Ride To Hell: Retribution – PC
Publisher: Koch Media/Electronic Arts
Release Date: June 24, 2013 (Steam)
Nerd Rating: 2 out of 10
First of all, Ride to Hell: Retribution is an odyssey. I’m absolutely in awe of how this game completely fails to entertain. This game is insulting, glitchy, annoying, and below mediocre. Ride to Hell is a worthy title because I am convinced that’s where this game came from. The story is set in 1960’s Western America among biker gangs, hippies, and hookers. Our ‘hero’ Jake Conway has just returned from multiple tours in Vietnam. Jake comes home to his disgruntled Uncle Mack and “tall sack of shit” brother, Mikey. When Mikey is brutally murdered by a rival biker gang, Jack sets out on a journey to pick off each member of The Devil’s Hand until his brother’s death is avenged. Sounds like heavy material, right? It would be if it was actually well-written.
As soon as the game booted up, I was thrust into a random turret tutorial that had me so confused. The game prompted me to aim and shoot quickly. I tried to do so, but when I clicked right mouse to zoom in, Jake glitched through the platform he was standing on and I failed the mission. When that happened, my heart sank. This game is merciless, I thought. But I gave it another shot when I should have turned the game off.
The opening to Ride to Hell: Retribution is literally this: Jake rides motorcycle with an angry expression on his face. Jake gets on a turret and kills some guys. Jake continues riding a motorcycle with an angry look on his face. Jake gets into a random brawl with a beefy-looking guy (this also introduces the shitty fighting mechanic, i.e. ‘R’, ‘left mouse’, ‘E’, ‘right mouse’, etc.). Then Jake puts a a few bullets through someone’s skull. Jake continues riding his motorcycle through a forest. Then he jumps his bike over a hovering helicopter when the title screen hits you bluntly in the face like a brick.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game is like this. Choppy, awkward cut scenes, dialogue that reads like it was written by a fifth-grader, constipated voice acting, constant loading screens that feed you weak game tips, and gameplay that is either too boring or too difficult. The motorcycle chase/combat scenes are stunningly boring and go on forever. Not to mention Jake’s motorcycle slides all around the road like a giraffe on an ice rink. The fighting prompts are simplistic and repetitive, there are no combos to speak of, only static fist, melee weapon, and gun fights. The gameplay is annoying because the game switches your weapons mid-combat without being prompted. You want to use your rifle? Here! Use an axe instead!
In addition to the horrible combat system, the henchmen are completely incompetent. They do not understand that they are supposed to attack Jake and utilize cover, but for some reason they have almost infinite health. Bullets are pretty much useless as they do not take down enemies unless you execute a perfect head shot. I found myself completely relying on head shots to take down enemies in a timely manner, as knives and other melee weapons have almost no effect. Because of this, missions are unnecessarily long and tedious. There is also an agonizing time limit on a few of the missions. You may have approximately five minutes to kill about eight nearly immortal henchman, complete an objective that has no rhyme or reason, and ultimately fail because the game doesn’t tell you what the objective is in the first place. But don’t worry, if you’re low on time, the game will make sure it nags you with a “hurry up and complete the objective” prompt but doesn’t tell you what the objective is. There isn’t even a map you can refer to.
In between these lazily written missions, there is a safe spot in Jake’s hometown called Dead End. In Dead End, you can sell drugs picked off of baddies for extra income, have your bike customized at Mack’s Garage, and purchase weapons and ammo at an army van. I recommend purchasing a lot of ammunition because by God you’re going to need it if you choose to sacrifice your precious time playing this game. This town, I should also add, is very creepy. Multiple clones of the same NPC’s will walk around you or get stuck in front of you and not know where to go. It’s eerily quiet and the game will not allow you to free roam either. If you cross the threshold between the playable area and non-playable area, the screen will fade to black and plop you back into your “play pen.”
The main missions, as you may have guessed, consist of going after each member of The Devil’s Hand and executing them. However, Jake gets sidetracked by bullshit side missions like beating up a woman’s ex-husband and then afterwards having sex with her as a reward. This happens frequently in the game, with different women. This perturbs me because not only is this alienating the female gaming community, but also claims that using women (or human beings) as a reward is okay. The reward sex scene usually happens after Jake rescues her from a brute man trying to force himself upon her. Real women do not act like this and certainly do not offer themselves as a reward in that type of situation. The whole concept is sickening, immature, and insulting.
And if that wasn’t enough to make you want to break the game into a million pieces, Ride to Hell also has horrible camera issues that just get worse, especially when in a confined space. I have found myself aiming a rifle while glitching through Jake’s head. In addition to the gameplay being annoying, the soundtrack is also annoying and repetitive, playing the same stupid track over and over again until your ears cave in on themselves. What’s weird is that during most cutscenes and menus, it’s completely quiet. There’s no background menu music and during the cut scenes the dialogue hangs awkwardly in the air. It’s like the developers only had the budget for that one annoying song!
Ride to Hell: Retribution is one of the worst games I have ever played. The story had some potential, but it is not told well because of the sloppy writing and mediocre game play.
There is no rewarding factor for playing this game, there is no feel-good achievement. This isn’t even a game that’s just entertaining and fun to laugh at like most bad movies. It’s frustrating, insulting, and should have never existed. It’s a mole on the face of the gaming industry and you would be much better off spending your money on something far more superior, like Goat Simulator. Ride to Hell: Retribution feels like an unfinished game. It’s missing sound effects, music, the animation is poor, and the game play is aggravating. It’s as if the game was still a work in progress and the boss barged in and said “WE PUBLISH GAME NOW, YES? MAKE BIG MONEY” and the developers politely said “But it’s not finished, we don’t even have the right sound effects-” “OKAY GAME IS READY FOR LAUNCH WE MAKE MONEY NOW”.
There are so many beautiful things in this world: fluttering butterflies, vanilla ice cream on a child’s nose, or a bonfire on an autumn night… but this game isn’t one of them. Ride to Hell: Retribution is ugly. With its half-hearted story, lazy gameplay, disgusting sex scenes, and all over mediocrity, you’re better off not even going near this abomination of a game.
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