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Dead to Rights: Retribution Review

3
  • X360
  • PS3

Dead To Rights: Retribution has its moments, but its generic, last-generation feel makes it a tough purchase to justify at full price.


 Your dog can rip out throats and testicles, with the latter netting you an achievement or trophy.
 Your dog can rip out throats and testicles, with the latter netting you an achievement or trophy.
Dead To Rights: Retribution hits the same basic beats as past games in the series, but this isn't a direct sequel to the previous games in the line. As before, this game is all about the combat skills of Jack Slate of the Grant City Police Department and his dog, Shadow. The combination of melee attacks, third-person gunplay, and the occasional dog attack stand out a bit in today's world of pure, cover-based third-person shooters. But DTR is so rough around its edges that any sort of PS2-era nostalgia you might feel while playing it is nullified by awkward animation and very repetitive action.

As a reset of the Dead To Rights fiction, Jack Slate starts out without his dog at his side. At the outset, Shadow belongs to Frank Slate, Jack's father. But when the city's gangs start getting organized and start massing firepower that is way beyond their means, the already-burned-out Grant City turns into a huge war zone. Before long, that dog is under your control. The particulars of the story and its twists and turns aren't especially unique, but they stay out of the way enough to let you focus on the action. The game utilizes plenty of voice acting to keep things moving, both in and out of cutscenes. For the most part, the presentation is decent.

The bulk of the action in DTR is a cross between Gears-like cover mechanics and up-close punches and kicks. The shooting is mostly fine, with a pretty good variety of weapons that gives you new things to mess around with every couple of hours. But ammunition is frequently limited, leaving you to pick up guns off of your enemies (usually with a disarm move that lets you take someone's gun and shoot them with it) or rely on your fists to get the job done. The melee combat has a basic combo system, including grabs and a guard-crushing attack to get past defensive foes. The melee has its place, but since shots to the head end up being the fastest way to dispose of any obstacles you encounter, staying armed is a better move. Later on, you'll end up getting attacked by a few enemies at a time, making the melee attacks even riskier, though setting someone up for a takedown attack triggers a lengthy (and often lame-looking) kill sequence that gives you a bit of breathing room. Taking down enemies also fills a focus meter, which can be used as a bullet time effect. Unlike some other implementations of this system, you don't need a full meter to activate it, and you can turn it off at any time. Careful metering of your focus ability gives you the ability to effectively clear a room at will, provided you're a decent shot.

Tossing guys over the edge is a fast and effective way to clear the path ahead. 
Tossing guys over the edge is a fast and effective way to clear the path ahead. 
For those times when Slate's back is really up against the wall, you can call your dog into action with basic attack and defend commands. Shadow can topple and kill most foes, but occasionally he'll only be able to distract them, which still gives you plenty of room to finish the job yourself. There are also a few levels where you take direct control of Shadow. These are usually stealth sequences where the dog needs to get past a collection of patrolling enemies or kill them, hopefully without alerting the other guards. You can drag bodies out of the way to help maintain secrecy, but the animation for this looks awful. Shadow "drags" the ragdolled dead body around, but there's no actual connection between Shadow's mouth and the body. It's nice to have the stealth sequences around to break up the monotony of the game's regular combat, but the dog portions aren't especially exciting or difficult.

Perhaps the greatest issue with Dead To Rights: Retribution is that it feels like last generation's ideas and standards reanimated for a new set of consoles. Playing through this single-player-only game once is a decent time, but you'll probably find yourself bored before the game's conclusion, and there's no sort of cooperative mode or anything like that to help players find alternate ways to play. It looks and feels like a cleaned-up PlayStation 2 game. While that certainly gives it a weird sort of throwback charm, it's difficult to justify paying $59.99 for something so archaic.    
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+

38 Comments

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bigdaddyjack21

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Edited By bigdaddyjack21

Hey now

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The_Laughing_Man

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Edited By The_Laughing_Man

Not surprised at all. Game also got barely any press 

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Metal_Mills

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Edited By Metal_Mills

How is this series still going, seriously?

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Tetraphagia

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Edited By Tetraphagia
@The_Laughing_Man: Yeah, I don't remember hearing anything about it at all until, well, today.
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Y2Ken

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Edited By Y2Ken

I'm interested, but definitely not enough to actually pick it up, what with Super Street Fighter IV taking my time and some of my gaming budget for now...
 
Perhaps one I'll rent or pick up in the future, sounds like it should be going cheap soon enough. Looks like it has some good ideas. Don't remember the previous games at all though, and haven't heard anything on this one for quite some time (I remember someone mentioning the "Testi-kills" a while back though).

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SumDeus

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Edited By SumDeus

Wow, I remember reading about this game like a year ago. Yeah, not interested.

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Chris2KLee

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Edited By Chris2KLee

I have never player a Dead to Rights game. Looks like that won't be changing anytime soon.

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The_Laughing_Man

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Edited By The_Laughing_Man
@Tetraphagia said:
" @The_Laughing_Man: Yeah, I don't remember hearing anything about it at all until, well, today. "
No commercials. Nothing. I recall hearing about it way way way back when it was in the works..but..well..thats it. 
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ThePhantomnaut

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Edited By ThePhantomnaut

I will try it when I have the chance.

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Yummylee

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Edited By Yummylee

Will definatley make sure to get it one day. One...very far away day.
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louiedog

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Edited By louiedog

I've never played nor seen a Dead to Rights game before and have only an idea of how this game plays. I've watched the videos, but they only do so much. A quick look would be nice.

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Sharpless

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Edited By Sharpless

Testicle-ripping achievement? Tempting.

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Schizoid

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Edited By Schizoid

Hah, I knew it was going to be average just by the trailer. 

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zombie2011

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Edited By zombie2011

Shame, i really loved the first one. It was basically Max Payne with a dog.

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TadThuggish

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Edited By TadThuggish

Really, I was expecting 1 or 2 stars.  Those last couple Dead to Rights were the opposite of good.

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Bluethunder35

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Edited By Bluethunder35

Your prototypical 6/10 game. Not bad but not great. Not worth $60, either.

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LincoIn

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Edited By LincoIn

Nothing wrong with generic once in awhile but I'm with Jeff that it should NOT have been $60.

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berva

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Edited By berva

This game is fun, although the $60 price point is the issue here, wait for a reduction in price and give it a shot, worth a playthrough.

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hyperfludd

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Edited By hyperfludd

Sounds like a good gamefly game.

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AlmightyOne11

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Edited By AlmightyOne11

not my sort of game

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Milkman

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Edited By Milkman

Mmhmm...

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MisterMouse

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Edited By MisterMouse

Wow didnt know it was coming out this soon, interesting, and yeah it didnt look like this game had anything spectacular going for it

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ChernobylCow

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Edited By ChernobylCow

Hopefully this game does not have the awful Stripper dance mini-game from the first title.  I nearly broke a controller on that one.  Nice review, reads like a 3-star.

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EgoCheck616

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Edited By EgoCheck616

I've had absolutely no interest at all in this sequel, which is a shame because I thought the first game was pretty decent. But in the end all it did was make me want to play more Max Payne.

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OmegaPirate

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Edited By OmegaPirate

glad to hear it isnt absolutely terrible, ill stick it on my lovefilm(gamefly) for when there is a lull in releases!

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floodiastus

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Edited By floodiastus

Graphics actually look very good in this game, animations are not much good though. 
 
And one can debate the comical artstyle ofcourse....

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niamahai

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Edited By niamahai

This Vietnam Corporation game is no good =(
 
Well May is 'bout to hit so moar disappointments to come in:
PoP : Something sand of Something
Red Dead Revolver 2
Lost Planet 2
Alan "10-Hour" Wake
UFC 2010!!!!!!!
Blur
Skate 3
Iron Man 2
Split/Second
 
Lock your wallets boys&girls, or suffer fiscal annihilation.

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Hot_Karl

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Edited By Hot_Karl

This game got straight up dumped on shelves. I never really liked the first game, though it had some good ideas- found it way too frustrating to even finish. This just looks like an HD version of that, so I'm most definitely skipping. 
 
Unless I can get the game for $15 or cheaper by the end of the year and the points are easy. That's reasonable, right?

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TheGreatGuero

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Edited By TheGreatGuero

The testicle achievement alone makes me think this one is worth at least a rental.

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get2sammyb

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Edited By get2sammyb

It sounds alright actually. Better than expected.

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isles

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Edited By isles

already destined for the bargain bin, this will be half the price in no time at all.

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mmmskyscraper

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Edited By mmmskyscraper

Just noticed how terrible the box art is. REALLY? /Brad

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FuzzyLogic

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Edited By FuzzyLogic

I remember playing the first one and being frustrated with the controls then. Doesn't look like the updated version did anything to improve them.
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schtoor

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Edited By schtoor

Can't say I recommend it... but it's kinda fun in some Jean-Claude Van Damme kind of way, and I am planning to finish it this weekend.

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AndrewDean84

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Edited By AndrewDean84

I'm actually enjoying it.  It's like a mix of Gears, Crackdown and Max Payne(the movie).  The movie part being the part that makes this game a rental.  It's just dumb fun, kind of like Just Cause 2. 

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Bigandtasty

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Edited By Bigandtasty
@bigdaddyjack21 said:

" Hey now "

Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
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ryuken

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Edited By ryuken

I'll pick it up later, not too happy about the review  buuuuut its not shit at least. I still need to finish a few games so i can wait until the mark down.