Dead to Rights II: Hell to Pay – XB – Review

The original Dead to Rights hit consoles a few years ago
as Namco’s answer to anti-hero cop shooters like Max Payne. The game doesn’t
really offer much in the way of improvements over the first Dead to Rights, the
action still feels way too monotonous and repetitious and the camera is still a
huge pain. If you were able to look past these issues in the first game, then
there is a chance that you will have a good time with the sequel. However, if
not, then Dead to Rights II will be a similar exercise in disappointment.


Dead to Rights II puts you back in the role of Jack
Slate, a hard-nosed renegade cop with a personal vendetta against street gangs
and thugs. You basically go around on a vigilante crack down, kickin’ ass and
taking names, killing all bad guys in your wake. The reason behind this parade
of carnage is that a judge friend of your murdered father has been kidnapped and
it’s up to you to rescue him.


Those who played the first Dead to Rights should feel
immediately at home with this one. The game is a third person shooter where you
have a ton of weapons at your disposal, ranging from shotguns and SMGs to
canisters of flammable gas that you toss at enemies and shoot to explode. You
also have a dog, Shadow, that you can have attack your enemies if you don’t feel
like shooting them square in the face. Also, similar to Max Payne, you can
perform bullet-time dives, where the onscreen action will slow down as you lunge
through the air, allowing you to target and pick off foes in slo-mo. Jack can
also perform a variety of close-combat melee moves, including disarms, as well
as use close range weapons like baseball bats and such to pound baddies.



Dead to Rights II basically functions on how quickly you
can tap the right shoulder button and the A button, as they are your targeting
and shooting buttons, respectively. While you can perform the other moves
(bullet-time dives, dog moves, etc.), most of the game can be completed using
that simple pattern. That being said, the game feels very simplistic and can
grow repetitive very quickly.


The AI is also pretty weak. The hordes of enemies that
you take on exercise no real tactics, instead just rushing you and shooting you.
They are pretty easy to take down; the only real challenge comes from how many
rush your character at one time.


The level design is also very simple. The stages, which
occur in generic “edgy-cop action-game” areas like strip clubs and gritty back
alleys, are very basic, having you run from one area to another without much in
the way of diversion.



The graphics are also quite poor, not really improving
much at all from its predecessor. The game does have a few nice lighting and
explosion effects, but the character models are still terribly simplistic and
lack any real detail. The camera is also a huge burden, getting too out of the
way of the action, getting caught on objects and walls and generally being a
pain in the butt.


The sound is generally bad as well, with weak and
muffled sound effects and some truly horrible voice acting and script writing.
The music is also annoying, meaning that this is one game best played with the
sound off.


Dead to Rights II has some cool things going for it, but
ultimately isn’t much of an improvement at all over the original. The gameplay
is still repetitive and uninspired, the graphics still weak and the storyline
still overly cheesy. If you really (I mean, really) liked the original
game, then Dead to Rights II is worth a shot. Otherwise, don’t expect this
sequel to change your mind about the series. 


Review Scoring Details for Dead to Rights II

Gameplay: 6.0
Dead to Rights II
is a simplistic action game that grows stale and repetitive very quickly. While
there are some cool elements, like bullet-time dives and disarms, most of these
are unnecessary to complete the game, and the aim and shoot mechanics get boring

Graphics: 6.5
The game does
offer up some cool looking explosions and lighting effects, but the character
models still look weak and plain, and the animations are a bit robotic.

Sound: 6.0
The sound is
pretty weak, with muffled effects and lousy voice acting. The music isn’t much
better, as the repetition in the score gets annoying before too long.

Difficulty:  Medium
The challenge in the game comes from the sheer amount of enemies it throws at
you at once, but not from any complexity in their tactics.

Concept: 6.0 
Dead to Rights II
isn’t much of an improvement over the original and instead falls prey to most of
the same issues.


Overall: 6.0

If you could get past the issues with the original game, then you might consider
this one for a rental. Otherwise, leave it be.