Dead to Rights: Reckoning PSP Review

The need for Dead to Rights, in any form, doesn't exist. It's one of those games that makes gunplay boring, regardless of how much it uses it. It's sloppy, feeling unfinished and loose, and on the PSP there's even less chance for it to succeed.

The logic gaps are many as Jack Slate goes after a kidnapped girl, taking down a few thousands thugs not smart enough to gang up on him all at once. Ammo is plentiful and hardly worth limiting. Once one gun is depleted, the next set is pulled from nowhere and Jack puts it to use.

Besides pulling the trigger a record number of times, Slate can grab and shoot (rather brutally) the kidnappers. This would be a somewhat interesting feature if it had any purpose or benefit. Extra points are gained, with nothing to unlock, and there's no way to stop incoming fire as the slow motion animation routine works its way around. If you want the extra points, you'll need to come close to death.

His final line of offense is his dog, used sparingly. The offending gangs are nice enough to stop shooting as the canine mauls their partner. He can kill anyone with a press of a button even though he's nowhere on screen before the attack. That or he's another victim to the randomly spinning camera, one which obscures enemies right in front of the player and makes seeing objects hidden behind objects impossible.

Targeting is assisted, requiring a press of the R trigger to activate, only so it can lock onto the wrong adversary or barrel instead of the guy shooting Slate point blank. There's little in the way of evasive maneuvers other than a cheap Max Payne knock-off slow motion dive, also the only way Jack can jump. If something is on a higher elevation and there is nothing leading to it, you'll need to waste this bullet time power to get there.

That's the entire game; strafing and firing, knocking off countless poorly rendered foes in a bland variety of stages. Blood flows and sticks to walls while the dead end up in a variety of awkward, impossible, and unintentionally hilarious positions. Textures are muddy without much in the way of spectacular detail. The frame rate does manage to stay steady, and that's one of the few aspects this title does right.

There is no voice acting here; the cheap and generic story is told through subtitles. Repetitive and scratchy music is the only audio breaking up the sound of rounds being fired. Even the explosions lack much a punch, and that seems to be the standard the game is going for, including the cheaply implemented death match.

Even for as mindless as it is, Reckoning could have found a nice section of the action genre for itself, left untouched in the 3-D realm. There's nothing particularly memorable about it, and when you can fill someone with an entire clip of an automatic rounds and they still put up a fight, it's hard to feel like you're given enough power. Only the most determined gamers will deal with the repetitiveness and lackluster action long enough to see the ending that can't come soon enough (and it does at around two hours).

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