Rambo: The Video Game (PlayStation 3) Review

By Kyle Henderson 06.06.2014

Review for Rambo: The Video Game on PlayStation 3

Rambo: The Video Game is Teyon's first foray into licensed IP, a developer with a resumé full of mini-game collections and zeitgeist-fuelled bandwagon jumpers. Rambo, the film franchise is a grim exploration of what the Vietnam War did to its most unfortunate survivors. Also, there's loads of violence and swear words. Cubed3 takes a look at this on-rails shooter mash-up of John Rambo's story, no punches pulled.

Come expecting blood, rage and hammy acting with [i}Rambo: The Video Game[/i] and there will be enough to fill 30 minutes before the novelty wears off. Come expecting an enjoyable shooter with fun weapons, interesting set pieces and actual control over the titular character himself, expect disappointment. Teyon seems to have taken such little effort in the development of this game, it is easy to question how it apparently took years to produce. It is abundantly clear in the PS2-era graphics, the shoddy controls, and the lack of any gameplay depth whatsoever, that everybody on this project completely phoned it in.

Start up story mode and the player is launched into a cut-scene featuring a, frankly creepy, mannequin-esque John Rambo escaping from a Vietcong POW camp, killing as many as (super)humanly possible along the way. It quickly introduces the key mechanics - enemies will kindly line up in front of the camera and the player puts them down like so many paper targets. As the massacre grows, a "wrath meter" fills. This allows Rambo to regain some valuable health by entering a slow-motion state, each kill in this state filling up the health bar, chunk by chunk.

Aside from shooting and wrathing, Teyon clearly is not a team to pass up on the latest (or the most outdated) trendy gameplay mechanics because there's a Gears of War style active reload system that works pretty well, as it almost always does in any game, and a rudimentary cover system. These do help to break the monotony of putting down dozens upon dozens of generic soldiers and cops, although the cover system perhaps gave Teyon a bit too much room to ramp the difficulty up. From around the 5th or 6th mission (of a total 16), Rambo will be met with death at almost every turn unless he spends 90% of his time behind cover. Popping his head out is always met with a crazy hail of gunfire, which can easily reduce the health bar to nothing in a matter of seconds. It gets to be very frustrating.

Screenshot for Rambo: The Video Game on PlayStation 3

Continuing the tendency to shoe-horn in the most tired tropes at every opportunity, Teyon also includes a light levelling and perks system. Each mission rewards the player with XP, which, as might be expected, leads to level-ups and then skill points. It is all extremely rote, not a flash of creativity to be found.

On a technical level, too, Teyon has spared every expense. This game looks absolutely awful. The character models all look like action figures desperately trying to break free from a tortuous existence, which may well be intentional, given the source material. Rambo's trademark locks flow down his back like some weird water effect and explosions, gunfire, and so on, all fizzle out like damp squibs. It is astounding that a game of such poor graphical quality could be released in 2014; it sucks any sense of drama or thrill out of a schlocky-but-enjoyable character and story.

The sound, too, leaves a lot to be desired. Rather than re-record lines from the film, with or without the original actors (Stallone would likely run a mile from this project and Richard Crenna, who played Colonel Trautman, passed away in 2003), Teyon has taken the sound tracks from the original releases, seemingly run them through a program to make them sound incredibly tinny and like the characters are about 50 feet away from their bodies, and just carelessly thrown them down on top of their horror film cut-scenes. It is altogether an unsettling experience.

Screenshot for Rambo: The Video Game on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

There is little to recommend about Rambo: The Video Game overall. It does, very occasionally, produce a burst of the most simple, primal enjoyment that anyone can find in shooting digital Vietcong in the face, but every other aspect renders those moments limp. Come expecting the most unsatisfying game likely to release in 2014, leave very happy.


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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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