There are times when you may encounter some games that are not just inferior in quality, but also questionable in how it came to be in the first place. There are more ways for games to be made these days, so just about anyone with a harebrained idea and enough programming chops can churn out a series of interactive sequences to create what could be called a video game. That is sadly the case with this Rambo game, something that was tagged on Steam as “sylvester stallone is spinning in his grave”.
Rambo: The Video Game is an first-person rail shooter for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. That all by itself should give a clue as to what this game is all about, which is a light gun game without a light gun. It was developed by a Polish company called Teyon, which is a studio that most would not have heard of, but they have actually made tons of titles for multiple platforms and maybe some would recognize their Heavy Fire series. Unfortunately, the rest are mostly shovelware of no merit whatsoever, so coming out with a game out of such a notable franchise as Rambo is something that would get them noticed, but the gameplay and presentation serve to fail them.
It’s not entirely buggy and screwed up like Ride to Hell: Retribution, but that’s just because it’s not easy to mess up a rail shooter. There is no movement on your part whatsoever since all you have to do is aim and shoot like it’s Time Crisis. But then again, Time Crisis is more dynamic than this game since that arcade game has a pretty good cover system that has stood the test of time. This Rambo game is just moving the mouse or stick around and clicking to shoot the bad guys on screen, while you can use the PlayStation Move on the PS3.
The visuals do quite enough to put people off, with Sylvester Stallone looking rather diseased and his Rambo mane forming a black scraggly blob on his head that moves in a strange pattern courtesy of bad hair physics. Everything else on screen, whether in the menus or in gameplay, seems generic and dated right from the get-go. The gun models take up a good portion of the right side of the screen, which seems like a good way to cover up blemishes on most of the visuals (“hiding the crimes” as it’s called in the industry).
Turns out that the publisher Reef Entertainment had acquired the rights to making a Rambo game back in August 2011. They promised a 2012 release, but ultimately didn’t make it. So this game is about 2 years late, and given to a developer that couldn’t give it the quality and polish that the Rambo name deserved. There are cutscenes in between the blood-curdling gameplay, and the voice work does sound quite off, but oddly familiar. Both Sylvester Stallone and Richard Crenna reprise their roles in this game, but it couldn’t be Crenna voicing Col. Trautman since he passed away back in 2003.
It turns out that they got rights to the audio track of the movies and used that to dub over the cutscenes, so it would mean that this game has roughly the same story as the movie. But during combat sequences, all you really do is click on the enemies, so you have nothing much to work with other than yell with one side of your mouth open to simulate being John Rambo mowing everyone down. There is indeed a great disconnect between story and gameplay, and that really hammers the lack of immersion.
If you watch the movies first, then perhaps you can save yourself by not playing this game to savor the goodness. If you play this game before watching the movies, then you may get put off from the Rambo franchise by it, especially if you’ve never seen them before. If you did the latter, then please don’t get discouraged since the first three Rambo movies are fun cinematic experiences that you can share with family and friends, so long as you’re above age of consent.
This game though might as well be unfit for any age. Such a shallow and unintelligible gameplay experience for $40 tops on Steam. It may sound like blasphemy, but The Expendables 2 game is actually a level better than this, and that was also a pretty bad game.
Perhaps for a lot of bad games, it’s their badness that gives them character, like in classic titles such as Superman 64 and the Zelda CDi games. This one though is just bland all the way through and was just churned out for whatever profits it can shovel in. Even if you see this on sale, pass it up.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 2/10