Raven Squad ReviewSeptember 10, 2009
|Game Name:||Raven Squad|
|Genre(s):||Shooters, Real-time Strategy|
|ESRB Rating:||T (Teen)|
Raven Squad is a game that utilizes an interesting concept that combines the First Person Shooter (FPS) and Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genres. The player can switch between each mode at almost any time during the game with few exceptions where it is related to the story. Two squads containing three men are controlled by the player and each focuses on a different type of play style. The Assault squad (blue) has heavy weapons and explosives while the Support squad (orange) focuses on infiltration with long range weapons and non-lethal grenades. While the concept is intriguing the game is not fun due to the broken core mechanics that it consists of.
One of MANY jungle environments.
Who is Raven Squad? Little is known about the squad beyond the members’ names and their mission. Some personality is given to the main leader Paladin but that is limited to the bad dialogue that is in the game. While Raven Squad was developed with 80’s action films in mind, meaning it is supposed to be cheesy, mindless, and fun, it only succeeds at being wretched. The story is generic as are each of the squad members, their names, and dialogue.
Here is the basic setup: Raven Squad is dropped into the Amazonian jungle for a mission, things don’t go according to plan, and now they are stuck fighting their way against even more generic enemies. There is nothing you haven’t seen here before in terms of story. This would be excusable if the game was very fun, but it fails at that too.
Cue generic dialogue.
Besides the generic story is even worse dialogue. Firstly, it doesn’t even come off as funny. Secondly, the voice acting is stilted. There is no emotion and no sense of drama given off in the voices. It sounds like the actors were just reading flatly from the script. One of the characters sounds like she is struggling to speak English and comes off as an ESL dropout. Even during the cutscenes the voices don’t synch up to the animations. Not that the sound effects are any better. They are extremely limited and the guns don’t sound powerful at all. It matches the average graphics in the game consisting of repetitive jungle and camp environments.
Another cloned environment.
While the controls take some getting used to with an unusually awkward configuration that is the least of your problems. Decent controls aren’t going to save the player from the terrible collision detection and occasional glitches in the game. One time I had to restart a level since the enemy blew up some oil drums and one of them landed and blocked the only available path I had. Other times my characters became stuck on foliage or parts of the ground. Otherwise my bullets wouldn’t register until after I’d unloaded a full clip into a group of soldiers. This may have been due to the amount of lag in the game both offline and online. Yes, there is lag or sometimes hitches offline.
The game does offer local and online co-operative play. The online servers are bare and I never found a match when I searched for one and no one joined when I created one. Another Staff member bought the game and we went through the campaign online together and it proved to be even more laggy than it was offline. Each person controls one squad and they cannot switch control of the squads at any time, but they can still individually switch between whatever style of gameplay they want to use (FPS/RTS).
The result of bad squad A.I.
Having a human to experience the campaign with is infinitely less frustrating than personally controlling both squads. The A.I. of both your teammate and enemies is atrocious. Often times your squad will stand right in front of an enemy and not shoot them. Other times you’ll stand next to a squad of enemies and they won’t even shoot you. Yet sometimes they will be far away and shoot you before you are in sight. Luckily it is mostly the enemies that are stupid and run at you in a straight line.
Raven Squad is an exercise in frustration and patience. I’d be bored out of my mind playing it if I wasn’t so angered by the broken gameplay that hindered my progress multiple times due to the broken game mechanics. While the achievements are pretty easy I’m still apprehensive to even recommend it for the easy gamerscore. Avoid this game at all costs.