Rambo: The Videogame PS3 review – First Blood, then tears, then a snapped disc

The concept of ‘so bad it’s funny’ is far from new. It can be applied to most of Creed’s music catalogue, Keanu Reeves’ flick The Lake House, and even cult ‘classic’ Ride To Hell: Retribution, which received the hallowed 1/10 in OPM #87. It was with such a hope in mind that I set about reviewing this licensed, brainless blast-’em-up.Having emerged at the end of the ordeal angry, scarred, and more than a little nauseous, I can’t even award it that questionable accolade.

Rambo: The Videogame PS3 review – First Blood, then tears, then a snapped disc

Despite appearances, this is not the kind of traditional FPS you know and perhaps love. It’s an on-rails shooter in which your actions are restricted to firing off bullets or grenades, and ducking behind (often entirely ineffectual) cover. Think Time Crisis, minus the satisfying clunk of the pedal, and the fact that no self-respecting arcade owner would ever put this in a cabinet.

The game encompasses action from the first three Rambo movies, although you’d really have to be a Sly super-stalker in order for that to salvage things. We kick off with a ’Nam flashback mission, and here you’re introduced to several of the crippling problems present, none of which go away.

Firstly, controlling an on-rails shooter with an analogue stick sucks. And while you can use Move, you’d be better served just ejecting the disc than actually bothering to plug in your PlayStation Eye. Then there’s the AI, which makes your average James Bond henchman look like a sharpshooter. Enemies standing just a few yards in front of you will pepper everything with bullets except any part of your body; often freezing in place in order to give you the chance to reload before you blow their pitiful lives away. Which is undoubtedly generous, but hardly lends itself to an immersive gaming experience.

“A Sisyphean task – if Sisyphus had to stare at horribly pixelated Vietcong soldiers as he pushed his boulder uphill”

And then there’s the checkpointing system. Even on the default difficulty, you have to start entire levels again if you fail more than five times – something that’s easily done considering ducking behind cover often does absolutely nothing at all. It’s even difficult to wrestle the aiming reticule to where you want it. As your frustration begins to build, this quickly turns into a Sisyphean task – if Sisyphus had to stare at horribly pixelated Vietcong soldiers as he pushed his boulder uphill.

Things get no better as you progress through the game. In fact, the entire second level – and I swear this is no exaggeration – is nothing but QTEs. Fairly punitive ones at that – all of which, again, boot you back to the beginning of the level if you fail five times.

From there it’s a case of mix-and-match: some QTEs, some mindless blasting, all crushing misery. It’s often said that cinematic versions of videogames are almost always terrible – well, this is proof that the opposite can be true a thousand times over.

It only avoids the worst score I can give by virtue of the fact that it (just about) functions. Rambo inspires more anger than biting your tongue just after you’ve stubbed your toe.

Our Score

Score: 2