Ride to Hell: Retribution (RTH) tells the story of Jake Conway, a Vietnam Vet who is just returning home. After a warm welcome with his family, his little Brother, Mikey, decides to throw a fit and run off. Once Jake catches up to him, they are ambushed by a gang called The Devil’s Hand. Those scoundrels murder Mikey, for apparently no reason, and leave Jake for dead. Sadly, Jake isn’t dead and this event propels the rest of the game. You spend the next 4-6 hours hunting down each of the gang members who were involved with Mikey’s death. Beyond this opening sequence, you don’t get a drop of plot until the last twenty minutes of the game. Not to say that you’d actually want to know the plot, because the dialogue and acting are so blisteringly bad.
I’m not sure where they found the voice actors for RTH, but I wish they hadn’t found anyone. This is one of the rare instances where a completely text-based dialogue would have been preferable. The over-the-top delivery of lines, combined with the absolutely awful dialogue makes for an unpleasant experience. The cutscenes are bad, but the real treasure comes from the random dialogue during gameplay. You’ll get to hear classic lines such as, “Suck my dick!” shouted over and over. See, it would normally only be said once, but this game is so glitched that all of the NPCs are constantly screaming their lines. If you have to play this game, at least mute your TV.
RTH has a few styles of gameplay that comprise the entire campaign: beat ’em up, cover-based shooting, and driving motorcycles. I’ve never seen a game completely fail in every category that makes it a game, but the time has come to be awed. The fighting sequences are painfully stiff, using only two buttons for attacking. You’ve got a strike and a block-breaker, with the other buttons reserved for blocking and counter-attacks. It takes so long to kill a single enemy, not to mention you usually fight enemies in groups of five or more, that I avoided close combat as much as possible. I was forced to stick to the guns, but they’re not much better. While scoring a headshot will kill the enemy in one hit, shooting them anywhere else will do little more than piss them off. Thank God, shooting all of the enemies is a much quicker way of suffering through this game.
Now, the entire premise of RTH is Biker culture. Naturally, you spend a lot of time riding your motorcycle and taking down other riders. Unfortunately, this may be the worst aspect of the gameplay. The tracks are entirely linear, forcing you down single paths. If you slow down at all or hit an obstacle, it resets your character back fifty feet or so, making you do it over again. Considering that the bikes handle like you’re riding a corgi across a frozen lake, you’ll spend a lot of time retrying. All combat that takes place on the bikes put your character on auto-pilot while you mash buttons to “fight” the enemies. Every time you succeed in mashing the buttons, Jake does the same animation for attacking. They only programmed one animation for all of the motorcycle combat. At least that fits in the overall theme for RTH: delivering one of the worst games ever made.
I wasn’t aware that developers were able to port N64 games to the Xbox 360, but somehow Deep Silver and Eutechnyx have given RTH cutting edge graphics from the N64. Honestly, I play a lot of bad games, so I’m used to seeing terrible graphics. Still, RTH has got to take the cake. The character models are frighteningly Muppet-like, combining the ridiculous stature of Gears of War and the mouth of Steven Tyler. Excluding the main characters, there are only about three or four other character models that are recycled for all the enemies. The environments are, not only generic, but poorly made. Textures are recycled and repeated, if there are textures at all. Sadly, they also recycle the music. I think there were two songs used during the game, but they never stopped playing. They just looped the music, forcing your ears to be bombarded by them for the entire campaign.
I get that, if you’re shooting for a specific audience, you may use some lowbrow humor or gags to entertain. RTH uses every shitty idea that was thrown out of the other bargain bin games. During the story, Jake can save women from abusive men. How do they repay his kind actions? Well, immediately sleeping with him, of course! Seriously, every time you interact with a woman, you’re having sex with them. That’s putting out a real swell message, but I guess I shouldn’t be shocked when the developer is also responsible for that warcrime, Big Mutha Truckers. Whether it’s pitifully rendered extreme violence or selling drugs to make money, Ride to Hell is dying to be edgy, but just come across as sad.
You know how some people enjoy watching bad movies for a laugh? You could say I’m the same way with playing bad games. You can really find a lot of joy in games that aren’t in the AAA lineup for the year. Ride to Hell: Retribution is not one of these games. It is easily one of the worst games I’ve played in the last ten years, possibly in my lifetime. The developers failed in every possible way while making Ride to Hell, I’m not entirely sure why they even put it out there. I doubt that Ride to Hell will make it to the bargain bins, because I doubt anyone could sell this game at bargain prices. It has descended past the bargain bin and is somewhere in the fourth or fifth circle of Hell. Since I couldn’t honestly even give this a 1 out of 5, it has earned a special place in our game library:
I give Ride to Hell: Retribution an Epic Fail
By Blake Edwards