|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Atomic Motion||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Evolved Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 25, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Difficulty is another sticking point. Even at the higher levels, this is a rather easy game. In a way this is good, however; at the few points where it's challenging, it's more annoying than anything else. When your teammates start collapsing, you spend more time reviving them than anything else, and if you have to stand in the open to do it, the morons just follow you and get gunned down too. There's apparently no limit to the revivals, either, so unless all six of your guys die, you can go on sticking needles into downed bodies ad infinitum.
The graphics are a mixed bag. It's certainly no Gears of War, and the facial animations are truly terrible (perhaps to complement the voice acting?), but some of the environments, vehicles, and visual effects are fairly impressive. It seems a decent amount of time went into creating this game world, which is a bit of a shame given how unplayable the title is.
The story here, involving mercenaries sent into the Amazonian jungle to do, um, mercenary stuff, is more an excuse to shoot things than anything. Given the tale's presentation by lifeless drones, it probably wouldn't have mattered if Shakespeare had written the plot, so it's just as well that no one bothered to come up with any elaborate twists and turns.
Unfortunately, there's no Vs. multiplayer mode; the RTS-FPS blend could have been really interesting against multiple live opponents. There is an online and system link co-op mode in which each player controls a squad. We didn't manage to match up with anyone (we can't imagine why), but we presume this takes away what little strategy there was. Without the need to direct the other squad, both of you can probably just run around in FPS mode shooting stuff.
Those who buy the game instead of renting it will be irritated that there's only four or five hours' worth of campaigning to do here, and no real reason save a few lame unlockables to replay anything. Maybe the powers that be thought a $10 break (Raven Squad costs $50 instead of the usual $60) was a real favor to consumers, but that still goes far beyond what four hours of even a good game are worth.
When it comes right down to it, Raven Squad starts with a brilliant concept and doesn't bother to flesh it out into a fun or compelling game. It's practically a gift to competing developers. In that regard all it lacks is a note reading, "Here's a template for a hybrid FPS-RTS; do something useful with it, because we don't feel like it."
CCC Freelance Writer