PS3 Review – Dead to Rights: Retribution

April 26, 2010Written by Zak Islam

After a nearly four year hiatus, Dead to Rights: Retribution has finally arrived, making it the first installment in the series to debut on next gen consoles. Developer Violate Games has stated that they want to re-create the franchise for a brand new audience and ultimately re-invent the series–have they done just that?

In Dead to Rights: Retribution, you take control of the game’s protagonist, Jack Slate, and his vicious K9, Shadow in their quest to clean up the city by battling their way through hordes of underworld gangs while they carry out an investigation. During the investigation, you’ll come across a conspiracy (original, huh?) and your main aim is to find out who’s behind it. However, throughout the game, your objective is to pretty much slaughter everyone you see, and then progress through the city and repeat. Retribution’s story line is certainly lacking, as few will not remember (or care) about the plot even after watching all the cut-scenes.

Jack Slate uses his martial arts and guns, while Shadow uses his teeth to rip into enemies’ nuts. Yes, nuts. Core gameplay revolves around hand-to-hand combat, gun combat, commanding Shadow, and sometimes taking control of him as a character. The martial arts, when pulled off, feels rewarding, and the same can be said about the game’s disarm move. All of this is combined into one control system, which Volatile Games have, at best, done an average job with. The game’s cover system works well, and is vital at times, but unfortunately, for some reason, there is no lock-on system. A slow motion system has been implemented, however, which players can utilize for precision shots.

Jack Slate, as a character, is sadly not much of a badass. He can’t manually crouch or jump, although the cover system somewhat makes up for that. Shadow, on the other hand, is much more entertaining. The game’s viral advertisement focuses on Shadow, and the humorous ad mirrors the game perfectly. Arguably the game’s most rewarding feature is ripping off enemies’ balls. Shadow can tear through necks as well as biting nuts off, but the only time you’ll need Shadow is when you’re in trouble (which doesn’t happen often), or when you have to control the dog for stealth missions. When taking control of the canine, players will notice that he can, oddly enough, see through walls, and also see organs inside enemies’ bodies. Also noticeable is that you don’t have much ammo, as the game has a limitation on bullets, so you’ll have to pick up ammo from enemies on a constant basis.

The graphics, like the overall game, are nothing spectacular, but not necessarily bad, either. The cut-scenes, voice-acting, and music are very well done and suit the game. The visuals of the gore stand out especially–there’s nothing better than seeing the blood burst and ooze from an enemy’s crotch or flooring someone with a perfectly timed martial art maneuver. Players will become frustrated throughout the game, however, due to the irritating camera rotation. The camera has a hard time following you and feels unresponsive at times, which can cause quite a few problems.

The replayability in the title is almost nonexistent, as it seems unlikely that most people will come back to give the game another go. After completing the game, you’ll almost certainly forget the game’s plot, as it’s nothing special, and quite predictable, as is the game as a whole. All the levels are linear, simple, and unimaginative. The decision not to include any sort of multiplayer component certainly doesn’t help in adding to the game’s replay value, either.

Dead to Rights: Retribution is a simple action title at best, and feels lacking in polish. Ripping off enemies’ bollocks and ripping through their throats may feel rewarding, but it doesn’t make up for the game’s lackluster storyline, lack of any online multiplayer element, and poor overall effort put into the game. Dead to Rights: Retribution is a good way to spend a rainy afternoon, but you’ll already start to forget about the game once the credits roll.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Story and gameplay are predictable and clichéd

Average visuals and audio

Shadow’s testicle-tearing ability is gory fun yet hard to watch

4 out of 10