes would be more appealing compared to this visuals of this game. Also the game doesn’t run well, especially on the consoles. I played this on the Xbox 360 and the framerate stutters like a politician dodging a sensitive question, especially at the start of the game where it would almost reach single digits where it almost made me feel sick. Although after the first level the framerate stables out, but not by much as it performs as well as Goldeneye on the N64 which is not acceptable for a 2009 game.
Rogue Warrior is a game that everyone should play at least once; it is unintentionally hilarious with Mickey Rourke’s over the top delivery. The game is not great by any stretch; however it is not a 1 out of 10 as many mainstream outlets would have you believe at the time of its release. Now let me preface in this conclusion that it is not a good game either, but if you want to laugh so hard that water will spray out of your nose, then this is well worth the £1.50. Sometimes all need to do is laugh and Rogue Warrior fulfils that quota, plus it is not that long, it only took me 2 hours to finish and that is as long as it needs to be.