Review: Ride To Hell Retribution [PS3/Xbox360/PC]

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It’s the 1960’s and you are Jake Conway and after returning home from the armed forces, you don’t quite receive the home welcoming party you expected. After your younger brother Mikey gets a little carried away, he makes a quick getaway on his hog bike. So of course being the big brother that you are, you chase him down and enforce your big brotherly duties. But Jake and Mikey bump into a ruthless biker gang called ‘Devils Hand’ and they notice a very recognisable jacket that your younger bro is wearing. The name on the jacket reads ‘Ride to Hell Retribution’ and it just so happened that this ruthless biker gang had thought they killed off every last member of that group some years ago. Suddenly things turn nasty and Jakes brother is murdered in cold blood before his very eyes. But despite the severe lack of emotion and poor facial animation, Jake takes it upon himself to hunt down and kill every last member of Devils Hand. This is Jakes retribution.

I know graphics are not always everything, but they do offer a contribution to the games storytelling and overall value. Though I think it’s fair to say that Ride to Hell is one of the most visually least impressive games that I’ve seen in a long time. To start off with the facial animation is seriously poor; I’ve even seen more emotion from a zombie in The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts. Even when Jakes brother has his throat cut directly in front of him, Jake still manages to capture the emotion of a gurning Thunderbird puppet (which even that is some kind of complement). The attention to detail or should I say lack of for the characters of this game is very half arsed, especially with the head and facial hair. It’s almost like the beards and hair styles have been cut-out directly from a Kellogg’s Cornflakes box for some kind of primary school project.

The overall visual presentation doesn’t bode well for the rest of the game either, the textures are very bland (even worse than Aliens Colonial Marines), it suffers from severe texture pop ups during in-game and cutscenes (and at times during a cutscene, some textures never load up). But it doesn’t stop there, because even with the lack of visual presentation and not much happening on the screen, Ride to Hell also suffers with constant lag and frame rate issues.

Ride to Hell seems to be a little confused to what it wants to be; at first glance it seems to be some kind of racer, almost like the old classic Road Rash. But these gameplay elements are poorly executed, the bike controls feel very clunky and they seem to go on much longer then they should. The race/chase sequences act as a kind of in-between on your way to and from missions. But as you might expect, this happens a lot and it quickly becomes tiresome and tedious. During the race/chase sequences you will fight off waves of enemy bikers. Though these bikers seemingly appear out of nowhere and a QTE is prompted and this will be the main way in which you knock the enemy from his bike or as you get a little further into the game, you will also shoot them down with some good old fire arms. I don’t have a problem with QTE’s, as long as they are well used and not overdone. With Ride to Hell they offer very little challenge and the only time that the bike sequences cause any problems is when oil tank lorries come out of nowhere and stop in the middle of the road. They do this of course to provide an obstacle, but when would a truck do that in the first place? especially when it has no relevance to the game. It’s almost as if the developers thought this section is too easy, how can we make it more of a challenge? I know lets place random trucks and debris everywhere.

But as you go from the transition of a bike chase to a mission, it feels very choppy. By this I mean one second you’re riding the motorcycle and then you’re in a fight, at times there was no build up, it just went from bike to fight within a split second. As it shows in one of my gameplay videos in this review. Now let’s get onto that fight sections shall we, the fighting is very basic, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But like the bike sequences, it offers no real challenge. You just bash the buttons a few times, the enemy is down and then it’s on to the next clone. During the game you will be able to pick up cash (which can be spent of upgrades for your bike and so forth), as well as a bag of drugs (which looks suspiciously like cocaine). When you pick up the drugs, it gives you fuel to enter a fury mode when in a scrap. How this will work is that you’ll pummel your enemy and then you will be presented with an on screen prompt. Press the button and Jake will unleash his fury, as well as his angry face. My intention was to show you this during one of my gameplay videos, but instead the game just showcased one of its many glitches. Basically Jake will pull a face which I imagine would resemble someone sat on the toilet with constipation, whilst munching on a gob stopper, then you will be prompted to perform a QTE and you will punch your opponent in the face repeatedly, before finishing them off with a very lame neck break.

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Contributing towards Ride to Hells personality complex, you will also encounter your fair share of gun fights. Now in fairness this works reasonably well and is one of the few moments that offer no real issues, in terms of the controls and general gameplay. The problem here is with the very poor enemy A.I. Now I know that plenty of games have poor A.I, but Ride to Hell takes it to a whole new low level. When the enemy is not running round like a headless chicken with a nervous twitch offering no real threat, their standing perfectly still, just letting you shoot them in the head. Again just watch one of my gameplay videos in this review and you will see that happen. Normally I would record gameplay footage to show off the game, which was my original intention. But as it happened, it just showed how bad of a game Ride to Hell really is. This is a good thing in a way as the images and videos that I’ve seen floating around do not represent what I have experienced at first hand.

Now I’ll get to one of the many issues that I have with this game and it’s with the in-game sex scenes, yes you’ve read that right, Ride to Hell has sex scenes. I believe this was a very cheap tactic to get people talking about a very poor game, in a sense it kind of reminds of the 2002 game ‘BMX XXX’, where they used nudity as a selling point for a very cheap thrill. How these sex scenes will occur is that you’ll basically save a damsel in distress who may be in an argument with a man. You would go over, beat the man up and naturally you would have sex with that women. But other than being incredibly cringe worthy, the sex scenes are very laughable, but not in a good way. Why I hear you ask? Because during these dodgy sex scenes, both participants are fully clothed, I guess this is what they call ‘dry humping’.

The voice acting is also among the worst that I’ve heard recently, it’s almost as if the actors are being held in the recording studio against their will with a gun pointed to their heads. Also during gameplay, I don’t know if it’s down to a sound glitch or if the developers hadn’t recorded certain sound effects, but there seems to be a certain lack of natural sound effects. By this I mean simple sound such as feet walking on gravely stones or a swift movement of an individual. Sure this doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen enough. Just watch one of the gameplay videos in this review, when Jake Conway’s younger brother gets murdered by the Devils Hands gang and you will see exactly what I mean.

If you really wanted to see Ride to Hell all the way through, you’re probably looking at 7-10 hours for the campaign, but would you really want to put yourself through that? Because that’s time that you will never get back. But I’m just talking from my personal experience, so you just might like it and play this game over and over again and if you do fair play to you. There are also various playing cards to find, manuals to purchase, art work to unlock and acquire various upgrades. So if you really enjoy this game, there is a reasonable amount of content to keep you busy, no matter how repetitive it might get.

Whenever I start a review, I try to avoid reviews for games that I plan to write up (though I did see a few); the idea is so that I keep a clear and unbiased mind as possible. I wanted to give Ride to Hell a good write up; I was going to be the one that would show a glimmer of light at the end of the lonely dark tunnel. Sadly within the first few minutes I could see why this game has been so heavily criticised, I hate to slate any game and I always try to look for the good, but if I did that in this instance, I would be in total denial. The truth is that this game is simply awful, at first I laughed at the dodgy and poorly animated cut scenes,but that laughter just turned into complete despair.

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It’s full of so many glitches, poor sound, poor A.I, a poorly acted voice cast; it’s a struggle to find anything remotely good about this game. I actually thought that nothing could get worse then The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts or Aliens: Colonial Marines (both of which will have reviews from me coming soon), but at least with those games after digging deep, I could find at least one positive from them. In this day and age, with so many games being cancelled due to lack of funding or not meeting certain standards (such as the sequel to Prey), it’s a wonder how this game ever got released in the first place. I’m a big fan of Deep Silver products, but the ball has been dropped big time here. Though at least we can look forward to games such as Saints Row IV and Killer is Dead from the publisher.

If you are looking for a Hells Angels style biker game, then I would recommend getting the GTA IV DLC ‘Lost and the Damned’ or the GTA Episodes from Liberty City, in which you’ll get both ‘Lost and the Damned’ and ‘Ballad of Gay Tony’. But as a final word of warning, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to buy this game, unless you have a sudden urge to punish yourself or you want to buy it for someone that you hate. But if you really want to witness one of the most terrible games of the current generation, then give it a rent…if you must.





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About the Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

In my 30+ years on planet Earth I have been an avid gamer for a month and I have never looked back since. My favourite gaming franchises are Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Uncharted and a new found love for The Last of Us. I like to collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I also love my football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE/TNA. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake

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