…We’re finally here, huh…?
…How late even is this thing..? A couple of weeks..? Couldn’t have been more than 2 months…?
Ever since I lost a bet with Luke and Craig a mere 157 DAYS AGO (22 weeks and 3 days, for reference – JUST short of half a year), where I was tasked with not shitposting for 24 hours (I lasted a meagre 32 minutes…), I’ve been given this heavy weight. The weight of writing a 1000 word review of one of the worst games on the face of this very earth. How was I meant to do this? How would I structure it? Would I end up insane, or dead by the end of it..?
…After playing it, I certainly hoped that the former was truer than the latter.
Hello. Welcome to another one of my ever-so-wonderful reviews. Possibly the most jarring review I’ve ever had to write from my 7 months working as a part of Respawning…
…Let’s get straight to it, shall we? And you know what? Sod it. Let’s make this 2000 words.
Ride to Hell: Retribution released it’s holy demeanour to the world on June 24th, 2013 on PS3, Xbox 360 and Steam, developed by the illustrious Eutechnyx Games, and farted out by Deep Silver, of all people. What resulted of this was a horrible, offensive, disgusting mess of a game, Ride to Hell: Retribution.
The game WAS originally planned for a 2007 release on PS2, PC and Xbox, however after the Duke Nukem Forever treatment amply broke its’ ankles, it was canned until the next generation of hardware. Looking back, I was 10 years old when this game was announced. Even 10-year-old me would’ve wished this game sat in the fires of Hell for all eternity.
The game didn’t even initially get a proper announcement of it’s return, instead being noticed to appear on the Australian Classification Board sneakily before a proper announcement was made. It really was like Eutechnyx were trying to slide this one under the carpet.
Set in 1969s’ California, you play as the pinnacle of masculinity and 4-year-old power fantasies, Jake Conway; a Vietnam war veteran that has returned home to his family, only to meet the local, hostile biker gang known as the Devil’s Hand who hold both him and his brother, Mikey, up at gunpoint over the jacket that Mikey wears, supposedly belonging to him and Jake’s father – The leader of Devil’s Hand, Meathook, refutes this, and ends up shooting the pair. Jake survives (Spoilers), however his brother does not. Jake’s now set on an ‘epic journey’ of revenge, seeking to eliminate the Devil’s Hand. Sounds…Alright so far, doesn’t it?
Well, be prepared for that wonderful feeling of hope to be utterly squashed.
The game itself has a number of immoral, silly, and often downright stupid decisions that Jake uses to get closer to the Devil’s Hand members – One example I noticed was an area of the game where Jake had to climb over an electric fence.
Now, think for a minute – If you were faced with an electric fence blocking your way, what would you do?
A) Dig under the fence?
B) Cut a hole in the fence?
C) Drive a car through the fence?
D) Follow the fence until you find it’s power source, a gigantic power plant, and end up killing every single innocent worker inside and end up blowing up the entire power plant, cutting off electric access to thousands, causing one of the largest terrorist attacks that this fictional America would’ve ever seen, and then scale the fence?
He chose A. Oh, by the way – That was sarcasm. IT WAS D.
Jake literally cannot fathom the idea of alternative access, so he decides to go and kill dozens of innocent people and cause millions in property damage and inconvenience a whole county to just go and climb a fence.
The plot reads like a children’s action novel, filled to the brim with plotholes, abandoned characters, muddled character motives and much more – I mean, you could’ve easily had that section be justified in a plot sense if Jake was closer to the plant, and had something such as PTSD trigger from his time in the Vietnam War? Then he could’ve gone into a spiral of regret and depression and we could’ve seen some actual god-damn character development.
Ahhrrrhh indeed Jake. Ahhrrrhh indeed.
Now, I’ve spent like 700 words talking about nothing but how I hate the main protagonist and the game’s origin…But how’s the combat? To answer your point bluntly. It’s DREADFUL. Combat attempts to make some half-arsed attempt at copying the Arkham games’ combat, mixed with 3rd person shooting elements from a game such as Gears of War, but in the end of the day all it devolves into is kicking enemies to stunlock them, and shooting them in the chest or head. Speaking of headshots, some enemies have headshot immunity – How you ask? Through a welder’s mask? Through a steel helmet? Through some other means of protection?
…Enemies in this game become immune to headshots upon wearing a Hockey mask. I’m serious. Plastic is the new ballistic vest! Wrap yourself in cricket gear and survive any form of mortal injury!
…All I can imagine now is Jake running into the Vietnam War wearing cricket padding and a hockey mask. Eat ‘yer heart out, Iron Man.
Have fun trying to even hit them from any distance other than point blank, however, as Jake’s accuracy is similar to what you’d expect a 5 year old’s to be at one of those cork shooting games you’d have at a funfair or carnival. Bullets have no impact, deal barely any damage (Kicking seems to do more), and as I mentioned earlier, tanks who have massive HP and do massive damage are better off dispatched through blowing them up using barrels.
The worst part too is that so many of the enemies in this game have absolutely nothing to do with the Devil’s Hand – Cops, Truckers, Workers, Civillians…There’s no end to Jake’s bloodlust. Added to this are enemies that are so ridiculously powerful with their HP set to stupidly high values that it literally takes 2-5 minutes to kill a single tanky enemy – These mobs, however, are only to divert you and delay you from the real horror of this game’s playstyle…
The game is split into two main sections – The beat’em’up sections detailed earlier with the combat trying to mirror Arkham, and the even more-wonderful Motorbike sections, which place you on a linear track with a handful of enemies to dispatch, jumps to take and obstacles to overcome – Enemies always follow the same AI patterns, as they always drive up to your left or right side, and slow down just enough for you to hit them with a button press – The real challenge, in not only the driving sections, but in all of Ride to Hell: Retribution, however, lie within the absolute bugginess of the driving – You’ll constantly fall through textures, dying by invisible walls, drift and crash into seemingly nothing, and have enemies explode at random, sometimes glitching out the kill counter so you’re forced to restart.
Just trying to survive these driving sections is a challenge in-of-itself. Jake should, by no means, be allowed a license, let alone be able to drive anywhere with roads.
Moving on from gameplay, however, I’d like to talk a second about this game’s interpretation of people. Not just demographics, but people in general. Everyone in this game is an idiot, through and through – Bikers are presented, regardless of affiliation, as serial murderers, rapists and gangs that do nothing but pillage, plunder and rape like pirates of old – Women are seen as gullible objects that want nothing but to have sex with Jake, and Jake himself is seen as the token “Angry good guy” – A far cry from other characters who fill this troped slot amazingly well, like Asura from Asura’s Wrath. Jake frequently hops from woman to woman like a bee pollinating a garden of flowers, having his way with them immediately after other horrendous events, such as a woman about to be raped, or a woman just after her husband was killed. Yes. Women literally drop their underwear for Jake within a second.
…Except they don’t.
They literally don’t.
Move over Mass Effect, Ride to Hell: Retribution is here to revolutionise the sex scene, with it’s awkward, fully clothed, ridged cutscenes and awful voice acting, leading to make me believe that these scenes were meant to be a ‘reward’ for players for completing certain portions of the game, sort of like how you’d get a new powerup in something like Metroid.
Cycling back to voice acting, Ride to Hell: Retribution is good for one thing – Showing us exactly how not to manage voice acting; the entire thing sounds muffled, as if it was recorded on the loo, with characters really giving it their 1%, giving hazy and lazy performances, brilliantly terrible quotes, and really giving about as much of a shit as the devs did creating this game.
See the below compilation, created by Ｒｕｓｈｎｅｒｄ to see exactly what I mean…
” ‘Lewk ‘laahd, this is the part where yous’ beg ‘fer ‘yerh ‘laiyhvuhs; ‘yehr understand? “
Not only does the voice acting hurt the ears more than nails on a chalkboard, but the audio direction of sound effects, background audio and other such related aspects of sound management all take a massive hit; gunshots, explosions, door sounds, car engine noises, and even NPC grunts all sound like they were ripped off of a royalty-free SFX website. I kid you not, it’s that bad, and the game looks and sounds like one of those Unity-cobbled games you’d see in the sludges of Steam’s Early Access department.
Ride to Hell: Retribution, not only was a single failure, however – Two more games, namedly Ride to Hell: Route 666 and Ride to Hell: Beatdown were spin-off games set to release post-Retribution for PS3 / Xbox 360, and iOS / Android accordingly – 666 actually released, being entirely focused on the driving aspect of Ride to Hell: Retribution, allowing the player to create their own gang; standard stuff, no?
Ride to Hell: Beatdown, however, is the one gem that I am so disappointed was cancelled. The little peak on this shit pie known as the Ride to Hell franchise, Beatdown was pitched to Mobile devices, and was meant to be, from what I can find, a rhythm ‘rock’n’roll rhythm beat’em’up’. Just imagining Jake or one of his cousins or something smacking badly animated bikers to ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ or something stupid and then having sex with a woman upon every song cleared just sounds like something that would’ve solidified this franchise into the very hottest depths of Pandemonium. A trio of games so devilishly horrendous that they could use it as a method of torture.
Ride to Hell, as a franchise isn’t bad. It’s not horrible. It’s not even horrendous. It’s downright abhorrent, disgusting, and mechanically and productively scarring. This game damaged me. Damaged me in ways I never knew I could be damaged. And as such, I wish for nothing more but to wake up from this nightmare. Only rehabilitation will set me free. Please. Someone. Anyone. Give me something good to play. Something amazing. I need it to wipe this plague out of my mind.
God knows I need it after playing this.
Incase you’re curious of a rating…
I would rate Ride to Hell: Retribution a 0.000001 / 10.
Also, expect some videos of me reacting to some of this game coming soon to our YouTube channel!!
…Could it be…?!
…The light in this never-ending darkness…!
…The one thing that can cure my never-ending pain…!!!
Stay tuned for more!