R.I.P.D: The Game Review: Nothing’s bringing this back to life

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Title: R.I.P.D: The Game
System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($9.99)
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher(Developer): Atlus (Oldschool Games)
ESRB Rating: T for “Teen”

Wow, you get to review video games? That’s a real job? That must be so much fun, I wish I got to do that! I have a conversation like this almost daily. Yes, I must confess it is pretty awesome. Even on my worst day on the job, I am thankful they give me money for something I enjoy doing. This is not digging ditches, or working in a coal mine..whoop, about to slip down.

Then I get my hands on something like R.I.P.D: The Game and I find myself thinking, “Hey, I like coal. I like canaries. I should keep all my options open.”

Ripd screenshot 1

Full disclosure, I previewed this movie tie-in at E3 2013 and left with cautious optimism. This might be decent when they finish it, I thought. The thing is, no one ever got around to finishing it. Everything about this cash-in screams that it had to ship before the movie’s release date. Little touches such as a story, sound or anything approaching fun be damned. Gamers have learned not to expect much from movie tie-ins. R.I.P.D limbos under the already low bar in place for movie games.

A brief cutscene tells you about the concept of the Rest In Peace Department: undead lawmen who hunt down the souls that have escaped final judgment. There’s also some plot about the dark souls stealing gold, but it’s as undercooked as everything else on this plate.

R.I.P.D.  is essentially a watered-down version of the Horde Mode seen in Gears of War and other shooters. I found that, and virtually everything else out about the game, through trial and error. Trial and excruciating, soul crushing error.

First, comes the agonizing task of waiting in the lobby to find a match. Considering the movie was not exactly a blockbuster, the already small list of people waiting for these matches is going to shrink. There are probably more people willing to let Amanda Bynes babysit for them than there currently are on the R.I.P.D. servers. Complicating matters further, both players have to be on the same difficulty, not have selected the same character and be searching at the same time. This would all work with an established property such as Call of Duty or Gears of War. Somebody somewhere vastly overestimated the amount of gamers interested in this title.

You can play by yourself, but that splits the already small amount of fun to be had here in half. There are no AI bots to help you in solo mode, a bizarre choice for a game based on a buddy cop film. Once you finally find a partner to play with, wave after wave of poorly animated “deados” come toward you. They don’t seem to be trying very hard, which is the overarching theme of this game. One of the enemies is carrying a plunger. He’s better equipped for this battle than you might think. One of the main weapons is a shotgun so underpowered melee attacks are preferable. R.I.P.D, you made shotguns boring. That’s an unforgivable sin in a shooter.

Killstreaks unlock special weapons including chains that wrap up the enemies and mini-guns that wipe out large groups of them.

Before each match, players can make bets on things they hope to accomplish such as the most headshots, or shortest amount of time being downed. This is supposed to represent the competitiveness of the two cops. It’s an intriguing concept. But I’m not sure the world of online shooters needs more encouragement of selfish play. That’s about the only thing that passes for innovation here.

The sound is almost nonexistent. I never thought I’d find myself longing for the banter of voice actors impersonating Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, but it would be preferable to the near silence. That is, except, for this one banal song I’m still hearing in my nightmares:

I can’t recommend spending 800 MP on this. It will probably be on sale soon, but still there are far better ways to spend your cash than this uninspired shooter.

gamertell score f

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