R.I.P.D: The Game Review
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On 08/05/2013 at 02:21 PM by Darby Lawson , Chris Yarger
You have been saddled with the job of bounty hunter for the dead, which would be cool….but this game is DOA.
For those of you that want mindless entertainment for about two minutes of your life.
So, you’ve died. Kicked the bucket. Bit the dust. That’s unfortunate isn’t it? You may think so, dead before it was your time to go. Now you have nothing to do except gaze upon the mortals. Wait! Not so! Not when you get the badass job of bounty hunter, hunting souls and returning them to the underworld. There you are, partnered up with a senior hunter, and you get cool weapons to fight the Deados. You’ve got skill on your side, wit, and you’re the good guy. Imagine it: A super cool job in the afterlife, filled with danger and excitement for your enjoyment. Now you get to live through this fabulous life in a game with just that type of character! This game could be amazing! Unfortunately, as cool as the idea behind the story is, the game doesn’t live up to any expectation you might have had.
While Darby was busy setting up the game, I was off on my own in the lobby exploring and crying to myself like a lost child in Wal-Mart. There were different weapon load-outs to select from and each player could carry any two weapons at once, ranging from a pistol and shotgun combo to a… banana and hairdryer? Yeah, I have no clue what the banana or hairdryer do, but they cost $250,000 a piece! Regardless of the banana/hairdryer, there are a total ten different weapons to choose from and you were left to pick any two to take with you. The variety was nice, and the ability to upgrade the weapons made the selection even better and gave the game a nice custom feel.
After choosing the weaponry of my choice I set out to pick my consumable, which in theory wasn’t necessarily a consumable as much as it was simply a passive effect. There were consumables that enhanced your armor, set targets ablaze with your bullets, and also gave you the ability to heal your partner with bullets. You only get to choose one consumable per level, and the only one I ever really found useful was the one in which raised your ability bar faster. The others sounded good, but I felt as if they were as useful as a squirt gun trying to fight a fire. There were plenty of good intentions, but they just didn’t hold up well.
Before the game launched, Darby and I were then greeted with a Bets screen. The initial betting function seemed to take forever, as we weren’t exactly sure what we were supposed to do, but the second and third betting screens went by fairly quick. Essentially, you alternate turns in picking which bet you DON’T want, and the last bet remaining is the wager at stake. Bets varied between who could take less damage and die less to who could use more abilities and the winner would receive extra gold after the match to be used on buying more weapons and upgrades.
As a game based off of a movie, I wasn’t really expecting a lot, but I mean, come on…we could have had a little bit of detail in the game. I’ve come to expect a certain level of fidelity in graphics this generation, even in smaller titles. From what I saw, the character’s backs looked quite nice. But when the Deados got anywhere close to you, it was frightening. Not because they really looked like tortured souls bent on the destruction of humanity, but because they lacked so much detail that their faces looked like twisted blobs of flesh with black dots for eyes. There was a lot of clipping as well. Suddenly, a Deado would just join with my body and I would have a wildly flailing arm coming out of my torso trying to hit me. It was ridiculous. Even with the subpar detail, areas took far too long to load. This resulted in random grey splotches on my screen as the current map loaded in. It was frustrating since I couldn’t really see the area I was heading into…for all I knew, I could be trapping myself in a corner. It’s almost like the developers only cared about how the main characters looked, and even that they did a fairly half-ass job. They really tried to make the two look like Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds (who play the main characters in the movie of the same name), and they did to some degree…but more like a poor cartoon version of the two. Over all, the graphics in the game were disappointing at best.
The game plays as a third person shooter that is as smooth as sandpaper fighting a wart covered leprechaun. The aiming mechanics were so atrocious that I actually had to stop playing for a while to check to see if I was having a caffeine- induced seizure while battling unknown symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. And to make matters worse, whenever I was aiming at a Deado they would suddenly fly across the screen as if they had gasoline and rockets up their ass.
The game overall felt like a giant horde mode in which you picked a level, fought hundreds of Deados, and then fought a boss. Whenever you defeated the boss you had the option of either arresting him or putting a bullet in his head. I often opted for putting a bullet in his head just so I could end the match quicker since arresting him often played like a match of King of the Hill in which you had to hold your position while fighting off mass amounts of Deados. Each match would last through five rounds; the first and third of which would have a randomly chosen challenge to finish, such as gathering five collectibles within a minute or killing a set amount of enemies in a highlighted area. At the end of each match, you were rewarded with money for weapons and upgrades, as well as Gold used to reach the final level of the game.
There really was no story mode in the game until you reached the final level, and then the mechanics of the game changed completely. Throughout the entire game, you basically fight in an arena, but in the final level there were actually things to do such as opening a door, or moving room to room in an apartment while clearing out hordes of Deados and numerous bosses. Why the game didn’t do this throughout its entirety is beyond me, but it was a splendid change of pace despite having an immense difficulty spike in the final level.
One of the more interesting points in the gameplay is the ability to use your supernatural powers. There are five abilities total to use, ranging from the ability to heal to a smart bomb-like move that clears the immediate area of enemies. Of these powers, I only found the stationary chain gun and the smart bomb to be of any real use. The rest of them seemed pointless and did little to add anything to the gameplay.
I know we were supposed to be fighting the dead, but the AI could have had more life to it. The bad guys run at you in exactly the same pattern, and since all the bad guys pretty much look the same in their respective classes, it’s easy to predict what their next move is. There’s no method to the way the bad guys work—they all just mob you and hope to kill you in the swarm. The ones that hang towards the back are the ones with guns, and even then they will sometimes try to rush you and smash your head in with their weapon. It’s ridiculously predictable. Every single person uses the same hiding spots and routes to get to you, so just find a spot with your back against the wall, and you’re all set for each encounter. Each level is even the same; the same enemies come at you from roughly the same direction, in the same order. There’s absolutely no diversity, which makes it frustrating to play.
I agree with Darby that the game was predictable, but I found it difficult to play effectively. Your characters can take way more damage than your average living type person, but when it came time to find a place to hide and regenerate health you’ll find yourself trying to take cover in an open area with little cover and absolutely no cover mechanics. More often than not, my idea of taking cover was trying to hide behind a beam and praying to any God of my choice that I wouldn’t be struck down by a stray bullet. Luckily though, the AI was extremely predictable so I was able to hide away while aiming a shotgun in the doorway, therefore mowing down enemies as they fruitlessly rushed at me.
While R.I.P.D was difficult and erratic, the basis of the game was fun. It brings to mind the classic hack and slash, so wading through droves of enemies is the fun part. The bad part is there isn’t enough good in the game to hold any water in an argument. Chris pointed out that this game had a lot of potential, but it never really got there. To me, it just seemed that the developers never wanted to put any effort in the game. They were just trying to push something out. For me, it was atrocious at its worst times, and disappointing at its best.
As the flaws glaringly stared me down like a lunatic in an asylum, I felt as if the lunacy would’ve been better served if it was simply medicated, or further polished and less repetitive with the arena combat. The game actually became interesting at one point; however it wasn’t until the final level in which it actually started to make a turn for the better. The betting system and variety of weapons was a nice touch, but the repetitiveness and the overall feel to the game held this game back indefinitely. While I wished that there was more to it than a basic horde mode followed by a final climatic level with actual interactions, it was mindless fun and the poor aiming mechanics actually helped to make the game difficult regardless of having myself filled with more bullets than the typical dead body should be able to handle.