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Dead to Rights: Retribution
Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Volatile Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games America
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

I’ve always held a special place in my heart for the Dead to Rights series. When the first game launched on the original Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube  back in 2002, I thought it was the perfect mix of cheesy  Hong Kong B-movie plot, so bad it’s good dialogue and  of course – over the top action.

Now almost an entire decade later, the series is getting a reboot, and as much as I’d like to say it’s showing its age – it’s not; mostly because it refuses to. Rather than rely on the formula which made the original enjoyable, Namco Bandai tries too hard to reel in fans of modern day action games like God of War, Uncharted 2 and Gears of War and as a result, Dead to Rights: Retribution is a game that tries to do a lot, but manages to do very little right in the process.

To put the gameplay in Dead to Rights: Retribution in its most simple context, think back to games like Double Dragon and Final Fight – enter an area, kill a bunch of bad dudes who all look the same, advance to the next area and repeat. Only here, you’re going to add an extremely gracious helping of over the top gore. Now, I’m no prude or anything, nor am I a stranger to violent media, but trust me when I say that the violence comes off as a bit much here. It doesn’t help that you have a canine companion who seemingly only knows two tricks; investigate and maul brutally.

"The targeting system is pretty straight forward..."


Just as in previous games in the franchise, you play the role of Grant City cop Jack Slate with aforementioned canine companion Shadow. Only this time Shadow looks like he’s just about to go rabid and you’ve gone from clean-cut good cop, to messy emo-haired anti-hero bad cop. I don’t like to nitpick, but it all just seems so forced. Anyways, the story revolves around Grant City’s street gangs all banding together against the police and citizens, meaning you’re going to have to shoot a lot of people.

The shooting in Dead to Rights is actually one of the game’s best features. The targeting system is pretty straight forward and you should get the hang of each of the different weapons (which are quite different and fun to shoot) rather quickly.  The main problem though is that none of the guns really hold that much ammo, meaning you can’t even get used to one gun before you’ve got to move on to the next, which more than likely came from one of your fallen adversaries. When taking heavy fire, the game encourages you to use the cover system, which feels like a shoddy version of the system in Gears, but I couldn’t help getting frustrated when my character would take cover on the wrong side of an obstacle, resulting in heavy damage and death.

With a passable shooting mechanic, it’s a wonder that the game makes such a strong push for an almost broken melee combat system. The set-up itself is pretty straight forward – you’ve got a heavy attack, a light attack as well as a block and some combos thrown in for good measure. The only problem is that there’s really no way to lock on to enemies, so rather entering a room with any sense of strategy, your game plan is reduced to wildly swinging and hoping you don’t take on too much damage. You do have a few other moves, like the disarm, which results in you taking the gun from your enemy and shooting them in the head (which is admittedly satisfying) and the take down, which is just what it sounds like. After performing enough of these, you’ll have the chance to unlock bullet-time (did you know it was 2002 again?) and at times you’ll be able use Shadow to maul opponents, which is a bit entertaining, but it just feels like there could be so much more done here.

"...a lot of the animations and characters are very sub-par."


Dead to Rights: Retribution has some impressive visuals if you know where to look. The environments and kill effects are pretty cool looking, but a lot of the animations and characters are very sub-par. The worst offender? Shadow by far.  He just doesn’t look or behave like a natural dog. He’s more of a ghost-dog, he doesn’t have a defined face and at times he doesn’t even walk on the ground, but hey – he can maul people all cool like, so it’s all good right?

I have fond memories of the original Dead to Rights and was hoping to relive them in HD glory with this re-imagining, but instead I was disappointed. Dead to Rights: Retribution plays like a game that has no idea what it wants to be and as a result is a poorly executed, unfinished feeling game that’s bound for the bargain bin. 



CHEATS USED: Achievements List, Trophies List

There are no cheats for Dead to Rights: Retribution – but with an old school (remember, that’s not always good) feel, don’t be surprised if some are found before long. I’d love to see an unlimited shadow and unlimited bullet time cheat, along with of course an unlimited health and unlimited ammo cheat.

Or hey..what about a cheat for a decent targeting system?



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