Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Raven Squad

2:00 PM on 09.07.2009 // Jim Sterling

The medium of interactive entertainment is full of good ideas that, for some reason or another, never realized their full potential. Either the required budget just wasn't there, pressure from publishers restricted development, or the studio itself was simply incapable of making a good game. Quite where the reasons for Raven Squad's failure lie is not something I am going to speculate upon. I have my share of theories, though. 

Raven Squad is a good idea. It's a unique blend of first-person-shooter and real-time-strategy where two separate genres work together in tandem to create one cohesive experience that can be played any way the player chooses. It's a good idea. It's a great idea, in fact. 

So why is the game so bloody awful? Read on to find out.

Raven Squad (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PC)
Developer: Atomic Motion
Publisher: Southpeak Games/Evolved Games
Released: Out now
MSRP: $49.99

Raven Squad is both a first-person-shooter and a real-time-strategy. It's two games rolled into one, with the player able to switch between both styles of play at any time. Save for a few select moments where players are forced into one particular game type, the game can essentially be played from beginning to end as either an FPS or RTS, or things can be switched up depending on what the situation calls for.

As an experiment, Raven Squad is a success. The game deserves a golf clap for marrying two completely unrelated genres together and creating a game that is both cohesive and very playable. Being able to switch between both a first-person and overhead perspective should be a confused mess, but the developers surprisingly did quite well in this regard. The FPS controls are a little awkward and unlike what most shooter fans will be used to (mapping reloads to the bumper button is ludicrous and using special abilities in RTS mode is bemusing), but the control scheme is surprisingly simple for the most part and it's actually very convenient to be able to zoom out and see the lay of the land in RTS mode, planning a course of action to perform in FPS mode. 

The trouble is that while Raven Squad successfully married an FPS to an RTS, it didn't marry a good FPS to a good RTS. Both the first-person shooting and real-time strategics are sub-par at best. The game is a slow and dull affair, regardless of the perspective, with both gametypes playing like something dredged up out of the nineties, completely ignoring any advancements made since the days of Command & Conquer or Quake. Just because the overall premise of the game is unique, that didn't give the developers an excuse to make the individual parts sub-standard. Unfortunately this is what happened, and so Raven Squad's good idea is spoiled by the fact that it was used to stick two very below-average games together. 

Both the enemy and ally A.I are horrible. Your squadmates will sometimes just run into danger without a care in the world, ignoring your orders, and commanding them in RTS mode can be astounding in terms of how badly they carry out commands.

At one point, I directed a squad to blow up some explosive barrels. Rather than do the smart thing and stay at a safe distance, the squad shot the barrels while practically standing on top of them, killing themselves in the process. Your soldiers are completely ineffectual fighters in RTS mode, and give you no backup when you take control of one of them in FPS mode. They won't complete objectives on their own, they won't revive fallen allies unless directed in RTS mode (which they will do twice as slowly for some reason), and they won't get into cover or obey any rules of self-preservation. 

What's worse, the game completely loses its mind toward the end of the game. In the latter chapters, Raven Squad becomes a clusterfuck as the entire squad dies at checkpoints for no reason whatsoever, or allies randomly glitch a mile away from the rest of the team and get themselves killed. The more the game goes on, the less sense it makes, and the more frustrating it becomes trying to corral wandering comrades and fight dogging enemies that wander around with very little purpose. 

Players take control of two squads, an Assault and Infiltration unit, although there's no real difference between them outside of each member's weapon and special ability. Having an Infiltration unit is useless because the enemy AI is so spotty that they'll usually see you from miles away or simply know that you're there for no reason at all. The weapon variety is quite cool, but ultimately having two squads to command just makes the experience twice as annoying, especially when your frail soldiers constantly die and require badly placed medkits. 

Oh, and if everyone dies, you have to hear a horribly boring mission brief over and over while the game enjoyes an unjustifiably long load time. 

Raven Squad is horribly made in every area of development. Graphically, it's incredibly poor, with bad animation that glitches frequently, sparse environments, and character models that should never be seen in a supposedly current-generation game. As if to punctuate how bad the production values are, the voice actors sound like friends of the developers, if not the developers themselves. They barely manage to beat out the voice actors from the original Resident Evil in terms of bizarre inflection and making each line sound inappropriate and nonsensical. I'm also fairly certain that some of the accents used in the game could qualify as borderline racist, too.

The industry is indeed full of good ideas that never realized their full potential, and Raven Squad is certainly that. With how poorly put together the whole experience is, I doubt this particular game ever had a chance to be anything resembling a halfway decent title. Despite the success of the overall premise, the dismayingly poor quality of the individual elements ruin any sense of accomplishment and amount to a staggering failure of a finished product. If indeed a game this underwhelming could be considered "finished." 

Just another ruined idea to throw on the ever-increasing pile. Not even the fact that one of the lines includes the term, "Satan's little piss-pot," could save this. 

Score: 3.0 -- Poor (3s went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice the game has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.)

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO. Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho.
TheGwailo avatarTheGwailo
I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Some Black Friday artwork arrived today ! [img][/img]
Lawman avatarLawman
Black Friday is getting to me. All these games I kinda, maybe want that are at anywhere between respectable and deep discounts, but I'm not sure if I want to bite. I'm wondering if Godzilla's worth $12? After checking review scores, I'm not sure.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Mission complete![IMG][/IMG]
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Black Friday slowly seems to creep its way onto Continental Europe, but I'm not complaining! I managed to get my grubby little paws on a new physical copy of The Wonderful 101 for €20! Thanks, America!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Since I missed yesterday, I am going to do something a little different today. Are there any questions you would like to ask me for a change? If so, please feel free. I may add a second Community Question later today, as well.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Isn't PES 2016 Free-to-Play model just the demo with extra crap thrown in?
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Damn Gumo, you cold as fuck. [img][/img]
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
While partially responsible for one of the biggest jokes in the metal, Cold Lake by Celtic Frost, Curt Bryant is doing the soundtrack to the game Slain!. I'm digging the shitty garage band vibe.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
How is the Lightening thread STILL GETTING COMMENTS!?!?!? P.S. I am trying to make Chex Mix, but we lost my special recipe I custom designed. sucks man.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Got a deal on a Surface Pro 3 model that I wanted. Now I just need a deal on a PS TV in Canada and I'm golden.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you in the UK, don't have a PS4 and don't mind buying used/display goods there's a few reconditioned PS4 (12 month warranty) on amazon for £199.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
my dilemma this black friday is a PS4 for bloodborne and little else or like half the games on my steam wishlist. I know in my heart which one I'm going to pick.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
"You had all the lasagna you could ever eat, yet you kept going!" "This isn't about the lasagna anymore, Jon, and I didn't come this far just to quit! Tonight, I'm making sure my name will go down in history!"
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got DeSu2 Break Record from GS' Black Friday sale ($29.99). Love the Arrange CD. It's been far too long since I heard Meguro do something that wasn't tied to Persona. Also grabbed an extra copy of Freedom Wars since they were $5.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -