It was only a few years back that we had this action game from Namco that really kind of surprised a lot of us with its very straightforward approach that really made for a very interesting and fun action game. Although it may have taken some of its ideas from other games, Dead to Rights, on the whole, was a good game and let me tell you it definitely made me hope for a sequel. Now a few years later Namco has answered that with its second installment in the series - Dead to Rights II for the PlayStation 2. So does this game go above and beyond the previous game? Read our full review to find out!
I am sure most of you heard in the movie industry how it is hard to really make a good sequel. You see the first time people go in there with no standards and nothing to base the performance off except itself. Now in its second outing the Dead to Rights series has a lot to live up to, and the big question is can Namco deliver.
The storyline of Dead to Rights was surprisingly what really drove the experience for me the first way through, because it just made you wonder what was going to happen next. The reason I say surprisingly is because when you look at the sequel, it leaves you wondering why they went the opposite direction in terms of the storyline. Dead to Rights II has one of the most boring and lackluster stories of any action game this year. It never once got its feat off the ground, and the whole time you will probably wondering why they even bothered with putting a story into this game.
The core gameplay of Dead to Rights II can be found in two distinct parts, and those are the shooting sections and the fighting sections. Let’s start off with the less impressive of the two - the fighting portions of the game, which come up very sporadically throughout the game. It is in these sections that you get a little break from the normal action but this break actually seems in my mind to make matters worse as you are given a rather lackluster experience that doesn’t do much of anything right. The fighting in the game really is much too simple and the controls during these sections of the game feel extremely sluggish and just don’t handle that entire well.
Fortunately things do get much better when you’re running and gunning enemies, albeit not by much. Labeled a straight-up Max Payne clone the last time, this sequel features some refinements here and there to make it not that similar. The game does still include a bullet time effect, whereby during this sequence you get to auto lock onto all of the enemies, making things pretty easy.
The one thing about the combat is that there really doesn’t seem to be any reason for this fighting. Also the game doesn’t really do anything to mix up the sequence of events via the level design. which makes the game seem rather pointless and repetitive. With that being said the action in the game is nicely made and let me tell you this game is not for the weak of heart, because it really makes a very violent mess from start to finish.
With the story being less than average and the gameplay as a whole feeling rather pointless, Dead to Rights II is a game that really doesn’t go any farther then the last game. In fact, it goes in the exact opposite direction. Sure there are some good points to the game, but to be honest it is so bland that it’s really hard to even notice.
Dead to Rights wasn’t what I would call a graphical powerhouse, and the same can be said about the second installment as well. Dead to Rights II has its ups and downs and the ups can probably be found mostly in the action on screen which have some nice effects especially when time is slowed down. With that being said the lackluster environments and the rather boring character models hold this game back from being able to really enjoy some of the finer points in the game.
Overall the visuals of Dead to Rights II are good, but they really just don’t do anything in terms of advancing the action genre. The environments should have had more time put into them, and the character models looked far too rushed and unpolished.
Dead to Rights II is a game that you could see yourself having fun with, if it had been done better. I mean when you just look at the potential of this series and then look at this game, it’s really hard to have fun, especially with how well the first game was created. With that being said, Dead to Rights II have some good moments but unfortunately those are few and far between, because the game has so many loose ends and looks uninspired.
Dead to Rights II is a game that had the overall potential to be a great game. I would go as far as saying a game of the year nominee, had it been done a whole lot better. Putting the potential aside, Dead to Rights II is a rather mediocre game that has some good moments, but held back by a bland storyline, pointless combat system and lackluster visuals. This game makes for a decent rental, but probably nothing more then that.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.