previews\ May 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Dead to Rights: Retribution - 360 - Preview

Pre-E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

Retribution is not so much a sequel to the Dead to Rights franchise as it is an "re-imagining" of DtR, but in many ways the game backtracks the story just a bit and focuses how the main protagonists – Jack and the rather large dog that accompanies him, Shadow – came to be together and why they are together.

But don’t think that this is the Dead to Rights game you have played before. There are been a lot of changes made to the game.

The Namco Bandai representative showing off the game during the chaos of the company’s pre-E3 event in San Francisco recently, stated that “when we re-evaluated the game, there were no sacred cows. We looked at the game from the ground up.”

Combat has evolved significantly in the game. “The idea was to make the fighting smart.”

Dead to Rights: Retribution PlayStation 3 screenshots

An action game played from the third-person perspective, the levels were built around the concept of using not only enemies but space within the environments. Jack can launch attacks to the front, but also deal with enemies coming in from the sides. He can grapple them and toss them behind him into onrushing attackers. There is a meter that you can build up that when triggered will slow down time and allow a bigger window for countermoves. Also when Jack disarms an opponent, he will not automatically shoot them; rather players can decide whether to manually shoot the opponent, or use the weapon in melee mode.

During the demo, it was stated that a lot of third-person action games overlook the story, but not the team behind Retribution. Eighteen months were spent on the storyline and the team wanted it to be “emotionally resonant” with the gameplayer. As such, there were moments when, during voice-over work, “that man-tears were shed” because of the emotional connection built into the game.

There are levels where players will take on the role of Jack, levels where they will play as Shadow and levels where Shadow is an AI-driven partner. But even on those levels, care was taken to make the AI as smart as possible. For example, if Jack dives into cover, rather than stand out in the open and give away their presence, Shadow should also move into cover.

Dead to Rights: Retribution is a visceral game that does contain a certain amount of blood and gore. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Dead to Rights: Retribution could well be a very strong showing for Namco Bandai in the year to come.

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