Rogue Warrior

Shellshocking.

Version tested Xbox 360

It's got Mickey Rourke voice-acting. It's got more gratuitous bad language than just about any first-person shooter you've ever experienced. But sadly that's all the good stuff. Rogue Warrior has nothing else of much interest, and the obscenity-littered dialogue that would become its trademark were it memorable enough to deserve one isn't particularly witty anyway.

The Rogue Warrior of the title is real-life SEAL commander Dick Marcinko, upon whose heroics the game is apparently based. Slashing, shooting, blasting and punching his way through North Korea and the Soviet Union during the Cold War era, Marcinko's task is to blow up the Russians' nuclear arsenal, plus their own fully armed and operational Star Wars missile defence shield, all the while ignoring explicit orders to disengage from the pencil-necked bureaucrats at mission control.

In addition to guns, grenades and knives, Marcinko is also armed with an infinite supply of star-spangled F-bombs that he unleashes with gay abandon upon the hated Commie scum, who are, apparently, "cocksuckers".

1

Extreme close-up iron-sights often make it harder to aim since so much of the screen is obscured.

I don't have any real problem with the foul language. Indeed, I was drawn to reviewing this game mostly because of the eighties setting, and the forlorn hope that it might summon up the spirit of the foul-mouthed action movies of that era that I love with a passion. Unfortunately, the dialogue is almost as bad as the "user-generated" variety you typically encounter on Xbox Live, albeit minus the homophobia.

Disappointing obscenities aside, the real problem with Rogue Warrior is content, or more specifically the abject lack of it. On the default difficulty setting the average gamer should be able to complete the game's meagre eight missions with change left from three hours, while FPS veterans should be aiming to polish off the game in just over two. I personally found myself somewhere in the middle, easily vanquishing every mission before elevenses on a Sunday morning, with time for a hearty breakfast and the latest episode of The Thick of It.

2

The game has few weapons and they're poorly balanced. The sniper-rifle in combination with any machine-gun kills the game's challenge.

In a world where the Modern Warfare 2 single-player campaign gets short shrift for its brevity, Rogue Warrior actually offers less gameplay than the average DLC expansion pack and, unbelievably, is being sold as a full-price game - although retailers, perhaps now conscious of their mistake, are discounting the game by over 50 per cent already.

More than that, the actual variety level within the campaign itself is slight to an almost shocking scale. Weapons selection is minimal: a couple of pistols, a small selection of machine-guns, a sniper-rifle and a single shotgun - less than 10 different shooters in total. There's no special equipment, just one type of grenade and that literally is your lot. Mission objectives are similarly bereft of variety, usually taking the form of moving from point A to point B in the dullest fashion imaginable, and placing some explosives en route if you're really lucky.

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