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Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger (Xbox 360) artwork

Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger (Xbox 360) review


"Itís a shame in many ways, because the idea the entire game heavily relies upon is so simplistically brilliant that Iíve no idea how no oneís made a killer video game from it before. Imagine your average RTS, then imagine that, instead of watching your controllable troops duke it out in static battles via a camera fitted high up in the sky, you could instead jump into their very heads and take the fight on yourself. Thatís the big idea behind Atomic Motionís new multi-talented squad based shooter but, unfortunately, all the brave idea has given rise to is the ability to drop the ball on two separate fronts."





In getting this down on paper, Iím going to feel mean, but Raven Squad is the bastard lovechild of a half-arsed RTS and a shoddy FPS. One raised under powerlines and force fed a stable diet of lead-based paint chips.

Itís a shame in many ways, because the idea the entire game heavily relies upon is so simplistically brilliant that Iíve no idea how no oneís made a killer video game from it before. Imagine your average RTS, then imagine that, instead of watching your controllable troops duke it out in static battles via a camera fitted high up in the sky, you could instead jump into their very heads and take the fight on yourself. Thatís the big idea behind Atomic Motionís new multi-talented squad based shooter but, unfortunately, all the brave idea has given rise to is the ability to drop the ball on two separate fronts.



Move past the limping tutorial stages, and the game plays out with control over two groups of three, tasked with the usual jungle warfare objectives and a cheesy narration from a disembodied Asian accent clearly voiced by someone whoís not of Asian descent. Raven Squad suffers perhaps the most in areas like this, offering up the kind of voice acting so bad that it regularly (and by complete accident) stumbles back and forth between the line that divides hilariously bad and ear-bleedingly bad, like a homeless guy clutching a drained bottle of spirits. The graphics look like they belong two generations of consoles ago; the controls for the FPS sections are clumsy and over-sensitive. The AIís only opinions are stay rooted to the spot and be shot, or run around, seemingly aimlessly, until you manage to coax your butter-coated firearm into locking on to the poor buggers, and put them out of their misery.

Itís almost heartbreaking to watch the genuinely good ideas get dog piled by poor implementation. Each of the six mercs under your control have equally abrasive and clichť personalities, but they also have specialist skills that set them all apart. The gung-ho Vin Diesel-esque leader who wonít ever shut up about blowing all his money in Las Vegas can whip out a huge heavy machinegun for suppressive fire, while his burly friends can produce a rocket launcher to take out enemy vehicles or grenades to obliterate obstacles. These skills work well in tandem -- and then you start to use the second group, headed up by a cocky Australian with access to a sniper rifle. To accent his long range capabilities, his team-mates are outfitted withÖ smoke and flash grenades. And the throwing ability of a small girl.



Heartbreaking, because the blueprints exist beneath half an acre of sludge for a good title, but itís a bridge too far for the Hungarian developerís first release. Every aspect of the game feels like its been ambitiously but hurriedly slapped together from an outdated source engine at home, then voiced by random passersby who couldnít care less.

Rating: 2/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (October 19, 2009)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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zippdementia posted October 19, 2009:

A terrible game in 498 words. Man, I've heard this game just sucks.
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EmP posted October 19, 2009:

I hope its used as a stepping stone to transplant the idea into a better game but, as is, it's impossible to recommend.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 19, 2009:

See, I can leave you feedback for this because this is only like two paragraphs long. =D

I suppose the review does its job well enough. I mean, I get that the voice acting blows, the graphics blow, the AI blows and pretty much everything else about it blows. However, it still feels lacking; like it could've used examples or something. Still, I know you're rushed with everything you need to do, and really, if you dom't have much to say about a game, then you don't have much to say about a game. lol Sometimes it's better to just go short and leave it at that. It still functions well enough as is.

Haha. I am curious to see what your Brevity title will be. I still think it's hilarious that this just happened to come out as short as it did.

Anyway, back to work for me! I need to have this paper done by Wednesday and I have barely a page. Awesome!
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Masters posted April 26, 2011:

Sweet short review, Emp.

I always wondered about this game. I wonder no longer.

I think you meant "implementation" in this sentence:

Itís almost heartbreaking to watch the genuinely good ideas get dog piled by poor implication.
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EmP posted April 26, 2011:

Thanks for that catch, Marc. I only went back to this review the other day to try and bulk it out with the screens, so it's funny you fell upon it now. Good timing -- and thanks for reading.
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SamildanachEmrys posted September 05, 2011:

I've only just read this, because I saw the game on sale for next to nothing. Pretty good review. Although it's short, I think in this case there was no need for it to be longer.

One gripe though: two generations ago? Really? Really?

http://tinyurl.com/3gpt83v

It may look rubbish, but it doesn't look PS1 levels of rubbish. (People declaring that something looks "last gen" when it clearly doesn't is a pet peeve of mine.)
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EmP posted September 05, 2011:

I was about to say that seeing the game in motion (especuially the FPS sections; admitedly, the overhead strat section isn't as bad) is exactly what I said it was, and to keep in mind that most screens on the 'net are those issued by the developers in a view to make their game look its very best, but that screen works just as well. There are better looking PSX games than the screen you posted.

The last PSX game I played was C-12. I can say, hand on heart, it's a better looking game than Raven Squad.
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SamildanachEmrys posted September 05, 2011:

Reaaaaaaaally?

C12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvH967MQ6ec

Raven Squad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KS6NbuqO8M

I really don't see it.

Anyway, that's beside the point. Good review. :p
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EmP posted September 05, 2011:

If this is a clever ploy to get me to reply C-12, well, it's kinda working.

I wonder where it is...

EDIT: I still sometimes make fun of that line from the opening:

"What am I facing?"

"CYBORGS! And! ALIENS!"

Oh my.
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wolfqueen001 posted September 05, 2011:

Aha! I'm onto you. You can't fool me. =P

I may reread this now that you put pics in. But then, maybe not. xP

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