Europeans, pretending to be Americans, shooting South Americans. Works for Arnie, Dolph and Jean-Claude, so why not Hungarian devs Atomic Motion? They drop six mercs in the Amazon, armed with enough cliche to level a small country. It’s tacky stuff, worsened by truly abysmal vocal performances – these actors sure aren’t American. We’re not sure they’re even human...
Mechanically, however, it’s far from cliched. The pitch: FPS or RTS – you decide. At a press of a button the camera yanks from first-person gunning to a magical sky observatory. Up here you survey the field, pinpoint enemies and coordinate two teams of three men. Perhaps RTS is overselling it; in practice, strategy is little more than ‘go there’ and ‘shoot him’ – closer to the immortal Cannon Fodder than anything else.
Considering the 360’s sketchy RTS track record perhaps this is a good thing. Underwhelming as they sound, the two three-man teams strike a good balance between ease of control (the d-pad neatly summons each merc’s special skill) and tactical application. Normally you’d need 14 perfectly coordinated fingers to scamper squads between cover as buddies lay down suppressing fire; it’s a pleasant surprise to see Raven Squad handling it so confidently.
Up above, all the badass chit-chat makes sense. Flushing out drug lords with a grenade, only to eat them up with minigun fire is the stuff of our wildest Predator dreams. Drop down to FPS, however, and badass becomes plain old ass. Rancid visuals see jungle grow before your eyes. Enemies land impossible shots. And, without your watchful eye, the six meatheads become helpless babies. You sacrifice so much control in FPS mode it’s hard to see why they even included it.
It doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, but what 80s action flick does? Avoid the front row seats and Raven Squad is a fun, if wonky, curio.
Aug 25, 2009