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Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear Review


Finally, a game as dull as his books!

Aboard the hijacked oil rig, I watch as my Red team scurries off to get their fill of the Japanese killin'. I wish them luck, but I know they're all doomed. If you scraped all their IQs together you wouldn't have enough points to win a baseball game, much less exterminate the octagonally-headed scoundrels we're up against. I'd normally have a good laugh out of the Red team's certain fate, but then I look back at my Blue team; the same idiots as those on the Red team, except these idiots are supposed to have my back once the ka-ka gets thick.

As we march down the gangway I'm tempted to turn and shoot my compatriots. Not because they're evil, but just to allow them some indignation in their deaths, and grant them the possibility that if they had lived, maybe they would have killed something.

While I finish this grim thought I'm jolted by what must surely be an enemy bullet, since my troops seem to be even more anti-violent than Jesus. My vision turns red for a moment as I sidestep out of the way and hide behind some boxes.

According to my health indicator, I'm half dead. Does this mean that my left half just got completely blown off? Maybe I'm this little, legless G.I. stump now, and none of my guys are telling me that my better half is all over their fatigues and the deck because the macabre violence has hopelessly damaged their fragile little minds.

Or maybe I'm just playing a stupid video game called Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear that totally sacrifices cool gameplay and violence for "realistic" features, yet still for some reason hangs onto colored health indicators.

Rogue Spear is something like ninety percent cool customization and nifty little features and ten percent sloppy, slow action. I guess I've just never been an accessory kinda guy, which is why I don't click with R6:RS.

At the beginning of each mission you're briefed by some lady who gives you the basic scenario. This is the "story" part of the game. It usually lasts about 3 seconds for each mission. While there is eventually some tie-in between missions, RS's dramatic development makes a Pokemon cartoon seem like Hamlet. I bite my thumb at thee, wimpy plot.

No lack of story would be complete without a lack of characters. While there are dozens of agents to choose from when selecting your team, none of them bear any significance to the game beyond their statistics (i.e. sniping ability, explosives, stealth). So why include so many characters when they're all exactly the same? Well, because Rogue Spear is realistic, so when agents die, you can't use them anymore. Instead you've got to use their identical carbon copy! Whoa, now that is some sophisticated realism.

After selecting your players you get to outfit them. Literally. Not only do you get to equip them with what is possibly the coolest weapon selection of any game ever (there are five different types of MP5 navy! Holy cow!), but you actually get to dress them! To hell with all this violence stuff! Who wants to kill when you can play G.I. Joe dress-up!?

After spending a half an hour choosing your guys and their clothes, you get into the meatier stuff: the mission planning. At this point in the game the shortcomings of the DC controller really start to become apparent. As opposed to flying over the mission map and setting waypoints for your team to follow, you've gotta select all number of buttons from the planning screen and then unselect some other ones and the whole thing becomes a very tedious, insipid process.

Finally, after about an hour of dressing and coordinating and primping and other BS you get to the meat of the game, the action. You've spent all this time setting up a killer mission, and you're ready to go...and the action portion of this game turns out to be as exciting as watching golf. You can't jump, you can't duck without pressing four other buttons first, almost every shot is a one shot kill so it doesn't matter which gun you use, and you move extremely slowly.

Coordinating your teams while in action mode is damn near impossible, since it takes forever to issue a command, and by that time everyone has been killed. Now, keep in mind that this would all be rectified if you had a DC keyboard and mouse, but chances are that you don't, in which case you should not touch this game.

The enemy AI is astonishingly good, considering how stupid and useless your teammates are. There's not much room for intelligence in this game, but to their credit the enemies do a great job of killing hostages and your teammates.

Outside of the regular campaigns, you can play practice missions and deathmatches. The practice missions basically allow you to play any mission you've played through before without affecting your saved game. While it's nice that you can play through any mission you've completed whenever you want, it's not helpful at all. There's no reason to get any better at missions you've already beaten, because they're not much fun (despite the fact that you've already beaten them)!

Rogue Spear's multiplayer capabilities encompass two to four players on one mission simultaneously or your standard deathmatch. The multi-player campaign is definitely an improvement over the single player, though the deathmatch is nothing new.

Rogue Spear's graphics are unimpressive with boring, featureless backgrounds and poorly defined enemies. The animations in general are fluid, but the death sequences (I bring them up specifically because walking and dying are about all anybody visibly does in this game) aren't violent enough. If I didn't know better I'd think the enemies were having heart attacks as opposed to being ripped up by my hell-spewing Bullpup assault rifle.

The sound effects are also boring. The voices are clear, but the firing effects sound awfully synthetic, and the walking samples are too plain and gritty.

This game might have been a hot item on the PC, but it suffers greatly in the port. In every phase of the game the controls are cumbersome and unnatural, the strategy elements are too hampered by realistic pretexts, and the action portion of the game is too limited. Die-hard R6ers might get a kick out of it, but I don't recommend it to newbies unless you're just itchin to play dress up with some big bad army men.

C- Revolution report card
  • Tons of guns
  • Realism
  • In exchange for "fun"
  • Play sacrificed for planning
  • Planning interface sucks
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