Review

Rambo: The Video Game Review

  • Game release: February 21, 2014
  • Reviewed: February 26, 2014
  • X360

Off the rails.

by

Rambo is an icon of masculinity. The testosterone-flooded film series that began with First Blood in the '80s has given us the term "going Rambo" anytime someone decides to take on insurmountable challenges in a video game. And for the first time in many years, we have a video game that lets you inhabit the role of John Rambo.

Developer Teyon could have done a lot of things with Rambo: The Video Game. With all of the tools available today, a veritable sandbox could have been made of the jungles of Vietnam and the city of Hope, Washington. But Teyon didn't do that. It made Rambo a rail shooter that leads you through its levels by the nose, letting you instead focus on hovering your targeting reticle over the bad guys and gunning them down. Headshots are worth more, in terms of both damage and point values, and the game encourages you to kill as much as fast as you can. Kill streaks multiply your score and increase the multiplier based off how rapidly you kill. From moment to moment, the action is simple but frantic, inviting you to set aside your expectations of what a Rambo video game should be, and enjoy it for what it is.

Gun 'em down.

"I'm here to talk to you about a man who killed dozens. John Rambo. And it's good that he's dead."

These are the words you hear at the funeral that launches the game. From there, you play a flashback mission as the war hero John Rambo in Vietnam, guns ablazin' as you attempt to escape being a prisoner of war. Here you discover the game's cover system, which allows you to take cover in three different directions at any given time, leaving you exposed to some foes while shielded from others depending on the direction you take. It's a step up from the arcade limitation that typically leaves you with "in cover" or "shooting" as your only options. The mission also introduces you to the wrath bar, and Wrath mode, which enables you to regain your health and get back to going Rambo by killing as many enemies as possible before the bar depletes.

Which is worse, shaving dry or dull quick-time events?

After war, regular life just isn't the same. Rambo is thrown into jail by the sheriff of Hope, Washington. But it's not prison that makes his life hell. It's quick-time events. As the bully deputies attempt to shave Rambo with a straight razor, he rebels and escapes through a series of nothing but properly timed button presses. The quick-time events in the game offer more points if you press them with proper timing, but mostly act as a boring and clichéd way to add interactivity to cinematic events.

Throughout the remainder of the first chapter of story missions, you're encouraged to avoid killing your foes, because simply disarming them gives bonus points. After all, those are American citizens you're shooting at, soldier! By the end of the chapter, you find yourself sympathizing with poor mass-murdering John Rambo, because he really didn't mean to hurt anyone. Well, apart from those Vietcong. After taking down the sheriff standing in your way of a normal life, you finally earn the peace and quiet you wanted all along. Back in prison, again!

The story does follow the movie series' plotlines, with major stages and events hewing as close as possible to the source material while still under the guise of a video game. (Forgetting, of course, that Mr. Rambo was not the killing machine pop culture has made him out to be.) Of course, since Stallone wasn't available to do voice acting for the game, Teyon decided to instead use sound bites directly from the movies. This causes the volume levels of different cinematics to vary wildly. Coupled with the game's atrocious graphics, Rambo is a painful experience for the eyes and ears, with only the limited but excellent soundtrack rising above the ugliness. The somber brass of the main menu and funeral scene, the melodic strings that tie the plot together, and the upbeat tracks that fuel the explosive carnage of combat are perfectly at home and enjoyable to listen to in their own right.

Complete challenges to unlock new guns? I'm in.

In addition to the contextual directional cover system, there are well-placed explosive barrels, good incentives for proper aim over spraying and praying, and enough challenge in (some of) the missions to keep this generally easy game from being a complete cakewalk. Luckily, there's also a higher difficulty setting, and a one- to three-star-based scoring system that encourages you to always do better than the time before. And if that weren't enough, the game offers specific objectives to shoot for in the hopes of earning a brand-new shiny gun to wield as a secondary weapon.

If you're having trouble perfecting your approach to missions or challenges, then it's time to delve into the game's skill and perk system. The game offers perks varying from being unable to fail QTE events (wait, really?) to gaining health back from headshots or disarming opponents, to bonuses to your Wrath mode. With up to three perk slots able to be unlocked, you can customize John Rambo to your own tastes or the task at hand. The skill system gives you the ability to upgrade your damage resistance, light weapons, heavy weapons, miscellaneous weapons, or your Wrath mode, but I didn't find any reason to invest in anything but damage resistance or Wrath mode in lower levels. The perks system reeks of poor balance and the charade of choice. Enemies die in two or three properly-aimed shots, so skills granting bonus damage aren't necessary, and it only takes a few turns of the reload wheel to get the hang of reloading, thus diminishing the usefulness of light- and heavy-weapon expertise.

Rambo: The Video Game does a solid job of breaking potential monotony with various alternate battle methods. Although some of these involve moving from quick-time event to quick-time event, you're also given a helping of helicopter missions and an opportunity to use enemies' own tanks against them. While these segments don't last long, they also are neither overused nor overdone, and offer a breather from the game's gauntlet of gun battles.

Dogfighting with helicopters doesn't sound safe.

The game's initial playthrough doesn't take more than a few hours, but becoming a master of the game can take a bit more investment. You don't have to be a fan of the Rambo franchise to enjoy Rambo: The Video Game, but it helps to have at least spent a bit of time in an arcade as a light-gun-slinger. And this time around, you don't have to stock your pockets full of quarters to prepare to blast your way through screen after screen of Vietcong, Afghan, and Soviet enemies.

The Good
Challenges drive you to keep mastering the game
Noticeably good soundtrack
The Bad
Atrocious graphics and voice-overs
QTEs for the sake of QTEs
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Tyler Hicks usually keeps to the indoor comfort of PC gaming, but will always have a soft spot for the nostalgia of an arcade rail shooter. Countless quarters and tokens have been spent on the Time Crisis series, and a few playthroughs of Rambo: The Video Game brought back those olden times.

Discussion

308 comments
kezbotgamez
kezbotgamez

 This Game is a DISGRACE it steals voice acting from the movie, the character models look like crap. "noticeably good soundtrack" ITS REPEATED THROUGH THE ENTIRE GAME. There is no challenge with this game until you get to last level which it throws literally an entire f***ing army against... And even if you beat the level this game crashes alot so you'll have to go through the level all over again. The Best part of this game are its QTE WHICH SUCK, this game was made to suck and the developers must have known it, Yet GAMESPOT RATE IT 6/10. WTF this game at most is 2/10 and thats because it makes you laugh because of how much it SUCKS

Lamace
Lamace

According to Gamespot, this game is better than:

X-Men Destiny, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, Duck Tales Remastered, Resident Evil 6, Sorcery, Resident Evil Operation Racoon City, Splatterhouse, Lair, Lost Planet 3, Killer is Dead, Tokyo Jungle, Hunted The Demon's Forge, Nier, King of Fighters XII, Bladestorm, Zone of the Enders HD, Ninja Gaiden 3, Asura's Wrath, Ace Combat Assault Horizon, Alien Vs Predator, Time Crisis 4, Sonic Unleashed, Lightning Returns, Deadpool, Front Mission Evolved, Too Human, and Project Sylpheed.


Now, I may not be the smartest person on the planet, but that doesn't seem quite right.

bilson22
bilson22

Anybody noticed this game is rated higher than the latest FF13? I know it's total different genre, still, crappyness is crappyness! That's why I never believe gamesite review: those sh*t are way too biased for various reasons. 


It's the USER SCORE counts, really, in almost every case.

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

So this broken, ugly mess of a game gets the same score as something like Batman: Arkham Origins... hmm

TheGreatPhoenix
TheGreatPhoenix

wait noticeably good soundtrack?.... that one short piece repeated over and over?


Challenges? you mean just the last level?


.... and he bases the score on replaying this over and over? ....


This just seems so backwater....

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

I think Angry Joe sums up this game perfectly. Gamespot has gave this a six and it looks awful, plays awful and is awfully short.

I am stunned at this score.

South Park: The Stick Of Truth got a 7 and that is brilliant for what it is. A licensed game that has obviously had a lot of love, care and effort put into it. Where as...

Rambo is a joke for what that is. A licensed game that is full of QTEs, poor audio and is laughable to look at!

I know these games are different and comparing them is a little unfair, but the scores are almost the same and they are both licensed games... So I'm comparing them any way and judging them as such.

It's just that one is laughably good and the other is laughably bad!

BountyHunterX7
BountyHunterX7

Are you kidding me right now GameSpot? A 6? REALLy? How the fuck does this game get a 6? Its a shitty game. It deserves a 2/10. What are they paying you for a good review? No one likes this game, Metacritic 1.5/10 , destructoid 1/10 

Lizard_King89
Lizard_King89

How the hell could this game get a 6?  I remember when Gamespot used to be the one place I could go to get a fairly accurate review of a game.  What the hell happened to this website?

madgame23
madgame23

Its an on rails shooter not an FPS!  wow youtube has a better video review on this.

madgame23
madgame23

Wow there was a Rambo game that came out in 2014!! Must have been really bad since no one is talking about it.

UFO2012
UFO2012

Rambo the videogame, biggest movie franchise turned to videogame rape since 1982 when they released E.T. on the Atari 2600. At least the Atari had an excuse for the graphics...

utterlyotter
utterlyotter

It definitely and without doubt places among the 5 worst games I´ve played in almost 20 years of gaming.

Absolutely horrible and the makers/producers of this abomination should be horsewhipped to within an inch of their  lives.. 

Utter crap in every way, it´s existence is  a kick in the bollocks of anyone that enjoy games.


(Yes, it did piss me off so much that I acctually joined so I could comment ;)

billzihang
billzihang

Not everything is subjective. This is an example of a game that is objectively bad-- in every possible respect.


This deserves a 3 at best.


Watch Total Biscuits review. Just see how it plays, and tell me this is an 'average' game. Good sound track? If you watch TB's review most of it is LITERALLY a 10 second or so loop that repeats almost consistently after certain events.

CorndogBilly
CorndogBilly

just look at the average player review. those numbers don't lie

jediknight52501
jediknight52501

wow, haters going to hate on looks like a decent game. give it up losers, this game is better then your Mom in bed last night.

toshineon
toshineon

Oh boy. This review, if anything, is an excellent testament to how used we are to horrible rail-shooters. I know that games like Call of Duty and Battlefield (in campaign) aren't technically rail shooters, but they might just as well be, they still won't allow you to walk anywhere else than down a linear path. Sure, that formula fits well in a game that's well designed around it, but too many games do this. I'll just go with Angry Joe's review.

Zenwork21
Zenwork21

Personally I think is a terrible game

Chronrod
Chronrod

this game deserve to be under a coffee maker, at the most obscure gas station in the middle east.

Chronrod
Chronrod

Gamespot has shocked and awed all of us.... Its a sad day for people that care about what others think, what must be done to move on???? Where will we turn to, to learn what is good and what is not? There surely can not be other sites out there with opinions that matter more than Gamespot! 

Chronrod
Chronrod

How can you give this game a six? Its a cash in on a dead franchise.... 

tomkat69pc
tomkat69pc

rambo and thief got the same rating? gamespot is a joke nowadays ..


ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

Gamespot has always been really inconsistent with review scores. They don't seem to understand that the reason people get irate over them is because they compare them across reviews released at similar times. Reviewers seem to be working off different scales, applying different values to scores on almost a case by case basis. 

Hand on heart I haven't played Rambo or Thief, however I have strong doubts that with the universal trampling this game got that it deserves to be scored the same as Batman Arkham Origins.

I know they are only opinions, but still really? You can't tell me that you honestly think that Rambo is of the same quality as Batman and Thief despite the issues all of the above may have.

SJGSpook
SJGSpook

Woah what the hell are you doing giving this a 6? Seriously, that is messed up.

Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

Seriously?, you gave this game and Thief the same score?, that's appalling. Everywhere this game is being bashed, Angry Joe did a video for this and bashed it even more lol.

LickTheEnvelope
LickTheEnvelope

Not that i'm the biggest Nintendo fan... but how does this game (universally panned) have the same review score as the new Donkey Kong... ??? o_O

colekhoo
colekhoo

The moment i read the "about the author" section, "usually keeps to the indoor comfort of PC gaming, but will always have a soft spot for the nostalgia of an arcade rail shooter. Countless quarters and tokens have been spent on the Time Crisis series, and a few playthroughs of Rambo: The Video Game brought back those olden times." Is there any chance that this review is biased? Just my own opinion, this game does not deserve a 6, plain simple.

Mangaas
Mangaas

Reading a comment in the South Park review, someone pointed out that Gamespot gave South Park a 7, only 1 point higher than this shovel-ware Rambo "game".
So I came here because I obviously didn't believe that and....  wow.
You guys ACTUALLY awarded shovel-ware with a 6.  The same score as Thief.
I'm guessing Gamespot is becoming The Onion of video game journalism.  Not sure if it's more funny, or embarrassing.

Damazig
Damazig

Yeah makes sense to give this load of crap the same score that Thief got... really . . .

Saladudo
Saladudo

We know you are a bunch of good people, GS. Just stop screwing it up, please.

dono14
dono14

6/10? Oh GameSpot, you try so hard to be different from all the other review sites, don't you?


serchenko9
serchenko9

This is the point for the 6 note: "From moment to moment, the action is simple but frantic, inviting you to set aside your expectations of what a Rambo video game should be, and enjoy it for what it is" 

Stop complaining about what might or might not be and enjoy the fucking game.

sgtstones
sgtstones

The only explanation I have, for this travesty of a score, is that all the reviewer has ever done is playing iphone games. Maybe he should stick to his favourite hobby, trying to beat his friends at flappy bird.

codeman101360
codeman101360

6/10? Were you high when you wrote this review?


It deserves at least a 9. Out of 100.

AK1015
AK1015

Angry Joe angrily stands in opposition to this review. lol

johnnylemonhead
johnnylemonhead

Wow. Just wow. I'm in the fortunate position of being able to play pretty much every new game that comes out and for me this is the worst for a couple of years. I even enjoyed F&F Showdown more than this. I thought that 3/10 from IGN was quite generous, but 6 out of 10 is just crazy. This is especially true given GS recent 'policy' of being stern (but fair) with ratings.


I can't believe the reviewer managed multiple playthroughs, I gave up about halfway through the 3rd actual shooting level as I just simply couldn't take it anymore.


The reviewer must really be a glutton for punishment! I'm astounded.

bilson22
bilson22

Oh ya and the "He's a man, not a god" line still crack me up hard. I mean that's like my only positive take away from this sh*t: it makes me laugh so hard, it's kinda good for my health in a way...

Syphen_bast
Syphen_bast

@BountyHunterX7  It completely boggles my mind.....its so absurd that i think that this score was given by David Lynch high on narcotics and booze, while falling of a building attached to a flying rainbow virgin donkey. YES that absurd! 6? In what planet does this shit deserves higher than 1? Not on this dimension.

billzihang
billzihang

I meant AngryJoe. It's also very funny.

UFO2012
UFO2012

Have you played the game? I have and it really is a pile of shit and I love the Rambo movies btw!

Chronrod
Chronrod

@ALLoY1717  Batman was a decent game yeah it was much of the same and it did not have the iconic voice actors in it. It still had its moments, and the boss fights were a little bit better (not by much). I enjoyed it I would have given it a 7.5 honestly, its a playable game just do not expect anything new or different about the tried and true gears of batman.

masterhound
masterhound

@Dark_Rage

Right on! All critics should just wait for angry joe to make a review, then just copy the score!!

Mangaas
Mangaas

@colekhoo As someone who loves Time crisis and old-school rail shooters, I can tell you, this game is abhorrent.  It's shovel-ware, it's scamming customers with the Brand name and nothing else.  It's not a real game.  It is a scam.
And Gamespot is pathetic for publishing this "review"

AK1015
AK1015

@colekhoo Very true. I agree with your comment 100%. However, Angry Joe gave an accurate review of this game. Check it out on YouTube if you haven't already. It's really funny too.


And here I thought Game Spot was here to bring us unbiased opinions.

Chronrod
Chronrod

@codeman101360  I cant believe they can give this a 6 and south park a 7! but its ok everyone has opinions, I just do not wanna hear em :D


punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@billzihang  

Yes I have seen both and they are right. WTF are GS trying to do here?

I've always defended GS's review scores but this one just beggars belief!

hystavito
hystavito

@AK1015 @colekhoo  You know lately the bias issue has been raised many times, and GS staff have often responded with the same type of answer, bias is inherently there and cannot be removed and etc etc, sounds like a textbook answer from a communications course :).


The thing that bugs me, that answer doesn't really address the problem as a problem, it kinda just explains the problem :).  I think they are missing the point the community is raising, perhaps intentionally avoiding it.

Rambo: The Video Game

  • PC
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
Rambo: The Video Game puts the player in John Rambo’s combat boots, and takes them on an action packed journey through the iconic combat sequences and story-arcs of First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II & Rambo III.
ESRB
Mature
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Rambo: The Video Game Wiki on Giantbomb.com