SONY PREVIEW EVENT ’09: Dead to Rights: Retribution (Hands-On)

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At this year’s Sony Preview Event, we had a chance to get our hands on with a very early version of Dead to Rights: Retribution.  Namco’s reboot of this third person shooter franchise introduces us to Grant City, Jack Slate and his overly obedient dog Shadow.  As we play through the build, we  shoot, punch, and bite our way through an enemy stronghold in a city where the enemy is the Police Force made up of hired mercenaries…oooohhh…rebel!  

The gray, dismal, and futuristic setting of Grant City seems somewhat generic in the genre of third person shooters only re-enforced with the no- nonsense lead character of Jack Slate right down to his character design.  You initially get that feeling that you’ve played this game/character before.  There’s also familiarities  with a cover mechanic with semi-destructible environments, and vintage slow motion effects entitled “focus mode” when things get a little too crazy for you.

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As for differentiating factors, the primary element is your companion dog Shadow.  Almost serving as your sacrificial lamb, Shadow can be utilized to serve as a distraction as your enemies look to jump out of their cover and dispose of him quickly, while you approach from a different angle catching them off guard.  Shadow can also run and fetch weapons from nearby fallen enemies and later on in the game, you have the ability to control him changing up the gameplay being that he can’t shoot or engage in hand-to-hand combat.    Retribution’s melee combat will also serve as a unique selling proposition for the game as it’s depth is reflected by the aggressive and intelligent AI, the number of combo strings at your disposal and finishing maneuvers ranging from strong attacks or close range shots whether it be yours or your opponent’s weapon. 

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Though the gameplay was early and very rough, Dead to Rights: Retribution contained a couple promising gameplay elements that has the potential to set it apart from an otherwise generic game.  With an early 2010 release, Namco still has time to polish and work on a game that is on the right path to re-invigorate the franchise proper.  Sean C.

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~ by consolecreatures on October 8, 2009.

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