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Score: 6.5 / 10
Some of what makes Dead to Rights: Retribution so
endearing is its many, many flaws. It's like a crumbly cookie. It doesn't always
stick together like it should even if it tastes good enough to brush cookie
crumbs into your palm and cup it to your mouth to finish it.
There's story of corruption and conspiracy (or something) that throws killer cop
Jack Slate and his canine pal Shadow into the middle of Action, with a capital
for emphasis. Besides the usual action game roster
of guns, Jack has a full complement of hand-to-hand options that typically
result broken bones and/or a bullet to the back of the bad guy's head. (You know
it's a really, really bad guy, otherwise why would cop do that, right?) Jack can
also dodge, etc. and enter a bullet time where each headshot buffs the amount of
remaining. Chaining shots like this can make quick
work of a large swathe of bad guys.
It's definitely in contrast to the portions of game where you assume control of
Shadow. He lurks in the dark corners, assessing targets then tearing out the
throat of some bad guy bystander. Or possible going for the testicles. It's all
very brutal, but Shadow's a dog so it makes some sense. It also makes me think
gaming is ready for a 3D action game with a killer dog as the main protagonist.
Is the cookie stuck together a little better, all of this extreme violence might
have been more enjoyable, at least outside of the straight camp value. (If
you've played Earth Defense Force 2012, you know immediately what I mean.) The
enemy AI is predictable, typically running straight at Jack; ordering Shadow
around is hit and miss; there's zero help when it comes to targeting enemies
(i.e. no lock-on function); and the animation can be disjointed and completely
bizarre. All these things come together to create something that's greater than
the whole, which doesn't mean it's an awesome game but it's a guilty pleasure.