Dead to Right: Retribution
Released: April 27, 2010
Xbox 360, PS3
Developed by Volatile Games
Published by Namco Bandai Games
It has been nearly 4 years since the last Dead to Rights games on Xbox and Playstation 2. The games were very popular and well made. Sadly, Dead to Rights: Retribution does not live up to the legacy. Everything works in the game but it is all rough and unrefined. There seems to be a lack of fine tuning and polish. Your canine companion Shadow doesn’t look like he belongs in the game because most of the time his feet aren’t rendered as touching the ground. More like he is floating an inch or two above the ground. Levels tend to go on and on without a sign of progression. This doesn’t mean the game is unplayable though and it is worth a romp. It is just your average run-of-the-mill third person action game.
Dead to Rights: Retribution plays out much like the former games in the series. You’re once again Grant City police officer Jack Slate and you’ve got a Husky named Shadow who helps you beat the baddies.The whole city is going crazy with crime and you’ve got to use your policing skills and Shadow to get to the bottom of what’s spurring on this crime wave. Plan on spending around 8 hours on this game. Though that is a decent number, it’s really is a shame it’s 8 hours of mediocrity.
The game itself is rather forgettable except for some of the “so bad it’s good” dialogue. Jack’s policing skills are really him yelling at Shadow to “rip him apart” and to maul various criminals. There is no real detective work here as practically every guy you come across you kill in various ways. The “Bullet Time” is back, helping you take out your foes in slow motion. There is also a cover system that works pretty well but for some reason no targeting system.
Get used to Jack always low on ammo being that he can only carry two extra clips. So there is allot of hand to hand. This is a clunky average fighting engine that really could of been tweaked up a notch since it’s used so much. There is a light and hard attack with your block and that’s it. You can make some combos for throws and take downs which is nice to break it up a bit.Jack kind of plants his feet and just throws punches at whatever he’s lined up with. It is a problem because most enemies just flee when confronted with hand to hand. I chased guys around all the time trying to just land my first punch.
The camera system works but is annoyingly slow. I can’t tell you how many times I will be wondering why my life is going down just to have a baddie shooting me in the back from my blind spot. The camera doesn’t keep up with the action like other brawlers or third person games making a fight between multiple foes a bother. Dead to Rights: Retribution just doesn’t live up to games like Arkham Asylum.
The take downs have fluid animation and you can execute some awesome moves but after a while it gets apparent they lack impact. There is allot of clipping (objects passing through each other) and gun shots don’t look any cooler close up or far away. There seems to be a general lack of caring put into making the game pretty to the player. But pulling of combos and take downs is fun and adds to the gameplay allot. I just with that my bone snapping techniques were better to watch.
Something I found well done was the levels you play as Jack’s Husky Shadow. Shadow i n these levels you stealthy move through areas picking off guards and snatching key-cards Jack needs, but there are a few times when he can just run free and maul whomever he likes. No matter how you’re killing folks as Shadow, it’s fun and you have the ability to drag bodies from view of passing patrols and see through walls to scope out where the bad guys are. Even when you’re playing as Jack, you can borrow this Shadow sense and see who’s around the next corner.
Shadow just doesn’t look like a real dog though. He looks horrible close up almost like a stuffed dog you see in a natural history museum. When he grabs something, like dragging a guard away, allot of times he isn’t even really touching it. It’s more like he is using telekinesis to move things.
Dead to Rights: Retribution takes a step back to breath every once and a while, letting you lead hostages around, climb in a mech, go undercover and those were my favorite parts of the experience. But unfortunately all of these were small parts in an 8 hour game so the overall Dead to Rights: Retribution gets swallowed up in forgettable shooting and taking cover. All of which is done very lack luster.
Overall, Dead to Rights: Retribution is a regular third person shooter that is unpolished and forgettable. It has it’s fun moments and is playable but never breaks from the pack. The camera is shoddy but workable and the movements and fighting never aspire to give a you a feeling you actually did anything. I laughed at the dialogue being so “action hero” which is one of the few things I will remember aside from the fun Shadow levels. I give it a 6 for being playable and funny on accident.