Manâ€™s best friend has, for a long time, been a well behaved pup. But this summer he’s going to turn bad in Namco/ Volatiles third instalment of the Dead To Rights series, Dead To Rights: Retribution, which is set to see the toughest crime fighting duo in gaming, Jack Slate and Shadow, return to clear up the mean streets of Grant City.
Starting life on the Xbox back in 2002 as a timed exclusive, Dead to Rights introduced the world to Jack and his faithful Alaskan Malamute/wolf hybrid partner, Shadow. They blew a hole through the first game and a prequel, as well as a PSP spin off. The past games all received mediocre reviews and a luke warm reception. So, four years later, Namco have decided to reboot the franchise from the ground up while keeping the core game play and the protagonists the same.
So this time around, the story is a lot darker than the last and sees the focus of the game shift from gun and run to more hand to hand combat. Jack has an uncompromising fighting style, seeing him raining down bone crunching punches and kicks, but also having the skill to disarm thugs,with encounters often ending in a snapping of limbs. On top of this Jack can us the weapons he has taken from his enemies but can only use the ammo that remains in the gun. Once it is spent, he throws the gun away in a sort of Mirror Edge style gun play. This means combat is more hand to hand focused, rather than a constant fire fight. But by far the star of the show has to be Shadow, who is by Jacks side at all times and who is more than capable of incapacitating enemies with a bite to the jugular or, far worse, a wince inducing bite to the crotch.
The seedy grimy streets of Grant city have been redesigned from the last games and look a damn sight better, thanks to the new engine. But the odd thing from the last game is that it looks like Jack and Shadow have been to the gym and have got ripped, Gears of War style, showing what four years off duty can do and he even sports a dashing Alpinestar Jacket. Also the whole game has taken a darker edge than the previous games.
The game plays like a cross between Max Payne and Gears Of War. There is a robust cover system that works much the same as that of Gears but once it all goes down, combat is fluid and this is helped by a combat system that makes it very easy to pull combos in the heat of the fight. Also, when Jack gets into a fire fight, he can use Max Payne style bullet-time adding that John woo style feel to these encounters.
You will also get to fight with Shadow and, thanks to Volatile, our furry friend moves in a realistic dog like way. Shadow can run and jump because he is very agile, he can also fight, Whether itâ€™s creeping up on thugs in a stealth way or full on throat ripping assault. But also playing as him you will get to see the game from a different perspective, along with having his own objectives separate to that of jacks. Hopefully there will be lots of sections where we will get behind the paws of Shadow, as these will mix up the game play from time to time.
So all in all Dead To Rights : Retribution is shaping up to be an action packed return to the streets for our crime fighting duo, though for the full and in depth review be sure to check back in April.
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