Ride to Hell: Retribution Review

By Darryl Kaye on October 6, 2013

As a gamer, this is a very fortunate time. As we've approached the end of this generation, the quality of games keeps getting better and better. As a developer, this presents an interesting challenge, as with a much higher bar, it also means you have to do something different to stand out. With Ride to Hell: Retribution, this is certainly the case. However, this game stands out because it's at the other end of the spectrum "“ this is quite easily one of the worst games of this generation.

The story revolves around Jack Conway, a Vietnam vet who's just returned home. While he's been away from home, things have changed. Gangs have taken over and the town is no longer safe after a certain time. Not quite understanding the dangers, Jake ends up seeing his brother killed by a rival gang after he failed to heed the warnings of his uncle.

In typical style, this sends Jake into a spiral of rage "“ he wants retribution. The game then follows his path, as he looks to hunt down every member of the gang who killed his brother.

The characters and dialogue are pretty hilarious all the way through, but not in a good way. Each of the gang members have stereotypically overblown features and it's also rather ironic that none of them look like they actually belong in a biker gang. As you take them down one by one things get more far-fetched and it's safe to say that the story never redeems itself. It starts off as a huge cheesy mess and remains the same the whole way through.

This is where the game's length is a massive counter-productive mess. Everything is strung out so much and if you're able to plug through it all, you may well deserve some kind of medal. Games like this make you rue the arguments that often circulate about short games, because this is one game that contradicts that line of thought.

As this is a game that revolves around the biker scene, gameplay attempts to reflect what that kind of lifestyle would be like. For that reason there's a lot of riding around, shooting and fighting. The unfortunate thing here, is that despite having what appears to be years to work on this, they're all quite terrible.

Let's start with the biking. The basic controls aren't the best, but the developers tried to make it into some kind of combat simulator. This means you have to engage in fights while on the bike. This seems ok in theory, after all, Road Rash is a huge classic. But in Ride to Hell, all fights become set piece events that are identical every single time. No matter what you're doing, the game shifts and you end up having to mash a button to win. Then there's the whole "obstacle" element, which sees you having to dodge around things.

When it comes to the shooting, you'll have a different experience depending on your setup. If you're using a gaming mouse, the whole thing becomes near unplayable due to the extreme sensitivity. Others might end up having it go the other way, where the game isn't responsive at all. There are options to change this, but it's so dependent on the mouse that changing the settings doesn't make much difference in the way you'd want.

There's also an extreme reliance on scoring headshots, to the point that if you aren't able to get them, you will just die because you'll get overwhelmed.

As mentioned, there's also a fighting element to the experience, but this isn't even worth talking about. Entering into this part of the game offers no real challenge and it just becomes a boring mix of timing and QTEs.

It's not often that this gets said, but when looking at the gameplay as a whole, there are very few positives to take. When playing through, it gets to the point that it's so bad that you'll just want to stop playing so that you don't have to suffer through it any more.

That sums up Ride to Hell: Retribution quite well. There's very little about the experience that justifies giving it a chance. What you see is pretty much what you get and while you will get more guns as you go through, it's not worth subjecting yourself to more of the game just to see what they turn out like.

The game's character models are rather poor and the voice acting is laughable. However, nothing will prepare you for the embarrassing attempts at an adult theme through the use of sex. Jake seems to be able to seduce women at the drop of the hat and then sleep with them while they're both fully clothed. It's an impressive skill.

Final Thoughts

Ride to Hell: Retribution is one of those games that only surfaces once every few years. There are almost no redeeming qualities, with story, gameplay and presentation all coming from the worst tier. Avoid this game as you would a plague.

When you realise you can't go on any longer.
Pre-emptively not buying this game.
There isn't any.
Gameplay is horrible.
Presentation is dire.
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