reviews\ Dec 12, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Rogue Warrior - 360 - Review

Dick Marcinko is the type of man who chews nails instead of bubble gum and thinks that taking a stroll into a fortified enemy stronghold filled with armed terrorists is like a nice holiday getaway. He’s the type of Special Forces operative that will take on any mission but disregards his superiors’ orders when they don’t suit his liking. His is the real-life model for Rogue Warrior for the Xbox 360 … a first-person shooter that lacks everything we love about the genre.


In 1986, Dick “Shark Man of the Delta” Marcinko as well as two other special operatives are dropped into enemy territory in Northern Korea looking for a double agent passing Intel from the inside as well as locating and destroying a series of missiles. When a grenade kills his two fellow operatives, Marcinko is on his own as he goes on a communist killing spree. Forget the orders from HQ; he’s going to carry out his mission solo because killing terrorists is what he does best and if he accomplishes the main objective while he’s at it then even better.

Armed with a silenced pistol, a sub machine gun and a few grenades, Marcinko finds himself taking on the Northern Korean army as well as the Russian army in the later missions while attempting to disarm the missiles by running and gunning his way through the environments. The game does add some stealth elements so you can sneak up behind an enemy and press the A button to pull off a number of signature kill moves such as hammering a knife into an enemy’s kidneys a couple of times or simply jabbing said knife into a foe’s skull. You can press against a surface to slip past enemies or to use as cover. Both the kill moves and the cover system change the first-person perspective into a third-person view.

Stealth, however, isn’t a requirement nor will it garner advantages in the game. Even the cover system isn’t helpful and this is mainly because the enemies you face are simply too dumb to the point that you can get away with just blasting your way out of a situation. It shouldn’t be too hard to kill an enemy who hides behind explosive material nor one that tries to hide behind the place where an explosive barrel once stood.


Unfortunately, you’ll be killed a lot too and it’s mainly because the game features poor hit detection. There are times when I made nearly impossible shots with nothing more than an AK47 and then, with the same gun, managed to miss an enemy nearly at pointblank range. I once unloaded an entire clip on two enemies racing towards me only to be the one that died when one of them fired their pistol just once. There were times when I died by my own hand because throwing grenades can be a bit awkward when you’re doing it behind cover.

The game’s level design is also uninspiring with nothing really original to add to the genre. At least the Soldier of Fortune games had ultra violent kills and interesting mission scenarios so Rogue Warrior also disappoint on that front. It becomes impossible to care about Marcinko’s mission when all he does never changes from start to finish. Really, this is one game that feels like it was made in the early 1990s.

There’s also an online multiplayer mode when you’re done playing the single-player campaign but - like the solo game - there’s nothing new here as well. You will find Death Match and Team Death Match for up to eight players but it’s just a by-the-numbers experience that I don’t see gamers wanting to play this for very long or at all for that matter.

Visually, Rogue Warrior isn’t a visual treat either. Sure, most of the characters look really good up close and Marcinko actually does stand out nicely when he’s performing a stealth kill move but that’s about it. The backgrounds and environments lack detail and contain muddy textures that actually make the game look more like an Ok PS2 game. Even the explosions lack some visual punch.


Dick Marcinko hates commies and he’ll let you know it every few seconds with his expletive-laden dialogue spoken by actor Mickey Rourke (of “Sin City” and “The Wrestler” fame). There are many games loaded with profanity but this game simply overdoes it. The music isn’t particularly great either and the sound effects are decent but it’s nothing that really stands out.

Rogue Warrior for the Xbox 360 is a forgettable and completely unoriginal game that, sadly enough, doesn’t do justice to the first-person shooter genre. I simply adore first-person shooters and have seen my share of good ones as well as bad ones but Rogue Warrior is the first game that made me feel the sting of disappointment. Sorry, Bethesda, but I cannot see myself recommending this game to anyone.

Review Scoring Details for Title of Rogue Warrior

Gameplay: 2.0
You get to assume the role of a real SEAL and ant-terrorist specialist with the capability to infiltrate enemy bases without breaking a sweat and that’s a very cool thing indeed. The trouble is that the gameplay is dated and the action is tame thanks to poor enemy AI and uncreative level design.

Graphics: 3.5
Dick Marcinko actually does look good and some of the enemy looks decent enough up close as well … until Marcinko gets a hold of them during stealth kills. Other than that, the backgrounds and visual effects look like they belong on the PlayStation 2.

Sound: 3.0
Listening to Mickey Rourke spout an endless stream of profanity starts off comically enough and then just gets old and annoying really fast. You hate commies, we get it already. The sound of gunfire is handled well and the soundtrack is just so-so, though.  

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
If it wasn’t for the poor hit detection, the game would have been really easy seeing as the enemy is just too dumb to take cover. If they do take cover, they do it behind an explosive barrel or with half their body sticking out.

Concept: 2.0
We have assumed the role of a One-Man-Army before in other first-person shooters but Rogue Warrior doesn’t do anything different or better. The signature kill moves are a nice touch but it doesn’t help make this game better. There’s online multiplayer but it’s a simplistic and unentertaining experience.

Multiplayer: 2.0
I only got to play the online multiplayer Death Match once with the only two players the lobby contained and it was a brief experience since the players got bored very quickly. There’s nothing to the multiplayer matches and I don’t see anyone playing this on Xbox Live very often or at all.

Overall: 2.0
A very disappointing game from start to finish, Rogue Warrior is a game that brings nothing new to the genre nor does it make for a fun first-person shooter worth the money. Simply put, this isn’t just an awful shooter but it’s also a terrible game. Sorry but this is one hero we would like to leave behind.


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