We see a lot of titles that are based off a big-screen adaptation these days. Around five years ago, we would have expected mediocrity from licensed titles, but developers such as Rocksteady and WayForward have shown us that good things can happen from these little romps – if the said game is handled correctly. R.I.P.D. The Game tries to ditch substance and provide players with a wave-based third person shooter, featuring elements from the movie and plenty of power-ups and the usual fare mixed in. It sounds like a simple concept, but that is exactly the kind of game that works for licensed brands these days – and at a lower price point than usual, most would easily indulge in this game on idea alone. Does R.I.P.D. The Game do enough to warrant a purchase? Let’s find out.
With most licensed titles, I would normally have a little “Story” section at the beginning of the review, but R.I.P.D. The Game has nothing even close to a narrative, so that is one element fans of the flick should not expect. Instead, this title is a wave-based shooter that features the likeness of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, who are tasked with arresting and taking down “deados” (think the zombie equivalent of ghosts) throughout several encounters on each stage. Sound familiar? Well, that is because this title gets a lot of its inspiration through the likes of Gears of War 2’s “Horde Mode”. Its a simple concept that has been proven successful as a bonus add-in for a lot of games, but on its own, there just isn’t enough content at large to be worthy of a purchase.
Allow me to explain that, as even if this were a Horde clone, it would still be a decent time-killer. The main concept of R.I.P.D. is to collect gold from enemies by simply surviving and making arrests. After defeating a few waves, one of the deados will be golden themselves, and you will have the choice of making an arrest or an execution by standing close to the downed for a specific amount of time. That concept works fine, but the gameplay doesn’t lead anywhere. The only type of progression is the leveling system – or “Gold Meter”, which takes around six stages to level up. After all of that work, you are told the battle must continue on – to which you simply repeat the same process again and again until the final boss shows up.
Along the way, you can level up, upgrade, or switch out a small arsenal of weaponry in-between stages by spending the salary awarded upon stage completion, but most of these weapons don’t feel that different from the next other than the grenade launchers, so aside from a few joke items like a banana that cost an absurd amount of in-game currency, you shouldn’t expect for your guns to feel very unique during this journey of monotony. Making matters more troubling is the lack of variety with the enemies, as these gun-toting deados have minor differences from each other, meaning you will see either a standard thug, a door-toting foe, or a bigger, more substantial threat that can kill the player with as little as a touch. A balancing factor of power-ups was implemented here, where you character can summon a turret, regenerate health, or blast all on-screen enemies with one button tap, but these only come available with a certain amount of enemies killed, and must be used wisely due to how long it takes to refill that ability bar.
The stages themselves are well made and feature fauna that is interactive, meaning if you blow up a bunch of crates, they can be used as cover. Sadly, there is no true cover system at hand here, as these environmental obstacles are your only protection from the large amount of bullets you will face. There is no crouch button – only a roll that can be problematic amongst chaos. I can’t count the times I rolled the wrong direction and suffered a kill because of it, and that frustration leads to an overall product that simply feels rushed and lacking of polish.
The shining moment of R.I.P.D. comes in the form of the game’s multiplayer. Two players can partner up to do the same type of wave-based fare, and like with many similar experiences, this title feels more enjoyable with a friend. At the start of a stage, players can place bets as a form a competition, where the one with the most headshots, kills, and so on will be rewarded for over-achieving with a nice cash bonus. Challenges also come up from time to time, and try to get the player to think outside the box when gunning down enemies. These challenges include the likes of not using abilities during an encounter, making a certain number of headshots, or fighting off enemies with a melee attack (that is so close range that it is nearly impossible to execute without taking a hit), and while the idea works, I had many of these challenges glitch out while playing, freezing the objective at the top of the screen while other challenges were literally pasted over the tasks later on. Again, this is simply the execution at fault for this small headache, and did not happen on every stage – but did occur enough to prove rather irritating.
Visuals and Audio
If I had to say anything positive about R.I.P.D. without a “but” being involved, it would be a bit of praise for the visuals. The first time you start the game, you are treated to an awesome comic-book styled cutscene, which shows good things to come in the form of a story. Reynolds and Bridges also look fantastic as well, and even enemies’ models appear to be out of a much better product with a good amount of color and detail applied. Its when you start playing the game that you realize that nothing is as it seems, as it is almost impossible to tell if you are even damaging an deado due to no proper hit detection, and the animations prove to be stiff and lifeless for a good portion of the in-game experience. Sure, it looks nice in the menus and at the start, but after a few minutes of hammering 15 headshots into one foe with very little to show for it, it becomes obvious that the production budget for R.I.P.D. was used for less important portions of the game.
The music in the game is generic and grinding. There is no other way to describe it. This is a game you can play for 20 minutes during each stage, and the same looping track that serves as no atmosphere whatsoever is made present, making the experience less exciting and borderline “lifeless” (no pun intended). There is a very small collection of dialogue pieces that reek of cheese as well, but this is based off a Ryan Reynolds flick, so that does not effect my opinion whatsoever as I kind of expect that with any film from the actor. I can even say that some of the lines have a tad of charm that foreshadow a product that might have had more, but was rushed out before more could be added in.
R.I.P.D. The Game is a title that doesn’t take any risks and leads the player in circles, with little incentive for progression other than frustrating moments of gameplay and weapon upgrades that cost an arm and a leg. As I mentioned, you could get some life out of this title if you have a friend to suffer with you, but that can only go so far, so other than the decent visuals and solid level design, there isn’t a lot else to see in this “in the middle” licensed romp. Wave based shooters are really starting to take off as a genre and the simplicity of the concept would indeed make for a perfect licensed title. However, R.I.P.D. The Game is not a good example of what can be done with the genre, but more of a repeat of why gamers are so distrusting with anything based upon a bigger namesake. Sure, there is entertainment to be found here, but with much richer experiences on the market, R.I.P.D. The Game is simply a title that misses its mark and does little to stand on its own two feet.
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