Super Mario Sunshine is, for me, for the Mario IP what Majora's Mask is for Zelda. It's that one game in the series that it seems like most people love but that I just detest. I've got a couple of friends who also didn't enjoy Sunshine, but the general consensus seems to be that this game is fantastic, and I just don't see it.
My most immediate issue with Super Mario Sunshine is that it just feels awkward. Like, maybe it shouldn't, but so many things about this game make me just uncomfortable. Mario's short sleeves. Peach in a short sleeve dress. The fact that Peach, Toadsworth, Bowser, and Bowser Jr all have fully voice acted dialogue. Like, maybe I'm just a crotchety old man who's stuck in his ways, but that stuff just made my skin crawl. The game's mechanics themselves and the setting aren't bad, but the whole thing just felt a little off, and I think that mostly stems from FLUDD. It was a cool gimmick for a while, but it started to feel like it took the emphasis off of the platforming somewhat to focus on that gimmick.
When I think of a Mario game, I think of a platformer that has interesting power-ups that, while extremely helpful, are all completely unnecessary to complete the level. Sure, some level specific gimmicks are great, but that's a level built around a gimmick; the game itself remains pure platforming. Sunshine seemed to replace some of the platforming with the FLUDD gimmick, and nothing highlights that better in my opinion than the complete lack of power-ups. Sure, you can swap between a hover, rocket, and boost nozzle for FLUDD, but those didn't even come close to feeling like actual power-ups. A lot of the levels also felt more like the focus was "squirt this thing with water until this one thing happens" rather than "do this platforming." There are some totally straight up platforming levels, and I loved those even though they got really tough, but most of the game just felt like it had lost its identity.
The game does, at least, look absolutely stunning. It's obvious that they were showing off the Gamecube's hardware prowess with Sunshine because this game looks better than some PS3 and 360 games I've played if you take into account the difference in resolution. The presentation is bright and color, aspects that are core to Mario's identity, and the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic. It's just a shame that the game mechanics fell short of the audio and visual performances. Well, the voice acting was also a major negative mark for me because was just creepy and uncomfortable, but that's much more subjective an assessment for me.
I really tried to like Super Mario Sunshine. I played it years ago and hated it, so I let some time pass before trying it again because I really WANTED to like it. I wanted to say "Wow, I was crazy years ago! This game is great!" But it's not. It's definitely not a bad game, but with a pedigree like Super Mario, this isn't up to par. The gimmick takes emphasis away from the platforming, Mario's controls feel less responsive and tight than both past and previous titles, and the bizarre choice to have every major character minus Mario himself fully voice acted with dialogue just comes off as awkward. I think it's a game that every dedicated Nintendo gamer has an obligation to play at least once, but I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed it.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on Windows
Omega Quintet is another love-it-or-hate-it Compile Heart JRPG that, as anyone who's familiar with Compile Heart's games in the past decade or so can tell you, plays exactly like every other JRPG Compile Heart has made. I, personally, think that's a fantastic thing. It also means, however, that you didn't like one of Idea Factory's and Compile Heart's other recent JRPGs, you probably won't like this one, either, since it's basically the same game with different characters.
So the story of Omega Quintet is pretty familiar for Idea Factory fans. There's this world-threatening evil phenomenon that's spawning seven or eight different monsters each of which have approximately half a dozen palette swaps and destroying human civilization, and only a small group of scantily-clad young girls possess the ability to fight this evil. These "Verse Maidens" have the ability to weaponize their voices...or something...which allows them to slay these monsters and sing the portals spawning them out of existence. Yep, it's exactly as stupid as it sounds, but for the specific type of weeb that loves Idea Factory's shenanigans (read: me), it's gloriously stupid. Leading this group of ladies is their "manager" and the main playable protagonist, Takt. I say playable, but that's only technically true; he's "your" character and who you run around as in your home base, but he isn't usable in dungeons, and he's only usable in battle in a support role, adding an occasional weak bonus attack or taking some of the damage of an enemy attack for your party characters.
The gameplay is your pretty standard modern turn based JRPG. You pick a character to be the "leader" of the group who becomes the character you see while running around, and you explore dungeons to find items, plot flags, and bosses. There are no random encounters instead opting for Idea Factory's recent norm of having contact with monsters in the dungeon start a battle. When you get in the battle, the combat is pretty standard. Rather than having a "your turn/enemy turn" format, the turns are based on each individual character's stats and actions. You get a certain number of action points each turn, and the more of those you use, the longer it will be until your next turn. If you just use one action and then defend, your character's next turn will come a lot sooner than if you used all four of your hypothetical action points to attack. There are some other nuances - using "Harmonize" to have all of your characters attack repeatedly one after another in a giga-combo of death - but that's the basic. You have four basic types of attacks. First if your regular attack that doesn't use any energy. Then you have magic attacks which use special energy and have particular elemental affinities. Third are your "mic" attacks which also use special energy but are based on the type of weapon you have equipped rather than a specific element. Fourth are a kind of special or super attack. These are technically still mic attacks, but in addition to using a large amount of special energy, they also use "Voltage" which can be charged up to 5 points by dealing and taking damage. These aren't attacks you'll use often because of the voltage and energy requirement, but they deal devastating damage when you do use them.
When I mentioned the mic attacks, I mentioned that they were based on what type of weapon you're using. There are six (but really five) types of weapons. The type that I don't really count is the sword because only Takt can use that weapon type, and that's also the only weapon type that Takt can use. The other five types, however, can be used by any of the five girls and can be changed at any time though each weapon has an affinity stat with each girl that can be leveled up by using that weapon type and determines how many action points they get. These five weapon types are the battleaxe, the spear, the sniper rifle, the brass knuckles on steroids, and the fan. Each of these weapons have varying levels of effect based on distance between the character and the enemy.
Your battles are broken down into 8 "levels" with regards to field positions. There are five rows on which enemies can be, and your characters are on three rows. In general, you'll want your longer ranged characters like those with sniper rifles or spears on the back rows, but that's not always the most advantageous place as battles get more complex. Suppose that your enemies are all on the fifth row of the enemy plane causing a serious drop in damage and accuracy for short range characters even if they're on the front row. That would be too much distance to have your sniper on your back row, so in that case, you'd want to move them up front even though that opens them up to more damage. On lower difficulties, this isn't as much of a concern, but it will make or break a fight on higher difficulties. You can tell a certain weapon or attack's ideal range by the color of the enemy field when you have the attack selected and are choosing a target; green indicates the ideal range, blue indicates a good effective range, yellow indicates a sub-optimal range, and red indicates that it's a seriously out of range attack. Even in the red ranges, your attacks will still do damage, but they'll suffer big penalties to accuracy and damage upwards of 25%. Likewise, if your attack is in the green range, it will enjoy a boon to accuracy and damage upwards of 25%.
My biggest problem with the game is the character development. They're almost all ass holes. Seriously, like they're all total jerks to each other. They'll have moments now and then of being cute or sweet, but for like 90% of the game, they're dicks. I'm totally cool with having one or two characters with generally rude personalities, but it's pretty much the entire cast of the game. The only one who's mean a minority of the time is Otoha, and that's mostly because everyone's always being mean to her so she's the target more than the one doing the targeting. It just kind of put a damper on what would otherwise have been a cute harem titty anime game. >_< The game DOES, however, feature a separate set of hit points for your character and your character's clothes, and when those outfit hitpoints reach zero, then you've got a cute anime girl fighting in her underwear. I love this game. :') There's also a music video choreography minigame of sorts, but it didn't seem to have much effect on the core game, so I never really messed with it.
Omega Quintet is a pretty standard Idea Factory/Compile Heart JRPG. Have you played Megadimension Neptunia VII? Then you've pretty much played Omega Quintet. There are a couple of little gimmick differences along with the character and setting differences, but in terms of mechanics and actual gameplay, they're pretty much exactly the same. Idea Factory doesn't really push the envelope far, and its games are pretty niche, but if you're like me and dig that niche, then you already know that this is a great game. My one big complaint is the ending. There's a normal ending and a true ending, and the normal ending is...not really an ending. It's basically "After the final battle, nothing changed, so let's keep killing monsters to protect the city!" That's it. No resolution whatsoever. Other than THAT, though, I had fun. I'm probably being a little more generous with this score than I should be, and I did start to feel a little bit of game fatigue towards the end, but all in all, I really enjoyed Omega Quintet and the few little unique elements it had. I'd recommend it for fans of titty anime games.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4
Red Dead Redemption is a game that I hear about all the time and have for years, but I never hear much the predecessor, Red Dead Revolver. What little I had heard was "It's not nearly as good as Redemption" and "Just don't bother with it." Well, that sounds like heresy to me, so I stubbornly insisted on playing the first game in the series despite the lack of narrative connection to Redemption and despite the near-universal suggestions to skip it.
The basic story of Red Dead Revolver is that you're the son of a Native American woman and a rugged white cowboy fella, but some bad dudes come to kill your folks. Naturally, being a video game protagonist, you set out on a quest to kill everyone involved in your parents' murders and find out the truth of why they were killed. From there, the game consists of a series of levels that involve shooting a bunch of bad guys with the occasional boss fight as well as a quickdraw duel every now and then. The problem with the quick draw duels is that it just feels abrupt and kind of shoehorned. Y'all remember how just awkward and out of place the katana fights felt in Red Steel for Wii? Like, why can't I just shoot him with this SMG I have? That's how these duels felt to me. I already have a lever action rifle out, and I'm already hiding in cover. Why am I going to get out of cover, square off with this guy, and do a quick draw?
Visually, the game looks great running in 480p over YPbPr, and it sounds great, too, although the voice acting is a bit hit or miss (more misses than hits). The controls can be a bit touchy and finicky especially where taking cover is concerned, but it's nothing that will kill the game for you. There are, however, a fair number of rather silly bugs and a few irritating bugs (and features that really ought to be considered bugs despite being intentional). Things like aiming three inches past a wooden wall and yet still shooting the wall, trying to climb up onto a rock and grasping the air in front of the rock, etc. The rest are just really questionable design choices. Why can this guy survive six bullets to the face? Why does this Mexican general sound like Ol' Bubba from the trailer down the road? Why am I fighting an army of midget clowns? Why are random civilians running around like chickens with their heads cut off while I'm chasing this one dude around this small down exchanging gunfire instead of hiding which causes them to run RIGHT in front of my gun, get themselves killed before I even realize what happened, and force me to restart the damn level? I'm a little salty.
Red Dead Revolver really isn't as lackluster as my friends had made it out to be, but I can't say I disagree with their conclusion of "skip it." It's a fun Western shooter, but there's as much frustration as there is fun. I'd still recommend it for fans of third person shooters or of games set in the American West, but for the average player who just wants a good time and is neutral about the genre and/or setting, there are better ways to scratch that itch (I recommend Red Steel 2 on Wii). Overall, though, it's definitely not a bad game, and there's absolutely some fun to be had, but it only barely rises above "okay."
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation Vita, Ouya, Android, iOS, Linux, OSX, and Windows
When I was in elementary school, my favorite days where the days that my teacher would take us to the computer lab and let us play Math Blaster or Oregon Trail. I loved Oregon Trail, and I still think it's a fantastic game 25+ years later. When I was in college, I discovered Super Amazing Wagon Adventure on the Xbox 360 indie storefront, and I wasted dozens of drunken hours on that game with friends. Now we have the zombie apocalypse parody take on Oregon Trail - Organ Trail.
The basic goal in Organ Trail is pretty much the same as that of Oregon Trail; you have to make your way westward across the United States to get to Oregon because there's supposedly a safe haven from the zombies in the northwestern United States. There are huge chunks of the country that are irradiated from what I assume to be nuclear containment attempts, and during your journey, you'll get choices on which routes to take. Do you take the shorter route through the irradiated zones, or do you take a longer route that uses more resources and exposes you to more zombie risk in favor of not having to deal with radiation sickness? It's that kind of cost/benefit analysis element that REALLY makes the game intriguing for me.
The visuals are done in a pseudo-8-bit style, but given that it's supposed to be a parody of an early 90s PC game, it works brilliantly. As you travel from landmark to landmark, you have to keep an eye on your supplies, and that's more than just gas, food, and bullets; you have to consider spare tires, spare car batteries, medkits, and the overall HP of both your party members as well as your station wagon. You also, naturally, have to contend with illnesses like dysentery and typhoid but also radiation poisoning and - of course - zombie bites. All in all, it does an EXCELLENT job of capturing all of the gameplay functions of the original Oregon Trail. Instead of fording rivers, you have to drive through hordes of zombies, and instead of hunting, you have to scavenge for supplies while fighting off zombies.
The fact that there are so many risk vs reward choices to make with regards to your pace and route give the game a lot of replayability, but each landmark also provides you with optional missions to complete. Some of these aren't at all worth it - a mission ranked "suicidal" with a reward of one tire - but some of them are fantastic - a mission ranked "moderate" with a reward of $80. It's all about how confident you are at shooting zombies and how much you need whatever resource it is that the mission gives as a reward. It's really a fantastic take on Oregon Trail that seamlessly integrates the zombie theme. A lot of "-insert game- but with zombies!" games feel haphazard and like the zombies are shoehorned in just for the sake of the fad, but that's not the case with Organ Trail. If you'd never played or heard of Oregon Trail, this would feel like a simplistic but completely competent indie game.
Organ Trail is, at its heart, Oregon Trail with zombies. It's for that very reason that it's fantastic. The difficulty settings make it a little more approachable to total newcomers than the original Oregon Trail, but given that those difficulties range from "Don't an idiot, and you'll live" all the way up to "Abandon hope all ye who enter," few will find themselves lacking challenge. It's a seriously addicting game, and given that it's available on just about every system except Xbox's and Nintendo's, there are few who are without a way to play this gem.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Game of the year 2018 right here, guys. I had been curious about the "free game" included with Shaq Fu that the cover advertised, but I didn't think much of it after I finished the game. Let me tell you a story about how greatly I underestimated that little inconspicuous part of the cover. I usually lie in bed scrolling through Twitter or Facebook at night, and one night, I evidently fell asleep while scrolling through Twitter. I woke up around 3 or 4 in the morning, and thought "Man, what a crazy dream I had. I dreamt that they added Barack Obama DLC to Shaq Fu. Weird." So I got up to make a sandwich like I always do when I wake up in the middle of the night, and that "dream" keeps nagging at me, so I decide to grab my Switch and just check. Just in case. Lo and behold, it wasn't a drunken fever dream but a glorious reality! I'd apparently read a tweet about Barack Fu right as I fell asleep, so upon waking, I thought it had been a dream. I've never been so happy to be wrong.
If you've played the base Shaq Fu game, then you know how Barack Fu plays. It's not long - only about an hour or so - but you play as Barack Obama going to the "Paris Fashion Weak" to find American rapper and eternal pain in the ass of thinking people everywhere "Con-Ye" and force him to shut the hell up. Along the way, you're forced to fight a veritable army of stereotypical Frenchmen wielding baguettes, absurdly dressed models, and even a sub-boss parody of Marine La Pen, Emmanuel Macron's fascist opponent in the 2017 French presidential election. Throughout all of this, Obama drops the most amazing puns and one-liners I think I've ever heard in a video game.
In terms of gameplay, while it may play just like Shaq Fu, it's a bit tougher with harder enemies, longer sections between checkpoints, and less forgiving health drops. That's not to say that it's brutally difficult - I only died once in my playthrough, and I suck at games - but it's a good challenge that I found IMMENSELY satisfying. While it doesn't have as many power-ups as Shaq Fu (being, like, 20% of the length), it does have one totally amazing power-up - "Dirty Barry Mode." With this power-up, Obama dons a pair of aviators, pulls out two Uzis, and mows down hordes of enemies. It's...simply beautiful.
Visually, it's obviously identical to Shaq Fu, and while it doesn't have Obama versions of the hella catchy songs the base game has about Shaq, the voice acting is fantastic. It's obviously not the actual Barack Obama voicing the character, but the guy they got to do it sounds JUST like him. All of the speech quirks and mannerisms are there, too, from the frequent pauses to the "Uhhs." It's perfect. I don't know who voiced Obama's character, but whoever it is did a fantastic job.
The game's strongest aspect, as was the case with the base Shaq Fu game, is the writing. It's comedic genius. It's not as excessively meta as Shaq Fu was which I personally find to be a good thing, but the puns and humor are no less brilliant. The story is ridiculous and outlandish in all the right ways, and the dialogue is fantastic. It pokes fun at President Obama's less popular features as well as his endearing ones, and while it's pretty obvious that the developers were Obama supporters, the game is silly and absurd enough that even those who vehemently opposed the 44th president should be able to get full enjoyment from the writing.
Barack Fu: The Adventures of Dirty Barry is pure brilliance as far as humor goes. It looks and plays just like Shaq Fu, but that's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. It's currently only available to those who purchased a retail version of the game which, while kind of screwing over digital folks, is a big plus in my book because screw digital downloads. Physical games for life, yo. It's only an hour or so long, but it's an hour that could give any stand up or sketch comedy routine a run for its money. I cannot recommend this highly enough, and this is ABSOLUTELY a reason to go buy a physical copy of Shaq Fu right now. I struggled really hard with whether to give this a four or a five, and I was tempted to break my no-half-points rule. In the end, the only thing keeping this game from getting full marks from me is that it's just so short at only two levels. This is too brilliant to be this brief, and it really does deserve its down full length game. Hopefully that will come sometime in the future.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Xbox 360 and Windows
Although I never played the first Just Cause game, I watched a friend of mine from high school play Just Cause 3 a few years ago and thought it looked fantastic. I picked up Just Cause 2 on a whim a while back because it was cheap, and while I have Just Cause 3, I figured it would be better to play this one first so I don't go from 3 to 2 and end up disappointed (god help me, I guess, if I ever end up playing the first one). While there's naturally not as much wanton destruction in this game as I saw my buddy create in the third installment - they are, after all, different console generations - there's still a GLORIOUS amount of carnage and havoc to wreak in Just Cause 2.
The game's story follows the same protagonist from the first Just Cause, Rico Rodriguez, as he travels to the fictional southeast Asian island nation of Panau to overthrow an anti-American dictator. He does this by destroying various government installations, thus creating "chaos," and riling up and empowering the three rebel factions on the island. These factions are the ultranationalist Ular Boys, the communist Reapers, and the mafia Roaches. You pick one of these factions to side with in the final battle, but you'll be working with all three factions during the rest of the game.
Visually, the game looks good for the PlayStation 3. It doesn't push the hardware as hard as The Last of Us or Uncharted 3, but it's still a lovely game graphically. The music is good and fits the feel, but the start of the audio design is the sound effects. Dear god, the explosions sound SO satisfying. Just find a tank or minigun and destroy everything in sight. I could put William Sherman to shame with the destruction I left in my wake. Unfortunately, the voice acting doesn't always match the explosions; the acting is really hit or miss here. Some of the characters are totally fine, but some of the characters - especially the random NPCs - are just bad. Like, not 90s cringe bad, but "this is obviously a white guy trying too hard to sound Asian and it just comes off as kinda racist" bad. Also, while I definitely sided with the communist faction (workers of the world, unite!), the voice actress for the leader made me want to stab myself in the ears with an ice pick with every line. It was terrible.
Just Cause 2 is an absolute must-play for PS3/360 gamer fans of open world murder simulators because it's not just a murder simulator - it's a full blown American-backed terrorism simulator. Yeah, Grand Theft Auto may have hookers and murder and its share of explosions, but Just Cause 2 has quality explosions, not just quantity (although it definitely has the quantity, too). The voice acting is kind of meh, but the story is pretty good, the gameplay is obscenely addicting. You'll be exploring the map, see a previously undiscovered military base, and immediately say "WELL, I GUESS I BETTER GO KILL EVERYONE WITHIN 5 KILOMETERS." Seriously, this game is dirt cheap, and it's a bloody good time (literally).
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Switch, Linux, OSX, and Windows
This review is a few days late, but this was my yay America game last Wednesday. To celebrate Independence Day for the United States, Jerome and I played through all of Broforce start to finish. I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, but after all of about thirty seconds, I was saying "Dear god, literally everything about this game is perfect." And it's true. This is the most perfect and accurate portrayal of the core of the American spirit. And I don't necessarily mean that as a compliment.
Broforce is a pixel art run and gun shooter that brilliantly caricatures American foreign policy and our general "shoot first, ask questions maybe sometime but don't get your hopes up" attitude. It's fun no matter what, but it's definitely best enjoyed with local multiplayer. The plot is absolutely amazing. You're part of an elite American military unit going around the world to deliver freedom and democracy whether folks want it or not. Just as you're starting to run out of terrorists to kill, ALIENS SHOW UP AND INVADE. Of course, being the world's enforcer of justice, America steps in and deploys the Broforce to kick some alien ass. BUT THEN SATAN SHOWS UP. It's stupid. It's beautifully, brilliantly, gloriously stupid.
The visuals are pretty plain being pixel art and all, but they get the detail right in all the right places. Each "bro" on the Broforce is a parody of an action movie hero. You've got Bronan the Brobarian, Brochete, The Boondock Bros, Brommando, Rambro, Broheart, the Brolander, Double Bro Seven....it's amazing. All of the characters are extremely fitting representations of the people they're based on, and the fact that you don't get to choose your bro - you just spawn as a random bro - can be annoying at first but ends up forcing you to use all of the bros and really makes you appreciate the comedic effort that went into the game's development.
The music and sound effects are amazing. Guns have satisfying effects, the music is over the top and awesome, and the explosions look and sound glorious. The gore and blood spray from dead enemies is absolutely fantastic and will definitely please your inner psychopath. As great as the gameplay is, though, the best part is definitely the writing. Each mission has a short blurb giving you some context for why you're going there. They start off sounding reasonable - terrorists are trying to steal weapons or something - and then quickly descend into (depressingly accurate) ridiculousness like "These people are different from us! Kill them!"
I really can't heap enough praise on Broforce. It truly is the greatest multiplayer experience I've had in a LONG time. It's fun, it's hilarious, it's challenging but not (usually) outright BS, and it's a perfect couch co-op game. I can't recommend this highly enough. Download it. Doesn't matter if it's PlayStation, PC, or - once the port is finished and released - Switch. Just buy it. Play it. Love it. BROFORCE!
My Rating - 5 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 3 and Windows
People who know me and my gaming and collecting habits know that I like to collect and play through really notoriously horrible games. Part of why I do it is to be able to judge these games for myself. Part of why I do it is because I hate myself and think I deserve to be tortured (just kidding...but not really). Most of why I do it, however, is because I find them entertaining in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 sort of way. If you don't get that reference, you're too young to read this; kindly close the tab. Ride to Hell: Retribution is perhaps more infamous even than Shaq Fu or ET for 2600 and currently holds the second lowest Metacritic aggregate score with a 16 out of 100 (the lowest is Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade for Wii U with a score of 11 out of 100).
Oh god, where to begin with this game? It's an absolute clusterfuck. "Unmitigated disaster" doesn't even begin to describe it. It truly, literally, legitimately is the worst game that I've ever played, and I've played a lot of trash. I guess let's start on the surface - visuals and audio. The game looks like a hot mess. Keep in mind that this game launched in 2013, the same year as the Xbox One. We'd already had Halo 4 and Gears of War 3 completely blow our minds with the amazing visuals that the Xbox 360 could produce, and then we get this mess that could be outperformed by the Wii. I promise that if you used composite cables for both and set both to run 480i on the same TV, you would find stacks of Wii games that look better than this. When you've got a console capable of 1080p against a console that can't do better than 480p, you should never have a game on the former outdone by one on the latter especially not the same year that its successor releases.
Not only does the game look worse than Arnold Ernst Toht's face at the end of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the disaster of its audio design surpasses its visual failure. The music is...okay...but it's unbearably repetitive. Every track is the same three or four measures repeated ad nauseam. The real crime here - and as far as I'm concerned, it constitutes a crime against humanity - is the voice acting. Even if we include early 90s voice acting and FMV acting, the voice acting in this game is abhorrent. When I reviewed Chasing Dead, I SLAMMED that game for its downright insulting acting, but Ride of Hell blows that game out of the water. I didn't think such a thing was possible in a game actually sold for money on major platforms, but the acting is even worse than Chasing Dead's. Some characters' voice acting is physically painful to hear. The audio balance is so bad in some places that the music completely drowns out the dialogue, and some lines are just totally silent despite the character's lips' moving although those things might be more a blessing than a curse given the quality.
The story, while mundane and cliche in concept, had some potential to be at least passable. The execution and lack of any character development whatsoever ruined that, though. You play as Jake, a soldier who's just returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam, on a quest of vengeance to - single handedly - destroy the entire Devil's Hand biker gang. This gang controls literally almost the whole state (whatever state it is; from the environment, I'd guess Arizona, New Mexico, or Nevada, but the game never specifies), and this one pissed of veteran on a motorcycle kills everyone in it. I'm all for suspension of disbelief in games, but having no actual help? That's...a bit much.
Even with how crappy the game looks, how awful it sounds, how horrible the voice acting is, and how pathetic the story is, none of those are even the worst aspects of the game (although the voice acting does come pretty close). The game's worst aspect is the performance. The damn thing just doesn't work half the time. I mean, technically it's playable, but it's an absolute broken mess. Sonic Boom and Assassin's Creed Unity both look like competent, well polished games next to this mess. Some enemies' arms will inexplicably stretch like Mr. Fantastic when they're killed, dead enemies will start to have seizures, and explosions' splash damage seems completely arbitrary. Riding the motorcycle is a complete crapshoot if hitting something will make you restart or just let you clip through it, aiming is a pain with how jerky and stiff the controls are. The load times are reminiscent of the Neo Geo CD, and textures just pop in whenever they feel like it. Or they don't. Sometimes they don't, and characters will just go through a whole cut scene looking blurrier than an early Nintendo 64 game. Sometimes the game will just - perhaps mercifully - get fed up with its own incompetence and crash entirely. The frame rate hits an ABSOLUTE maximum of about 25, but it normally hovers between 15 and 20 fps. Even with a frame rate that low, dips are extraordinarily common. You'd think you're trying to run Crysis 3 on Windows XP. I mean, yeah, technically it works, and it's possible to play the game, but dear god, good luck keeping your sanity through the plethora of control issues and downright inundation of bugs and performance problems.
I'm a really progressive guy in most cases, but I usually make pretty generous exceptions for video games at least with regards to violence and characterization. Some characters are ass holes, and that's often necessary for the plot. A character is a raging racist? As long as the game's entire point isn't "black people suck" or something, I'll overlook that because usually, a racist character is in a game to make a point or provide a character foil or something. Some of my favorite games could probably be considered downright chauvinistic with how severely anime girls are objectified. Seriously, Gal*Gun and Moe Chronicle alone are enough for people to be justified in saying that I'm a shitty feminist, and I can't disagree. With all of that in mind as context for this next statement...dear god, this game has just about the most screwed up and offensive portrayal of women that I've ever seen in a game (except, of course, the infamous Custer's Revenge and Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em). Every single girl in the entire game (except for one at the end) is half naked, and they all end up sleeping with Jake (although this is, quite awkwardly, done while still fully dressed). They ALL play the "damsel in distress," they're all submissive to the men in the game, and none of them seem capable of doing anything for themselves; they have to have a male character to help them with everything. Like, dear god, at least the objectified anime girls in the games I love have strong and pretty independent personalities. These girls are like worst of both worlds - half naked 24/7 AND entirely dependent and submissive.
There's literally nothing redeeming whatsoever about Ride to Hell: Retribution. It might be entertaining to make fun of if you're drunk and playing it with friends who are also drunk, but in terms of objective critique, there's literally absolutely nothing about the game that can possibly be praised. The graphics are crap. The voice acting is crap. The story is crap. The characters are crap. The gameplay is crap. The combat is crap. The driving is crap. Everything is crap. This is literally the worst game I've ever played.
My Rating - 1 Nep
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.