Well well, what have we here? It looks like a third person shooter, smells like a third person shooter, but it’s, sort of, not.
Dead To Rights: Retribution does have a plot but I’m not really sure what it is. The key thing to draw from it is that you’re a brawly guy with a vicious dog and you have to kill people. That is about all the stimulus required to get going with the game.
In the Prologue, you get to control the dog Shadow, running around protecting your master with the excellent ability to bite off the testicles of those trying to assassinate him. There is gore-a-plenty, and while it’s not as satisfying as in, say, Dante’s Inferno, it is nevertheless fun to sprint to an enemy and maul him down.
Chapter 1 sees you ascending the 97-story local TV station office block in a series of rather repetitive and bland environments. They are functional, but not exciting. You work your way up punching, kicking, disarming and shooting endless hordes of bad guys punctuated by cut scenes. It is moderately entertaining, but the variety is poor so far.
Dead To Rights: Retribution is not exactly a hack’n’slash game either. In many respects it plays like one, but from the perspective of a shooter rather than the overhead cameras we see in games like God of War 3 and Darksiders.
The controls work reasonably well and the game features a decent cover system, combos, focus mode (slow motion for a limited time), some deliciously vicious animations when you finish off an enemy with a smackdown move, and you can also clinch the enemies and choose what to do with them. Shadow can drag dead bodies, and there is a reasonable variety of weapons at your disposal. However, the camera rotation is a bit weird and this causes quite a few problems. It is sometimes hard to turn around to attack an enemy behind you for no apparent reason, and there is a certain fish-eye lens-like quality to the way the scene pans as you rotate the camera. It also doesn’t always quite precisely track where you are facing, which makes aiming harder than it needs to be.
Graphics are average. Sound is good and well-executed. Cut scenes have better graphical quality, voice acting is moderate. Plot is non-existent. There is no multi-player, local or online, although that really doesn’t matter for me personally as I tend to just hammer the single-player campaigns.
My initial gut feeling is that, much like Quantum of Solace and Wolfenstein, there is nothing wrong with Dead To Rights Retribution as such, it just lacks a certain punch (no pun intended) and attention to fine detail, plus the controls could and should be more precise.
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