I had a good ritual for this year's Comic-Con. To get myself hyped up for the event, I decided to play a string of games based on comic books. Batman the Video Game for NES made the list, along with the recent Deadpool ("BOING!") and Batman: Arkham City – just because. But then I made a little mistake – I added R.I.P.D. the Game.
Never heard of it? Well, that's fine, because neither did we until we actually saw it in the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network. The game, based on the bomb of a movie of the same name (it only made $12 million in its opening weekend, off a $130 million budget – BOMB), has you playing as characters from the film, portrayed by Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, as you face off against hordes of undead enemies using whatever firepower you can get your hands on, ranging from pistols to assault rifles.
What could've been an interesting foray into the Dark Horse comic storyline – and maybe some form of vindication for the movie – is instead a one-note effort lamely slapped together by Oldschool Games. This is the sort of licensed crud that we thought we got rid of long ago, back in the Acclaim era of awful games. However, this one emerged unscathed, and has left us painfully wishing we never would have touched it.
R.I.P.D. is miserable in pretty much every department. Let's review…
First, there are the graphics. At first, it almost looked like Oldschool Games would pull off its own take on the Gears of War style of play, complete with Bridges in a cowboy hat and some creative zombie types. Only problem is, the design doesn't get very far. The in-game visuals glitch up way too often, the environments are dull and unoriginal, and the carnage isn't even satisfactory. It's a half-assed effort in the design department, put together with very little imagination.
As for audio, it's boring. The in-game music isn't very inspired (Oldschool's jingle before the game starts is way better than any of the blaring guitar tunes), and the voice work is shoddily put together. Granted, if I were Jeff Bridges or Ryan Reynolds, I wouldn't want anything to do with this mess either. The weapon effects are also disappointing, and the zombies sound like they phoned this in. When the undead don't give an effort, folks, there's a problem.
Then there's the gameplay. Imagine every retread that lame third-person shooters have had over the years, then throw in the kind of problematic collision detection that will send you cursing out of the room. Or, worse yet, gun controls that don't really give you the accuracy you deserve. Five minutes with R.I.P.D. and you'll be deleting it off your hard drive to get back to your precious Gears of War.
There isn't much content to the game, either. Some of the in-game challenges are decent, but hardly satisfactory. The betting system is broken and uneventful, and there's no story mode, as the game is made for co-op challenges, for the most part. Sure, it's only a ten-dollar title, but I've seen games going for five that offer way more depth than this.
The worst thing about R.I.P.D.? Who published it – ATLUS. Yes, the guys behind the forthcoming Dragon's Crown and the brilliant Shin Megami Tensei IV somehow added this to their roster. My guess? Someone lost a bet during a poker game and forced them to publish this. That's the only feasible excuse.
In the end, R.I.P.D. has nothing going for it. Any appeal that was left over from the drab movie is gone with the game's set-up, and the presentation is moderately weak, even for a downloadable title. Leave this one rotting in its grave and go play something else to satisfy your comic book needs.
[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]