R.I.P.D.: The Game Review
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
R.I.P.D. The Game is a third-person shooter (based on the movie of the same name) released by Saber Interactive and Old School Games, the same companies that brought you God Mode. R.I.P.D. stands for Rest In Peace Department, and the game puts you in the shoes of one of two main characters: Roy Pulsipher or Nick Walker (depending on which one you choose). In the game you are responsible for clearing the Afterworld of souls who don’t really want to head off to the afterlife. There’s not really much more to say about the plot of this game other than if you like straight run-and-gun type games, this one is for you.
Although the premise of this game had promise, it failed to deliver with anything further than an opening introduction. Players expecting a game with any real character development, or motivation to push forward will be truly disappointed with yet another online-only co-op game and little else. What’s truly unfortunate is that players will most likely have many unsuccessful attempts at a quick match game with others, and may therefore decide to go it solo, as the queues tend to be long and yield few results for those wishing to play cooperatively. At the start menu, you have your skill level and the character that you want to play as, and begin with a shotgun and handgun. After a brief introduction to the game, you are put directly onto the field to shoot your way through waves of ghastly invasions.
While you only start out with the handgun and shotgun, you’ll get the option to purchase other weapons in-game as you earn money from completing objectives. The weapons that can be purchased are a Submachine Gun, Harpoon Gun, Assault Rifle, Automatic Shotgun, Revolver, Grenade Launcher, Hunting Rifle, Banana, and Hairdryer. Now, most of these can also be upgraded to make them more powerful as well, so you may want to save your money for upgrades instead of buying new equipment, especially if you’re really good with a lower-end weapon. Keep in mind this does not include the Banana or the Hairdryer, as those novelty weapons come as-is and cannot be upgraded at any point. There are also consumables that you can use to enhance your gameplay. These range from bulletproof vests to adrenaline. But be careful because all of these cost money.
Here’s where the game really lost touch with being entertaining: though the character that you play can run, it’s not nearly fast enough to outrun any of your enemies, as spirits are just slightly faster than you, attempting to elude your foes at any time proves to be very annoying. However, while this mechanic is frustrating, what might make players want to throw their controllers through a TV screen or two is the aiming mechanic, where (like previous Saber Interactive, Old School Games releases) the aim is grossly inaccurate, but unlike God Mode, which was only slightly off-centered, R.I.P.D. The Game is completely off the mark. There were enough problems in the game when trying to hit a far off target with a pistol, but missing completely with a shotgun up-close is another matter entirely. In order to really do some damage with a shotgun, players not only have to be standing completely still but must also have the reticule completely aimed at the enemy. This mechanic is not pointed out to you when you begin the game, and leaves players to figure it out as they play. If your aim is off by even a slim margin, you will miss. This is the case even if both you and your enemy are standing stock still directly in front of each other – a game of chicken I wouldn’t recommend as it would seem the developers have decided to supply some of the A.I. with sniper rifles.
On the upside, the graphics are designed fairly well. There is a lot of detail put into the game itself in the different battle arenas. They are quite large and offer you a fair amount of hidey holes in order to try and get away from the bad ghosts for just the right amount of time to catch your breath. From cars sitting and waiting for you to hide behind, to little nooks and crannies to try and lure the Deados into there is a lot of detail put into the game’s visuals. There are seven different locations to choose from that include a Meth Lab in an abandoned warehouse, the Vault with its wide open spaces and office areas, Terrace Bar on a building rooftop, Beacon Station that is a multi-level subway platform, Charlestown Bank taking place in a construction site, the multi-leveled Bullpen and the Public Library with lots of book shelves and stairs. Each area has its own unique characteristics and layout to learn and use to your advantage. You’ll find yourself trying to hide around corners and running up and down stairs, but be careful not to get boxed in or you’ll be out of commission before you know it. As for the Deados, they do all look fairly similar to us, barring different sizes, and some have more grotesque faces. Be very careful of the bigger ones as they are extremely hard to kill.
The game itself is very fast-paced and will keep you on your toes because you don’t get much of a chance to stop and rest. Even the pause between waves is fairly short. One of the levels, the library, provides the best amount of cover and movement for your character. In the level, you’ll have lots of staircases to run up and bookshelves to hide behind as you’re taking out the Deados. This map was one of my favourites simply because all paths seem to lead to the center quad of the library. It made for a good way to run up one staircase and down another to try and sneak up behind your enemies. Overall, the game does have the potential to be fun, but it does need to have more than one player. However, because this is an online-only game for co-op you don’t have the option to play split screen for more than one player.
There’s nothing really to write home about for the sound, and you are limited to the standard background music, which is a basic rock beat. It’s kind of catchy, which is lucky because it is the same tune repeated over and over again, but not irritating enough you’ll be paying too much attention to it as you are running around your map. Aside from gunshots or explosions, there aren’t too many special effects, and it’s surprising that there are no voiceovers in the game.
Overall, players may find that there just isn’t enough substance in this game to really hold their attention. The gameplay and Deados are highly repetitive, and because there’s no real storyline, little or no online players, and the aiming function is completely off, it may be challenging to really sink your teeth in and enjoy this title. It may feel as though the game was rushed to get out in time for the movie. For fans of the movie, however, this may be something worth picking up, if nothing more than being able to play as your favourite movie star.
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