This year has seen some really good games and some really bad ones. What we have here is perhaps one of the latter once again for very obvious reasons. For one thing, here’s yet another game with the name “Retribution” on it, which is usually not a good sign at all. For those who do want to give it a chance before passing judgement, then proceed with caution.
Ride to Hell: Retribution is about the life on the road as an outlaw biker, or a One-Percenter as they like to be called. It tells the story of Jake, a Vietnam War veteran who had joined an outlaw motorcycle club. The year is 1969 and it’s a time of much change, especially for those who had come back from the war. The culture is rife with rock-and-roll music, hippies, and bikers who would go on to rule the roads and fight their own wars against rival gangs. With his brother having been murdered by another biker gang, Jake is out for revenge.
This game was announced back in 2008 and due for release in 2009, then disappeared like the Loch Ness Monster when it was quickly cancelled. It then reemerged early this year, and most people wondered what it was, having forgotten about it from 5 years past. We have to remind ourselves that 2008 was quite a long time ago, and we’re now at 2013 when next-gen consoles are being released and the gaming public is even more finicky than ever. So when a game like Ride to Hell gets released, you can be pretty sure that it will really get ridden to hell, pun absolutely intended.
It has become a beat-em-up action-adventure title, courtesy of Eutechnyx after Deep Silver Vienna had closed down. That’s fine since much of the outlaw biker lifestyle in real life is about bar room brawls and raising hell all over the place before riding away. In between the beatdowns and drug trafficking, you get it on with the ladies, who offer their bodies in exchange of favors. This seems enticing, but it does turn out to be less impressive than expected as it only results in a sequence with quiet and cloathed snogging that may be arousing only for pre-pubescent players. In fact, one thing they really got right from the whole biker culture that may not do the developers any favors is the blatant misogyny, which is already quite a problem in gaming.
Aside from being cringe-inducing for people who still have a shred of self-respect, the gameplay is quite repetitive and tedious. The enemies are brainless, the gunplay is slow and cumbersome, the melee combat is just button-mashing emptiness, and the rest is just you riding on your motorcycle from point A to B on dirt roads without much else in between. These just repeat over and over again, and the story really isn’t anything to stick around for.
Even if you’re a player who doesn’t mind repetitive button-mashing action, you’ll be disappointed to find out that the combat system itself doesn’t work well at all. The controls are rather spongy in feel, and melee attacks tend to whiff a lot. The camera also gets in the way, going all over the place almost like it’s having a seizure. You can also get stuck in various places that don’t even seem like dead ends, just plain old flat floors. The game seems rushed, even though it had been five years in the making. In the end, it’s just such a disappointment.
To top it all off, there are two other titles announced to be released to make this a series. Ride to Hell: Route 666 is set to be released in PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade and focuses on road combat, while Ride to Hell: Beatdown is a mobile game awaiting a release date. Retribution isn’t exactly a good place to start, but it may hopefully be salvaged if these other two titles actually rectifies what their predecessor had staggered over.
Going from Metro: Last Light to this, it’s not really looking that good for Deep Silver. Their release of Dead Island:Riptide was met with a rather lukewarm reception, and they’re about to release games like Saint’s Row IV, Sacred 3, and Killer is Dead, all sequels of known franchises. We can only hope that Ride to Hell: Retribution is just a setback for this year, especially since Deep Silver isn’t that bad as a publisher anyway.
Too bad since the premise isn’t half bad anyway, and the lead character looks like a more realistic version of Jim Raynor from StarCraft II. If it had been given more time and attention, then perhaps it would have been something better.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 3/10
If you really want to see just how bug-infested this game is, watch this.