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Review: Dead to Rights Retribution - Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 23 April 2010, 00:00 3.25

Tags: Namco (TYO:7832), Xbox 360, FPS

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What is it about?
Set in the neo-noir, morally corrupt and nightmarish world of Grant City, Dead to Rights: Retribution thrusts you into the epicentre of an dark and tragic narrative as vice-cop Jack Slate. In typical third person shooter style, along with vicious sidekick Shadow, Jack must fight to expose the shadowy underworld figures exerting their evil grip over the crumbling metropolis i

Dead to Rights Retribution (DTRR) feels like it was made 10, maybe even 15 years ago. It struggles to leave a lasting impression because there are so many other third-person shooters out there that do it far better. DTRR feels like an old-school game, with dated graphics and rudimentary mechanics that just about do an adequate job, but it's a shooter that will soon be forgotten once the campaign is done and dusted. This isn’t a bad game though, far from it in fact.

There’s something very moreish about meleeing the crap out the bad guys like an old school brawler and the excessive violence is certainly part of that appeal as you rack up combos and perform some vicious and highly entertaining takedowns, including the brutal shotgun in the mouth move. The gameplay can be very addictive and satisfying as you plough through enemies in a range of violently entertaining ways.

Hand-to-hand combat is certainly the highlight of this third person shooter, but having the luxury of a equally brutal sidekick with you at all times also adds some variety to the fighting, as you send Shadow off to maul an enemy, rip his throat out, or eat his balls for dinner. You can get through a large chunk of the game by just running into the bad guys and letting your fists do the talking, but the further you progress the more you need to master the art of using weapons and the new cover system. This is where DTRR struggles to impress.

AI is weak and the cover system forces you to use cover that the developer wants you to use rather than allowing you to get behind what look like cover spots dotted around each location. Furthermore, the developer has mapped the Run and Cover controls to the same button on the controller, so by pressing 'A' you'll sometimes find yourself running and then inadvertently ducking or getting into cover; it can feel quite clumsy.

What's more unforgivable, however, is that the game is in urgent need of a patch to sort out a frustrating bug. Small glitches that don't affect the gameplay or your progression can be forgiven (and you'll come across many of them,) but there's a awful bug in Level 6 where you're told you have the C4, but when you go to strap it to a helicopter nothing happens. You actually have to go back and get more C4 to progress. We had to told about this in order to progress. It's these imperfections that give you the impression that Dead to Rights Retribution wasn't quite polished up before it was released.

Nevertheless, despite its imperfections and old-school visuals, we have had fun for a few days playing Dead to Rights Retribution. It kind of feels like bumping into an old school friend that you haven't seen for a while -- you'll enjoy spending time in its company for a short while, but it's unlikely you'll keep in touch or want to see it again.

Hand-to-hand combat is violently satisfying
Impressive Takedowns
Using Shadow to kill enemies is entertaining.

Weak cover mechanic
Poor AI
Run and Cover controls mapped to same button
Bugs a plenty


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