I’m usually a fan of the quirky games that Atlus tends to publish – while they may not have wide acclaim, they at least all do things a little bit differently and are quite entertaining in their own right. R.I.P.D.: The Game is not one of those games. This is a licensed game that nobody asked for based on a movie that nobody wanted based on a comic book that is largely unknown to the general public. My question after (and before, to be honest) playing this game is “Why?”.
Allow me to set the stage for you. R.I.P.D., the Rest In Peace Department, is an afterlife task force focused on taking down ‘Deados’, which are souls that refuse to move on or some such nonsense. You can select from Roy or Nick (Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, respectively) as you blast your way through hoard mode style waves of enemies. Note that Jeff and Ryan have nothing to do with this game. Opting to not even go with sound-alikes, your character remains a silent protagonist, despite one of the only mild draws of the film being the banter between these characters.
Taking the characters, and likely locations, from the movie is about as far as they go with the tie-in. Once you select Roy or Nick (the only difference is the cowboy hat), you simply run around one of seven different stages for five waves shooting the shit out of 130+ Deados that rush you from all directions with guns and melee weapons (one is a plunger). No cinematic progression, no narrative anywhere outside of the opening cinematic that explains the basic premise, no reason to really be playing this game. Where have I seen this basic formula before….? That’s it! Remember God Mode? I did a review for it a few months ago? R.I.P.D.: The Game is essentially God Mode stripped down and reskinned with licensed content, and there’s a good excuse if you’re a fan of excuses. It’s made by the same studio.
Just like God Mode, the game is geared towards an online co-op system. In order to even be able to play alone you have to create a custom match yourself. Selecting quick match on the main menu led me to an indefinite ‘searching for players’ screen, even after the game had come out on the PSN store. I literally never found a random player to play with. The problem is that the higher difficulties are next to impossible without a co-op buddy to have your back and help you through the pain of wasting time and money on this game. That’s all that co-op really adds. And what do you get for even spending 15-20 minutes attempting to take on a higher difficulty and failing? Nothing. No consolation prize. No “here you made it through four out of the five waves” gold. Absolutely nothing. You must complete all five waves in order to get the pithy amounts of gold that they give in order to purchase and upgrade your weapons. This includes if a partner quits or you get disconnected, as Cameron did only two waves into our co-op match in favor of playing something more worthwhile.
Speaking of upgrades, weapons are the only upgradable things in this game. You do have a set of abilities that are available as you get kill streaks, but you cannot purchase new ones, customize them, or upgrade them. They remain the same throughout the game. There aren’t even any visual customizations that you can unlock, only weapons and the subsequent three preset upgrades for each one (i.e. Pistol, Upgrade 1, Upgrade 2, Upgrade 3). There are two super expensive weird weapons (a banana and a hair dryer), but I pity the fool who plays this long enough to earn enough gold to unlock those.
On top of the lackluster offering of the game itself, it seems that R.I.P.D. is fueled by glitches. You’d think with such a simple game that they could at least get it to run well. Somehow they missed that boat. The first thing I noticed was that the textures of the level and my character take a minimum of five seconds to load in, and often much longer. Enemy textures take so long to load that too many times I ended up killing a still blurry Deado, and it’s only when it is falling to the ground and vanishing that I get the satisfaction of seeing one of the seven or eight mediocre looking character models that I am fighting against.
Unless it’s how they act in real life, the Deado AI is terrible, but I’ve never actually encountered one in my day to day activities so I can’t say for sure. Enemies will come running straight at me while firing their weapon and either run up to me to attempt to melee attack, or run straight past me and in some herky-jerky newfangled direction that doesn’t make a lick of sense. Sometimes they do the opposite and constantly run away, again in a fashion that makes little to no sense in terms of intelligent survivability. I also encountered issues with the game timer/life system running out but not triggering the end of the event, which means that I got to slog through playing more of the game than I had to for no rewards whatsoever.
There really is no reason this game should exist. It’s not even a good game for fans of the movie/comic book. You could reskin this using any number of licensed franchises and the game would remain identical. I’ve wasted a good two evenings of my life playing this game so that I can inform you that you shouldn’t. The only way I got through it was by pretending that Van Wilder was teaming up with The Dude to take on those creepy mutants from The Hills Have Eyes. Sad part is that my premise for the game works just as well as the intended backstory… Ready for my cliche closing line? R.I.P.D.: The Game should rest in peace. Yup, I went there.
Review code for PS3 provided by publisher… thank God…