Dead to Rights: Retribution Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Dead to Rights: Retribution box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Volatile Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Namco Bandai 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 27, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Alternately, you can run at them full-bore and bite them in the crotch. The Shadow segments definitely give the game a unique feel, but also lead to some very strange moments. For example, in one level Jack sends Shadow into a military base to disable an electric fence by peeing on a pair of generators. A single noise from the dog sends the entire base into high alert. When the segment is finished, Jack calls Shadow a good boy, congratulating the dog on successfully killing a half dozen people. It's one of the weirdest moments of master/dog bonding that I've ever seen.

Dead to Rights: Retribution screenshot

I do suspect that developer Volatile Games didn't take Retribution too seriously and knew that certain elements would seem unintentionally comical compared to the grim, straight-faced games that dominate the action genre. After a saggy middle, the game becomes more interesting as it goes along and tasks you with increasingly outlandish goals. At the start of the game, you're taking out gangs and following fugitives. By the end of the campaign, you're fighting sci-fi airships with a hand gun and donning power armor to mow down goons that look like low-rent versions of Half-life 2's Combine.

It's the goofiness that helps elevate Retribution above blandness - it's not a particularly good-looking game, nor is the sound that impressive or the plot that engaging. Even with a fairly short run time, it gets a bit boring and redundant at times. There's no multiplayer and not a ton of incentive to play through the campaign multiple times. In other words, if it weren't for the all-out strangeness of occasionally playing stealth segments as a dog or the nods to old John Carpenter movies, Dead to Rights: Retribution would be even harder to recommend.

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All in all, Dead to Rights: Retribution is a perfectly average game. In a time when the economy is bad and games cost $60, most players will have a tough time justifying a purchase. However, if you give it a rental or borrow it from a friend, it's worth checking out. It's not going to be anyone's new favorite action title or blow your mind in any way, but it does what it intends to do reasonably well. If the game focused on brawling over gunplay a bit more, perhaps it would have worked a bit better. As it stands, I really doubt that the Dead to Rights series will continue beyond this entry. At least the final chapter in the saga isn't a total embarrassment.

By J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.1
Graphics
Characters look slightly cartoonish and dated, but the art style is consistent, if a bit bland.
3.6
Control
Jack Slate has a lot of moves, and the control scheme generally handles the mix of melee and ranged combat well.
3.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is decent, but the score and sound effects are forgettable.
3.0
Play Value
A reasonably solid action game with a few good ideas, but definitely a step below the top-tier franchises.
3.0
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Two Playable Characters: Vice Cop Jack Slate - Pick off enemies with your side arm or get up close and personal and take them down with your bare hands. Shadow - Sneak up on enemies and kill them silently, or rip into a group and flush them out for Jack to take down!
  • Satisfyingly Brutal Disarms/Takedowns: In the face of danger, turn your enemies' weapons against them with aggressive disarms or execute all-new lethal takedown moves!
  • Fluid Combat System: Seamlessly blends ranged combat with most robust brawling system ever seen in a shooter! Pump enemies full of bullets or destroy them up close…the choice is yours.
  • Intense Hand-to-Hand Combat: Take on enemies with branching combos and counters or throw them into each other! Engage multiple enemies at one time with the "360 hand-to-hand" feature.


  • Screenshots / Images
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