Rogue Warrior Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Rogue Warrior box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Rebellion 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Bethesda Softworks 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Dec. 1, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Man Down! Man Down!
by Leon Hendrix III

So...sigh... I don't know where to begin. Theoretically, the next-gen consoles provide at least a minimum level of value, a base level of production below which most gamers don't expect their games to dip. I've witnessed some truly horrible things in gaming, over the years, and a lot of games have disappointed me, but nothing worse than the shrieking, flaming, meteorite-o-terrible that is Rogue Warrior.

Rogue Warrior screenshot

I would have to review a few decades of gaming, but I feel fully comfortable issuing the following unqualified statement: Rogue Warrior is one of the worst games ever, and a crime against gamers and humanity in general. "But I've played the adventures of Rocky Balboa and Chester Cheetah in War for the Product Placement Movie-Tie In," you might be thinking. "How could this possibly rank below that pitiful game?" Well, you cynical know-it-all, allow me to lower your expectations…

Out of respect for the great minds at Bethesda Softworks who brought us Fallout 3 and all its myriad expansions, I will try to be reserved. Although, to be frank, I am not sure how an industry giant with the pedigree Bethesda has can muster the stones to attach its name to a game like Rogue Warrior. For that matter, how did Mickey Rourke go from 'The Wrestler' to this? There is almost no redeeming quality in this game and I am including Achievements/Trophies (for those eager to boost their gamer score/collection). Considering the relative amount of barriers to having a game produced, it is a wonder that a bomb like this one drops in our laps. The entire crew and cast should be ashamed.

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Rogue Warrior is an example of everything that's wrong with video games today. It's a pointless, violent drive-by through clichéd settings within a ludicrous plot, piloted by a main character that apparently has some undiagnosed form of super-Tourette's syndrome. The gameplay is glitchy and unrefined, the story is weak and one-note, and the hero walks the line between offensive and ridiculous. Jack Thompson would be proud.

Rogue Warrior screenshot

Set in Cold War era USSR and North Korea, Rogue Warrior tells the story of Richard "Demo Dick" Marcinko, a badass, cigar smoking Navy Seal and a fly-by-the-seat of his bayonet 'mission' to stop a Soviet plot to build an anti-air missile defense in order to be able to bomb the USA and leave the States with zero retaliatory capabilities, or some such nonsense. At first, Richie and his two equally tough pals (we can tell they're tough because one of his pals flips the other one off and they're smoking on a transport-since they have no lines) drop into a random field and off a few North Koreans before a grenade wipes out everyone but Dick. Of course, Dick's commander issues an immediate retreat order, but being the rough and tumble guy that he is, he ignores the order and proceeds to stab, choke, shoot, and grenade his way across the border solo and back to the States. Dick eloquently declines with a 'f@%$ that!' The idea itself is a laughable one, though I am told it is based on the real life adventures of Richard Marcinko, so go figure. I am pretty certain the three hours of Commie-killin' would've earned Marcinko a dishonorable discharge at least.

Even with the true life tale of Marcinko and considerable dramatic gravitas of Rourke for inspiration, Rebellion manages to break away from any potential positives and under perform in every conceivable way. The story doesn't promise much considering there are only three speaking characters and one has about four lines, but it delivers on less. Marcinko is the potty-mouthed protag of Rogue Warrior, and the use of out of place obscenities as the only character exposition device in the game makes this a very shallow story, with a character you will beg to forget. Dick comes off as a… well… let's say a jerk. It's this lack of a sincere effort that permeates every aspect of Rogue Warrior. Most of us have played games with thin stories before, or with characters we neither liked nor respected, but rarely both.

Rogue Warrior screenshot

Graphics are not a real bright spot, either. The frame rate drops considerably when there are too many enemies, explosions, fire, or particle effects, etc. on screen. But, even the few palatable textures and effects available are clichéd, borrowed visuals from other games (environments) and are stunted by pop-in. I mean, after four or five decades of coding, you'd think the occasional missile silo, Russian soldier, and the omnipresent 'docks level' would be easy enough to run, especially with the power of the 360 or PS3 behind it. At this stage in the life of the industry, it is unacceptable for a game with eight stages and less than twelve weapons to have all the technical problems Rogue Warrior does.

Screenshots / Images
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