Today we’re taking a look at Deep Silver/Eutechnyx’s Ride to Hell Retribution which sees the character Jake Conway back from the Vietnam War in 1969, versus a gang of bikers known as The Devil’s Hand who kill his younger sibling and is cause for much revenge and violence throughout.
The game’s story is pretty forgettable in that the outcome of revenge is always clear cut. Whilst it’s told in a reasonable fashion via its cut scenes, the real time spent in the game is performing the same repeated tasks over and over. Whilst this might not be a problem in other games, here it’s undeniably dull and uninspiring.
Ride To Hell features a hub base where Jake can upgrade and purchase new weapons, it’s also here where players can replay completed missions in the hope of finding collectible cards whilst either being horribly distracted by spawning enemies on foot in shootouts or fisticuffs, or riding a bike either shooting or kicking opponents away. Sadly if a collectible is missed, then the checkpoint system is likely to force a complete restart of the level – which are horrendously drawn out and linear affairs in dull locations to make the game feel bigger than it actually is.
The bike riding moments take place across linear routes filled with traffic and other hazards t avoid, and if the routes are more barren then players are bombarded with other bikers where sadly you’re locked into an unavoidable button mash mini game which after the first few times becomes annoying more than anything. There’s a decent sense of momentum when riding the bikes, yet at the same time the whole affair just reeks of simply having nothing to fulfill here other than an attempt in making going from A to B seem more interesting.
If you can stomach the lifeless bike gameplay that simply doesn’t feel right, the on foot sections are equally uninspiring and by the numbers gaming. Jake’s biggest problem is mobility and a camera that’s not too clever at keeping pace with the action. Jake moves like a tank and plays like one as well in combat, which takes a counter attack approach in dishing out punishment as the AI continually blocks blows. Again, it’s simply repeated over and over, interspersed with unremarkable weapons based combat. There’s a nice touch that you get a short slow motion indication of a head shot, but the reality is, the AI isn’t clever and often overwhelms in numbers rather than skill.
Graphically Ride to Hell looks incredibly dated with its stiff animations and poor character models. Whilst it runs relatively smoothly, there’s nothing pushing the hardware at all here in any way. Aside from some surprisingly pleasant looking moments riding into the night on the hogs, generally the texture quality of the up close work is under par and makes for an ugly looking game. We won’t even go into any details regarding the fully clothed sex scenes.
Audio is also mixed badly, with blaring music overpowering the speech during scenes, leaving the player to adjust the settings in the options. The music is fitting for the theme, but the overall quality of the voice performances is lacking any real motivation or desire to be gripping. Characters are predictable and equally lacking in personality much like Jake himself who speaks with his fists more than anything which is a relief.
The game’s level design and check point system unnecessarily draw out this game to make it a longer experience. As mentioned, players will perform the same menial tasks over and over until they either give up and don’t mind the lifeless offering. If you can stomach an 8 hour ordeal at the hands of this game, then you’ll have got your monies worth. However, there’s little incentive to return to the game once bested, unless you’re after the collectibles which can all be gathered via replay missions anyway.
Ride To Hell was announced, got cancelled, then was reborn again as a different game. The end result is a mish mash of mini games that never pulls off the ideas as well as they should. The game is simply well past its sell by date and pales in comparison to its peers. As a budget release it might make a day’s entertainment for the incredibly bored, but anyone else should stay clear unless you’re desperate to see how low quality games can be in 2013.
Score 4/10 – Review by Robert Cram