Review: Ride To Hell: Retribution is a biker's tale gone horribly wrong
The writing probably could've been seen on the wall from a mile away. Ride To Hell: Retribution was in the works for what seems like ages over at Eutechnyx, then mysteriously got cancelled and taken off the Deep Silver website in 2009. It somehow resurfaced with a rating and a release date a few weeks back, but, upon contacting the publisher for a review copy, it stated they weren't being distributed. And the game's price point? Half of what a retail game normally sells for, $29.99. I should've known what kind of trouble I was in for with Retribution…but I jumped in anyway, curious to see if it was as much of a train wreck as indicated.
And boy, is it. This is a game that offers nothing of redeeming value, even if you're a hardcore fan of Sons of Anarchy or anything else that celebrates bikers. In fact, the only thing that survives unscathed is the music – and even that is drowned out by some of the worst voice acting you'll hear this year. If you ever heard real bikers talking like this, you'd probably think they rode around on tricycles. Yep, that bad.
Anyway, the story. In Retribution, which takes place in 1969, you play a Vietnam vet returning to his biker roots, only to run afoul of rival biker gangs and other thugs. So, in the traditional biker way, you try to answer back the best way you know how – through violence.
The problem with a game like Retribution is that you don't really feel anything. The main character isn't established enough whatsoever, and the tempo of the game goes all over the place. One minute you're sitting behind a turret mowing down guys for no apparent reason; the next, you're back on the back. Then you're in a street race that ends with a gun standoff, then a fistfight, then one of the most putrid sex scenes you'll ever see in a game. ("Oh, baby, you're a hot biker. Let's do it with our clothes on," said no one ever.)
There's also no redeeming value for the gameplay. At all. Your bike controls badly, as if it's never touching the ground. Worse, the road travels offer no genuine variety. No rival gangs to surprise you from behind, and only occasional traffic to weave around. Sure, you can power slide – unrealistically so – but it just gets old fast. You just motor along, meet your objective, get into a dull quick time event-powered fistfight or gun battle, sell the occasional drugs, then go to the next one. You never feel progression or growth with your character. You just motor on – but if you're smart, you won't bother.
Also, the graphics in this game are below average. The towns you visit have that biker sense to them, I suppose, but the character models appear unfinished, with wavy hair that moves unrealistically, dull facial expressions that fail to dictate how they feel, and animation that can jump all over the place. Even the women in this game look undesirable – and that's a no-no considering this is a biker's world.
Like I said, the music is great for a game like this, but that's Ride To Hell's only forgiving factor, and it's certainly not worth 30 bucks. Everything else – the repetitive gameplay, the poor graphics, the hideously bad voiceovers, that awful love scene – just screams "stay away." If you really want to celebrate glorious violence from Deep Silver, just wait a couple of months for Saints Row IV. It'll certainly beat being stuck with this undesirable piece of road kill. Yech.
[This game was purchased for review on Xbox 360 – then, thankfully, returned]