On Second Thoughts… Seeking revenge with an animal that can kill harder, better and faster than me does sound like it could fill my Sunday nicely.
Looking for a duo to help release some of the week’s stresses and strains? Look no further, the boys are back in town.
Dead to Rights: Retribution does lay a typical story of revenge, damp allays and guys slamming fists on tables on a bit too thick but it also coughs up some great violent combat – all in the name of the law. You are Jack, the beefy protagonist with a massive build and an occasional amusing lack of sense . Jack is an unstoppable train of punishment, hell bent on revenging his father’s death when he gets moidered right in front of him.
DTR is a third person action game where you set out to conquer this corrupt city by pummelling your way through it, however you aren’t completely alone on this mission as you’re paired with a furry ally called Shadow. The control scheme for the duo is fairly standard which makes the Jack and Shadow crime fighting team pretty fluid; the d-pad is used to give Shadow orders and cycle through Jacks weapons which means you can keep the two bouncing off each other as well. There’s also a neat little duck and cover system which lets Jacks huge bulk become nimble enough to use some of his meaty finishers while the dog steadily rips his way through way more men than you.
Shadow really does seem to have some gripes of his own to play out, maybe that scar is deeper than we all thought and he is really the lead character. He’s the type of dog you wish you had when you where being bullied way back when, a little furry friend to keep you warm, make you smile and kill anyone who says bad words about you. He is definitely more on the feral side of dog life sporting that mean looking scar down his face, and to my surprise in the first ten minutes of the game beat me to the very first achievement – Scrotality (I’ll let you guess). He gets stuck right in at the beginning while you’re still learning the controls.
On the other side of the coin Jack is pretty hardcore too often sporting an assortment of bruises, gashes and grainy stubble, suited in some dark leather padded armour. He can take quite a beating where Shadow can’t and in return offers one serious ass kicking back to the enemy; give it some time and you’ll start to really like the meat head. Jack can also trigger slow mo time if he gets into trouble, it isn’t the best slow mo feature I’ve seen but it does the job and you can trigger it manually. Jacks prompted finishers are definitely the best bit about him, they‘re seriously spine tingling, brutal to watch and consisting of every bone being broken in many creative ways. However, the weapon system is boring, the weapons themselves are dull and limited which lets the game down a lot, while Jack, for some unknown reason, can’t throw a grenade past his own feet which is frustrating.
When you’re controlling Shadow you can sneak round like a ninja, stealthily (or not) taking out the rather idiotic and edgy A.I. which often just cheats anyway. Shadow can lure them out like the true master of Splinter Cell he really is and bolt out of cover to take them down but is quite vulnerable to multiple attacks – they are best left to Jack to deal with.
The boss fights aren’t hard, it’s just a pain to dodge and dodge so much when you’re used to smashing faces in at your own pace. It made me hate them for being so untardy but the game does have these little streaks of flavour floating around amongst the chaos that crop up in parts of the plot and in the cut-scenes. The environment is incredibly dull, a lot of it being ruined buildings or restaurants ready to be torn up in stand offs. There are no views or anything designed well enough to gorge your eyes on apart from the huge amount of gore that comes with most of the attacks. This lack of interesting space to proceed through made the pace of the game drop but Shadow usually picked the tempo back up and I didn’t stay in a pointless A.I fight for too long as he picked off A.I. that were even quite a distance away.
Dead to Rights: Retribution does seem to lose sight or grasp of its developing action and plot and blurs the experience into a repetitive mess by the end. It seems to have been partly neglected and it shows when you end up getting bored of smashing those empty A.I. drones. The game did grant me hours of fun but when I got to the end I saw why maybe other people gave this one a pass the first time round. You can see where it goes wrong by looking at the box and the fact it swings widely west in appearance and in its delivery doesn’t help. On the other hand when I sat back and sifted through some of the other shelved games in my mind, Dead to Rights: Retribution doesn’t come out too badly amongst the many forgotten titles out today, because it doesn’t really lie about what it is and it offers you a workable duo with a bit of character to create carnage with.
It’s the weakest title out of the whole series, so it’s one of those games to pick up cheap for an evening or two especially if you dig it up amongst the dead when you’re out shopping.