Dead to Rights: Reckoning
Jack Slate is back and we have all the information you need about his upcoming PSP adventure.
Despite Namco's efforts the Dead to Rights franchise hasn't really taken off. The abysmal first game was followed by a lackluster sequel, and if memory serves there's an overlooked GBA title floating about in limbo somewhere, so it goes without saying (though I certainly will) that I'm cautiously anticipating the next entry in the series, Dead to Rights: Reckoning for the PSP. However, after listening in on a conference call, Namco has put some of my worst fears to rest, as it appears that this sequel has been streamlined for Sony's portable machine, making it a little more accessible as well as user friendly.
Developed by Rebellion, DTR: Reckoning is actually a prequel to the original game. In it, you play as the bad @$$ cop Jack Slate as he tears Grant City apart searching for a kidnapped girl. Accompanying him is his faithful canine sidekick Shadow, and the two work in tandem, slaughtering scores of low life scum bags. Jack's got 17 weapons at his disposal, and the list runs the gamut, so expect to see pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, and other nasty devices. All of the weapons are broken down into classes (such as pistol, rifle, and shotgun), and there are about 16 different (and particularly nasty) disarms (five per weapon class). Also, Jack can dual wield, so be sure to unload countless rounds on your opponents, thus killing the sorry #@#$&%$$# before their carcasses bounce off the cold, concrete floor.
Like any good sequel/prequel, Reckoning includes several improvements over its predecessors (as well as streamlined gameplay for the PSP platform), because let's face it; the cameras in the last games (even though we have a right analog stick to manipulate them with) is a huge pain. That's just one of several things that Rebellion's improved upon and it should go a long way to putting a smile on my face, because instead of having to manipulate the camera, the one in Reckoning is a lot more dynamic. It's been designed in such a way so the game always gives you the best view of the action, which in turn allows you to further enjoy the gameplay experience.
In addition to the new camera, Jack can also perform dives and rolls to evade bullets, remain crouched after the move has been completed, and shoot from a ground position, so you won't need to worry about popping up and taking a few bullets to the nose. He can even perform a slick dive tackle disarm, so if you're running low on ammo (unlikely), you can resort to this what should be very useful maneuver.
You'll also be treated to some cool rag doll physics which were designed using an in house system, so yes; it is possible to write an article today without saying the word Havok (doh!). With so many things to blow up (cars, barrels), bodies will probably be sailing all over the place.
Just like in previous games you can call on Shadow to literally take a bite out of crime. Slate's canine companion doesn't follow him onscreen but instead magically appears whenever you press the Square button, and new to this game is the ability to send him after bosses. I don't think he causes a lot of damage, but his attacks are strong enough to knock the bosses over, allowing Jack to get in a few extra hits.
Also new to this version of DTR is wireless multiplayer via ad-hoc for up to four people. All of the weapons in the single player adventure will be at your disposal, and there will be other character types, so you won't find yourself battling three other Jack Slates.
The Dead to Rights games have never been graphical showpieces and Reckoning keeps the tradition alive, though it's certainly not an awful looking game. The character models are a bit simplistic-looking, but the environments feature a lot a stuff, some of which can be blown to hell, and there are also plenty of bad guys to blast, so if anything, this game should provide you with a decent looking action adventure experience that's somewhat easy on the eyes.
Aside from sports games, the PSP's library is lacking in every category, so I'm looking forward to putting Dead to Rights: Reckoning through its paces. Rebellion seems to have put a lot of thought into it and hopefully all of that time and effort will translate into a quality gameplay experience. Look for the Modojo review next week.