Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger

Publisher: Evolved Games, South Peak Interactive

Developer: Atomic Motion
Format: Xbox 360, PC

Available: Now

A clever mix or strategy and shooting sounds impressive, but sadly the game isn’t.

 

PMUK Blog Raven Squad


There’s nothing that depresses me more than when I load up a game and am greeted with a cheesy military-style theme. Random text chattering along the bottom of the screen, satellite photos of empty fields, the words ‘mission directives’ instead of a simple ‘options’, a grave voiceover taking about a mission gone bad. All these little gimmicks make my heat sink to its lowest depths. So imagine my delight when I loaded up Raven Squad, and was greeted with every single lazy gimmick in the book. Ah well, here we go…

If you’re not a fan of derogatory reviews (such as this), I’ll just sum this game up now and save you the reading. It’s appalling. It plays poorly, the graphics are very average, the AI is atrocious, the mapping and sign-posting is muddled and the whole package stinks. Done, don’t buy this game. But as I’ve got another 316 words to fill, I might as well dig a bit deeper into this steaming heap of a game. Let’s focus on the one good (I say good) feature for which Raven Squad can be praised.

Raven Squad is supposed to be a bright, highly technical strategy game that employs the use of both FPS aspects and birds eye strategy elements. For instance, during gameplay you can change your viewpoint from the characters you are controlling (you can interchange between players in your squad during play) to a view from above. In this mode you can scroll the landscape and plot which course you need to employ in order to most effectively take out your enemies; or at least that’s the idea. Although none of what I’ve just described is actually as good as I’ve made out, it’s still a clever system, and one that will surely be picked up and put to better use in another game in the future.

PMUK Blog RavenSquad 1But as I say, Raven Squad is dreadful, and should be avoided for a whole bunker-full of reasons. But probably the most notable is the laugh out loud AI- which are just thick beyond the realms of belief. In a game that is supposed to be designed around intelligent gameplay, why is the AI brain dead? For instance, if you were to hide behind a corner, out of enemy fire, your team-mates will stand directly behind you and either shoot you in the back of the skull, fire round after round into a wall, or just get blown to pieces. Also, when you try to shoot the enemy, chances are you’ll miss, as the aim has a mind of its own. And have I mentioned the voice acting? I don’t know if it’s just my iPod abused hearing, but I swear the central character (who’s white) is voiced by a black man. It’s like Edward Norton speaking with Lawrence Fishburn’s voice; very spooky.

Raven Squad has a brilliant concept at its core, and that should never be forgotten. But apart from that, everything else is appalling. If you want a tight, tactical shooter, that’s not pre-school thick or poorly crafted, then get any of the Rainbow six series, or Operation Flashpoint 2. Just leave this well alone.

Presentation: 10/20
Story: 5/20

Controls: 9/20.
Gameplay: 5/20.
Durability: 4/20

 

Overall: 33/100

 

Scott Tierney

 

 

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