Bethesda have been pretty stealthy with the game they are publishing for Rebellion, not only have we not seen any pre-release gameplay footage but post release things have gone a tad quiet for a game which features the vocal talents of Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke (Sin City, The Wrestler and numerous other voice acting roles). Why should Bethesda keep quiet about Rogue Warrior, why should they only show off a CGI trailer rather than actual gameplay footage, perhaps there is a reason, the game is rubbish and pales in comparison to the recent killer apps that have appeared in the last few months. Possibly Rogue Warrior is a step back in time and not worth shouting about, or has all the budget been spent on hiring Mr Rourke?
There’s really not much you can say about the gameplay here other than there’s a healthy slice of stealth based gameplay fused with action moments – i.e when the proverbial poop hits the ever spinning fan. You play as hard nosed character Demo Dick, yes that’s right a proper dick and one that has enough swear words to make even the most vocal of video game characters blush, well not exactly. Dick rides into the North Korean setting and as his unit is killed, as the lone survivor is looking for payback. In fact there are some literary works based around the character, which might give greater insight into what Rebellion were portraying here, yet for most gamers they are bound to see the usual atypical foul mouthed character who’s all brawn and no brains.
So, from the offset you’re introduced to the main game mechanics which other than shooting from your infinite ammo silenced pistol is to sneak around the ever so linear levels and perform special kills on the unsuspecting. Sounds fun, and to a degree it is, but the reality is that there’s little challenge as most of the stealth elements are as scripted as they come. Cue the guard that just so happens to be standing there with his back to you ad infinitum. The special kill moves are a joy to watch though, albeit can get a little tiring after you’ve seen the all, yet at the same time the switch to a third person view does add a cinematic flavour and looks good despite some flawed animations. There are some neat tricks to employ as well to tip the already in your favour odds to your advantage. Where applicable you can shoot out lights and have the enemies guess where you’re coming from – although once again this feels very scripted indeed.
You’ve got the usual assortment of weaponry to unleash on the not so intelligent soldiers, and if you’re as happy shooting from the hip with a shotgun as you are staring down the scope of a sniper rifle, then you’ll feel right at home here. The shooting, is merely ‘O.K’ and does the job, but feels a little loose and uneventful, especially when combine with some rather poor animations. In fact on one occasion enemies actually turned into ghosts and disappeared entirely which is something you don’t see every day.
The graphics look semi decent on the small screen, with some decent lighting in some levels. But the daytime areas really do show off a lack of detail with some very low resolution textures being used. There’s an almost last gen feel to the game, with one embassy snow level being reminiscent of a level in Hitman, no not Blood Money, the original. As mentioned, the animations are poor with the only saving grace being the kill moves which are frankly a simple press of the ‘A’ button and nothing more.
Ahh, Mickey Rourke. He’s got the right tone but sadly the script he’s been given makes him sound more like a brain-dead foul mouthed yob more than anything. Perhaps you’ll warm to the numerous number of times he says “Fu**” but for some this might simply become a one trick horse. The rest of the game’s sound is pretty standard fare.
Rogue Warrior features few levels that can be beaten in literally a few hours play with the intention that you’ll play again on a different difficulty to get the associated achievement (no they don’t stack). However, the game screams rental period, and perhaps you might not feel inclined to play through the game multiple times due to the sheer lack of imagination used throughout. Sadly the inclusion of an online multiplayer is moot because with big hitters dominating the online scene at the moment, you won’t find anyone to play with in this game, making it a moot point. With no split screen or system link available you might as well reside yourself to the rather brief single player, and that’s if you can stomach any more of Demo Dick!
There’s a reason why Bethesda have kept quiet with this game and quite frankly it’s because it’s under par. There are some neat ideas such as the kill moves, the stealth and a protagonist who is laughable for the wrong reasons; but overall your enjoyment of the game is going to be somewhat muted due to a lack of ambition and polish. Poor graphics, bad animations and a shooting mechanic that doesn’t feel quite right coupled with some terrible glitches make for a forgettable experience. This game can only be recommended if you’re a fan of Dick or just plain bored of the far better games that are available at the moment.