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PlayStation 3 Review: Dead To Rights – Retribution

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After the disappointment I encountered with Army Of Two: The 40th Day, I wondered how long it would be before I found myself playing another crappy shooter game. That day came as soon as I plugged Dead To Rights: Retribution into my PS3. The third in Namco’s Dead To Rights series, Dead To Rights: Retribution marks the first time the action in Grant City has appeared in a PlayStation 3 game.

But don’t let the artwork’s promise of glorious 1080i High Def fool you. As soon as the game began, I felt like I was bearing witness to a bad cross between Max Payne and Sin City. The graphics and gameplay on the other hand had me thinking I had just purchased a bad PC shoot-em-up game that had been converted into a GameCube release. And that’s putting it nicely.

We begin with some decidedly unflattering graphics (for a PS3 game) that introduce us to the series’ regular anti-hero, the virtually indestructible Jack Slate. Now, if any of you have not had the opportunity to check out the Dead To Rights franchise on an occasion previous to this game, you will probably feel a little confused (or gypped) — since the game’s developers neglected to give either Jack or his faithful canine companion, Shadow, a proper introduction. It’s just a brief cutaway sequence where Jack crawls out of a ship and is promptly attacked by some Triad thugs.

From there, you play as Shadow and rip gang members to pieces. Sure, that might sound like fun, but once you start fiddling with the game’s lousy control setup (e.g. a wandering camera angle that doesn‘t think you really need to know what‘s going on, attacks that seem to be the same no matter what buttons you‘re pressing), your feeling of bliss becomes moot.

Following that very brief introductory level (wherein you don’t even get to familiarize yourself with the main character, but his dog), we get to duke it out with some bad guys as Jack (via a backstory level) — jotting up to the top of a media building to save some hostages and brutally massacre the hoodlums. Via a variety of combo attacks (again, which seem to be the same no matter what), you can pummel and maim your would-be assailants to death over and over.

As I had said before, Jack is virtually indestructible. Bullets pierce his flesh continuously before he finally starts to feel week. But at least he’s not the only one: you can steal a thug’s own gun and fire several shots into his head (after you get the camera to actually center on the poor bastard’s face, that is) before he finally decides to die!

All this coupled with less-than-stellar graphics and head-shaking dialogue, too.

Did I mention that the graphics in Dead To Rights: Retribution suck? Well, if I did, allow me to say it once again: they suck. As if the camera with Attention Deficit Disorder weren’t enough to dissuade you from using the game as a clay pigeon, the graphics will leave you wondering if you didn’t buy a PS2 game by mistake. Some poor animation marks any chance of making the game’s cutaway scenes half-way passable, while the graphics during the game’s levels look far too cheap for something that’s supposed to be High Def.

If you’re after a way to kill about a third of your entire day, Dead To Rights: Retribution might be right up your alley. Several other missions throughout the game enable you to play as Shadow a couple of times, and said levels are probably more fulfilling that the monotonous “run around and kill people” routine that are inherent in the Jack Slate ones.

It’s still a crappy shooter game, no matter how you look at it.

Dead To Rights: Retribution is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.