It’s a story that you’ve likely heard before – a giant metropolis crumbling away from the greed and corruption that infects it.Â A renegade detective hell-bent on serving justice, but he plays by no man’s rules.Â A canine cohort with a bloodlust so intense, it’s only satisfied by ripping out every jugular and groin in the proximity.Â Okay, maybe not the last one.
Dead to Rights: Retribution is a detective drama that follows Jack Slate and his K-9 companion Shadow.Â Jack is a cop in Grant City, a town that would give Gotham a run for “worst place to raise a family”.Â At the start of the game, you need to deal with a hostage situation at a local news station, but things quickly evolve into something much bigger; something that infects Grant City from the inside-out.Â To boot, Jack’s quest transforms from “career obligation” to “personal vendetta” early on when he sees his father murdered in cold blood.
Let’s face it; for the most part, we’ve been here before.Â The story is very clichÃ©, and the game seems to acknowledge the fact.Â There’s plenty of dialogue that will either make you cringe or grin from ear-to-ear.Â However, this is a good thing.Â It means that Dead to Rights: Retribution doesn’t take itself too seriously.Â It knows that it’s not going to change the way that you view video games.Â It has a “B’s and C’s get degrees” mentality about itself that keeps it from missing the point, and ultimately, provides the player with a flat-out fun experience.
Dead to Rights: Retribution is another student from the school of Gears of War.Â That is to say, it’s a linear, third-person, cover-based shooter.Â However, the combat does have some unique elements to it.Â Most surprisingly, Dead to Rights: Retribution features both a strong armed and unarmed flow of combat.Â There were several times when I had a gun in my hands, but chose to attack an enemy with my hands for no other reason than “I felt like it”.Â Even though the unarmed fighting is as simple as “Y for fast strike, B for strong strike, and B+Y for an unblockable guard break”, there are quite a few combos that you can employ to keep the gameplay feeling fresh.Â The icing on the cake is that whenever you have an enemy’s health down to the point where he’s almost dead, a prompt will appear to push the “A” button.Â This executes a finishing move that perfectly showcases what a blood-thirsty and savage warrior Jack is.
If you think that’s scary, you should see the man when he has a gun in his hands.Â Dead to Rights: Retribution features a decent sized arsenal ofÂ firearms, which is good because you never go too long without running out of ammunition in at least one of your guns.Â You can only carry two weapons, and often times you need to disarm a new GAC guard to have even one in your possession.Â The ranged combat plays just like you’d expect it to – that is to say, it’s functional with no real shortcomings.Â However, the enemies can be real bullet sponges if you’re shooting them in the body, which is why you need to aim for the head.Â To make head shots even sweeter, every one comes with a moment that slows down time for a split-second.Â It’s cool in the same way that in Fallout 3 you’d think the VATS slow-motion shooting sequences would grow old, but they never really do.
The truly unique aspect of Dead to Rights: Retribution is the Shadow stealth sections.Â During these, you usually need to retrieve something for Jack, which means that you need to pick off at least a dozen guards one-by-one.Â Sneaking around as Shadow, you need to take down each guard, and then drag the body somewhere where it won’t be located by another guard.Â If two guards are too close to each other, you can let out a little bark to get one of them to come and investigate.Â Then, sink your teeth into his fleshy, vital parts.Â The sections that you play as Shadow are relatively few and far apart.Â This is probably for the best so that the novelty never really wears off.
Speaking of Shadow, he’s incredibly useful on the battle field.Â If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the enemies, you can send him in to attack one of them.Â Worst case scenario: he’ll distract them long enough for you to get the situation under control.Â Best case scenario: Shadow will maul the enemy to death and that’s one less you have to deal with!Â However, the biggest problem with Shadow is that he can be too overeager to see action.Â Too often he’ll wander too far into a battle and get incapacitated.Â He also makes for an easy target for snipers and rockets when you’re taking cover, but he’s inexplicably standing in the open.
There’s also a few miscellaneous things to mention.Â First, the game features “Focus”, or as you may know it by, “Bullet-time”.Â However, it doesn’t come off as a staple of the game that they try shoving down your throat; it comes off as an entirely optional feature that I found myself only using when I was in dire need of a head shot or two.Â Also, following my favorite new trend in Xbox 360 gaming, Dead to Rights: Retribution features Avatar Awards!Â Two of the cooler ones are the GAC Helmet and the GAC Armor, but there are five in total.Â Take note developers – Avatar Awards are a good thing.
The bottom line on Dead to Rights: Retribution is that it’s just a fun game.Â Like I said before, it’s not trying to change the game; it’s happy being a player.Â It seems to know what it’s audience wants – that is to say plenty of bullets, blood, and carnage, and Dead to Rights: Retribution makes sure to deliver on all three accounts.