STAFF REVIEW of Dead To Rights: Retribution (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010.
by Sergio White

Dead To Rights: Retribution Box art After eight years of waiting, Dead to Rights has finally gotten a sequel - Dead to Rights: Retribution. The game takes place in the gang infested Grant City. You play as vice cop Jack Slate along with your handy and very vicious sidekick dog, Shadow. Jack must fight to expose the dark underworld figures exerting their evil grip over the city.

Without spoiling the game's plot for you, Dead to Rights: Retribution(DTRR) offers a third person action game with some neat gun-play and some awesome hand to hand combat. Jack?s fists can only keep him safe for so long. Eventually, he must pick up a weapon and fight fire with fire. You can use firearms to weaken enemies so that you can rush up and perform a melee attack or finish them from afar. If you run out of ammo, look on the ground for dropped weapons and ammo or send Shadow out to retrieve some for you.

You can also use a new "focus mode". While in this mode, you can make time slow down and take headshots with ease. Focus mode really comes in handy when you are up against large numbers of enemies with only a handful of bullets left. What really made this game fun was being able to throw a few punches at an opponent and then with a tap of the A button, disarm him and then follow up with a few shots. During the disarm animation, Jack auto targets the opponent's head and if you time it correctly you will be getting a headshot almost every time.

Hand to hand combat is what Jack does best. To survive in the city, you have to perfect his melee skills in order to keep breathing. Pressing the Y button makes Jack deliver fast strikes and the B button is for strong strikes. If you sense an oncoming attack, press the X button to block or move out of the way. There are a number of combos Jack can use as well. At one point during the early part of the game, you're able to practice your combos in a boxing ring with Jack's father and really get a grip on side stepping, counter attacks and grabs.

Once you have done a certain amount of damage to an enemy, you are then able to perform a takedown move. Takedowns are deadly and dependent on what weapons you are equipped with, so you will see a fair number of variants. The game slows down and shows the kill up close and personal, which is amazing to watch. The techniques make you wonder what kind of cop Jack is, but as they say, 'by any means necessary' and it appears that Jack follows this to the letter.

There are 10 missions which are about 25 to 45 minutes long but can be longer if you pick detective difficulty or higher on all missions. The missions take place in various locations around Grant City. However, it's not all gun play and fists because Shadow has his own sections too. As you progress through the story, the two of you can team up and
fight together. Using the D-pad, you can command Shadow to pick up dropped guns, defend you or stay put in particular spot. However, the most useful tool is sending Shadow to take down enemies. Shadow can also be used when you get robbed and need a bit of time to heal from a hard hit to the body; this is especially nice for some enemies who are more adapt at hand to hand fighting and will rush you.

The Shadow specific missions; where you actually control Shadow, give the game a completely different angle. As you can expect, hand to hand and gunfire fly out the window in favor of some stealth based play. His missions around normally centered around fetching an item from an enemy which requires sneaking past guards. However, you're able to perform attack moves and silent kills, which slows the pace down and feels more like a traditional stealth game. You can also get enemies out of hiding with a bark, or by holding down the left trigger you can sense enemies through walls. It almost feels like Shadow has x-ray vision and adds a more welcome change to the game.

The graphics in this game are nice to say the least. There are some dark locations and some great character designs. Whenever you encounter a new and tougher enemy, you will be giving a cut scene showing off the characters in a makeshift introduction. You'll fight with somewhat blocky animations in poorly lit and wet streets that are run down. Overall, the graphics are good. Every so often you will get
a glitch, such as whenever you kill an enemy and walk over them they will start spinning around like a rag doll. None of this breaks the game but it does get a little bit boring when you see these kinds of things happening consistently.

While playing each mission, there are hidden badges to find and collect. Collecting these badges to unlock extra art work will give you two achievements worth 40G points, which I am always a sucker for. The game took me about 8-12 hours to beat on detective. This game has no multiplayer at all. It would have been nice to see co-op or even an online leader board of who can get through the missions the fastest. I would like to see some extra missions brought to the game as DLC because that might be the only reason to keep this game once you have beaten it.

Overall DTRR is a game which looks pretty good and the combat is dynamic. The game can get a bit repetitive and by mission 10 you will be glad it?s over rather than begging the game for more. The game does try to put some variety in there by controlling Shadow in a few missions, but these times are so few compared to all the shooting and punching you do as Jack.

I don?t see this game being in any top 10
games to play list anytime soon. The lack of replay value in this game is a major downfall. All in all, the gameplay is very realistic and well done, but the game did let me down after I had so much fun with the first one.

Overall: 7.2 / 10
Gameplay: 7.2 / 10
Visuals: 6.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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