Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger
I imagine that at the outset of design and production for Raven Squad, the team at Atomic Motion sat in a room brimming with excitement. This would be their hit. It would be a perfect marriage of Company of Heroes and Call of Duty — one part real-time strategy and one part first-person shooting. By the end, that same group probably was just happy that the game they made runs without crashing. And that’s about all of the good you can say about Raven Squad: It is possible to play it.
Raven Squad is set deep in the Amazonian jungle. A team of mercenaries is out on a job to retrieve some lost corporate data when their plane is suddenly shot down. Once the group recovers, it finds itself smack-dab in the middle of a civil war. Quite naturally, this group will go on to complete their primary job and then save the day.
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This heroic Raven Squad is broken up into two groups, each comprised of three specialized soldiers. You’ll take up control of them, guiding the two groups through swamps and plantations. The catch is that you can play Raven Squad from either a first-person view or from a satellite view. The action never stops as you switch between the two on the fly, allowing you to tackle the game either as a standard shooter or as a simplified real-time strategy game. If you’re wondering what lies around the next corner, just hit a button and you’ll get an aerial view and some reconnaissance. If you don’t have the reflexes to play a first-person shooter, you can simply direct the two squads around the map and let them do all of the work for you.
Now, that may sound good on paper. The reality of Raven Squad is that the first-person shooting is dreadful and so is the real-time strategy. Just because the two have been combined, it doesn’t magically make the game fun. Instead, you’re left with a crucial decision: Will you tackle Raven Squad as a first-person shooter and suffer through the bad graphics and abysmal enemy AI? Or will you use the overhead view and be oh-so-bored. Or will you just not play Raven Squad at all?
Raven Squad is a shining example of what happens when you don’t hire voice actors. The voice work here is absolutely atrocious. It’s so bad that it’s actually quite funny. The inflection on every sentence is completely off. The accents are all over the place. Even the timing is off. This sound work so epically awful that it is what defines the game. You won’t be able to think of anything else after playing Raven Squad except for how abysmal the voice acting is.
You can switch between a first-person or tactical view at any time.
Then there’s the fact that there are about a dozen levels and each only lasts about 10 or 15 minutes. And since you never leave the Amazon setting, every level looks roughly the same as the last.
There’s an option to play Raven Squad online in a co-op mode where each player takes direct control of just one of the two assault groups. It should come as no surprise that nobody is playing online, so unless you buy two copies and trick a friend into playing with you, this option is worthless
So, let’s sum this bad boy up. Raven Squad has some of the worst graphics around, and even then it doesn’t run smoothly. It combines bad first-person shooting with bad real-time strategy. Voice actors everywhere can point to it as a reason why they deserve paychecks. The writing is amateurish. Oh, and it’ll last you all of one lazy afternoon. Sounds like an early contender for worst game of all eternity.