SONY PSP REVIEW: DEAD TO RIGHTS: RECKONING

Imagine an aging Max Payne with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, failing eyesight and prone to fits of epilepsy. That's what you can expect when you play as Jack Slate in Dead to Rights: Reckoning.

Jack Slate may look young, but he's about as agile as an ancient Roman statue. The controls in this game are terrible. They are loose and sluggish. It's impossible to move Jack around with any degree of precision. Add a camera and a lock-on target with minds of their own and you've got a game with an unintentional, maxed-out, level of difficulty.

Slate is your typical hard-boiled cop. In this game he's out to locate a kidnapped informant that is scheduled to put away one of the city's most notorious crime bosses, Whisper. Armed with guns, a host of martial arts moves and his trusty sidekick killer dog, Shadow, Slate will be confronted by scores of lowlife thugs to which he will show no mercy.

As in the console version, this is a violent game. Blood splatters, necks snap and limbs blow apart. I like a good, gory, visual feast as much as the next guy but this game takes it too far. It forces it on you and eventually it loses the shock value.

Lots of enemies will be thrown at you. When you use the lock-on targeting system it just picks the enemies at random. It doesn't target the closest threat, you have to do that manually. One of the worst things that the game does is change from third to first-person perspective when you take a dive. These dives are Max Payne-like in that you can continue shooting while trying to get out of the line of fire. When you get too close to a wall or any kind of object the perspective shifts, throwing you into total confusion since you can't tell what it is you're looking at - at least not instantly. For a game that relies on quick reflexes this is inexcusable.

Slate can sneak up on enemies and break their necks. He can also disarm them and take their weapons. This is something you don't want to do in public - like when you're under fire. Unfortunately you will often find yourself without a gun when surrounded by enemies. If you can't disarm one of them in private you're in for an ass whooping. If you don't have a gun during a boss battle you're totally out of luck since you can't disarm a boss.

Sometimes the lock-on will target explosive items that are too close to you. At times it even detonated things that were in the opposite direction of where I was shooting. It's like the bullets were misguided missiles.

Shadow the dog makes a good sidekick but the only time you see him is when you "summon" him. You don't "call" him, that would mean that he's hanging around. The dog appears out of nowhere, attacks the enemy and then disappears from whence he came.

The multi-player Wireless Battle is basically a battle to keep your character under control. The same bad control system applies to this mode as well. The onscreen action is just too chaotic to be any fun.

There's lots of background detail to the environments. It has a rich, full, 3D look. The story is decent but it's told in a film noire style that falls flat. This ain't no Sin City.

This game gets no points for trying. Dead to Rights: Reckoning, in no uncertain terms, sucks.

PReview by Vaughn

Is it wrong to assume that by now, Jack Slate would get the hint and stay the hell out of Grant City? Surely there are other places he could move? How about Basin City down the road? He could hang out with Marv. Hey what about Gotham City? I mean, it doesn't take a genius to see that some of the bad folks in Grant City don't like Mr. Slate or his dog Shadow. As the song says "Hit the road Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more..." I'm guessing he ain't heard that tune.

Dead to Rights: Reckoning returns to crime-infested Grant City, as an important informant is kidnapped on the eve of the investigation of a major crime lord. Anticipating the worst if the crime boss is not brought to justice, Jack Slate and his K-9 companion Shadow thrust themselves into hostile gang territory to save the informant and bring peace to the City. Dead to Rights: Reckoning takes full advantage of the gaming power of the PSP, delivering advanced 3D graphics, surround audio design, and an advanced camera system that utilizes the handheld's widescreen display.

"'Dead to Rights: Reckoning' accurately translates the adrenaline-soaked combat of best-selling action series, and adds several new features that take advantage of the PSP hardware," said Pierre Roux, Executive Producer at Namco Hometek. "The game's unique ranged and melee fighting engine and stylish disarms are sure to make it one of the most action-packed games on the PSP when it is released this May."

Dead to Rights: Reckoning expands upon the blistering action of the series with a robust ranged and melee fighting system that allows Jack to spit lead and bust heads with ease, and an all-new selection of weapons and lethal disarms. Players will also have unprecedented control of Shadow, utilizing him to watch Jack's back and unleash savage canine fury on lowlife thugs. For the first time in the series Dead to Rights: Reckoning allows players to go head to head through wireless multiplayer death matches, adding hours of replay value to an already extensive single player campaign.

Fearless beat cop, Jack Slate is back in a hardboiled action adventure that blends the best of Hollywood cinematic style with Hong Kong inspired action. For the first time, Dead to Rights goes mobile, bringing its high octane brand of gritty noir action onto the Sony PSP. Featuring a new storyline, as well as new moves, weapons, and features, Dead to Rights is packed with action. Someone has kidnapped an essential informant in a high profile investigation of an untouchable crime lord called, Whisper. Jack, and his trusted K-9 partner, Shadow, return to navigate the corrupt underworld of Grant City and go bullet-to-bullet with an army of hostile gang members to rescue the lost informant before it's too late.

Features:

  • Dead to Rights has gone mobile! - Gritty beat cop, Jack Slate is back in an all-new, hardboiled action adventure for the Sony PSP
  • High-adrenaline gameplay, cutting-edge graphics, intricate level design, special effects, 3-D audio design, and sophisticated enemy AI push the limits of Sony PSP technology
  • New immersive storyline, new weapons, new lethal disarms, new hardware - Dead to Rights style!
  • Trusty dog Shadow returns! - Send Shadow in to wrestle enemies to the ground and finish the attack
  • Go head-to-head with your friends - wireless multiplayer DeathMatch gameplay adds hours of replay value
  • The perfect mix of mayhem! - Slow-motion choreographed dives, hardcore melee fighting, devastating disarms and super slick kill moves
  • Advanced camera system - takes full advantage of the PSP widescreen, allowing players to simultaneously track multiple enemies.
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System: PSP
Dev: Namco
Pub: Namco
Release: June 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Fenix
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
1.5
MUSIC/FX
2.5
VALUE
1.5