Review: Raven Squad

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Simply advancing to the next generation of hardware doesn’t necessarily mean that everything else will improve alongside it. Terrible movies made with megabucks still get out to theaters, anyone without two notes to rub together can still market themselves on MySpace in the hopes of landing a contract, and awful games occasionally land on shelves before the eyes of an unsuspecting audience.

Raven Squad’s ideas sound good on the back of its box in blending both FPS and RTS elements together to create what could be a solid take on mercenary-led firepower in a hot zone. After all, that’s one of the things that made Rainbow Six such fun on the PC for many would-be commanders. Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter would also get into the act with its Cross Com tactical overview and squad command system which made anyone feel like an operator sitting somewhere deep within Langley before switching into the head of one of their own in the field.

With that kind of history already out there, Raven Squad seemed like it would be built atop the shoulders of giants. The bad news is that Raven Squad would manage to break that formula on every level.
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Stop it with the horrible voice acting. Please.

Bad voice acting isn’t a new problem, but the depths at which it can sink can always surprise even jaded players like myself that thought they had heard everything. Sitting down with a game shouldn’t also require torture to the ears, but with the Xbox 360 game, Raven Squad, I have no choice if I want to finish it. Even if you had Tarantino onboard to write up some snappy dialogue, having someone with the pulse of an ice cube delivering the lines is just as bad as pulling the text off of a cereal box instead.

Seriously developers, if you can’t afford decent voice acting and feel that you have to do something like draft your local office personnel or familial relations “that think it would be easy and cool”, chances are, it will be a bad idea. Honestly, I’m not sure if that is what happened with Raven Squad, but I heard that it was what happened with another game, Chaos Wars.

If you have no choice but to go that route anyway, I would suggest spending some of your budget on acting lessons to ensure that your actors can properly pronounce words like “evac”, “tango”, and “beach”. There’s also something called “emotion”, too, that I heard makes a big difference between simply reading the script and getting into character. I heard actors sometimes do that.

But if you did hire actual actors and they turn out to be terrible, sending them back to acting school might not be a bad idea anyway.