I don’t think there is any game more shameless then a movie tie-in. Outside of a small handful of games that turned out better then they had any right to be, the rest are rightly considered garbage, going all the way back to the landfill where they buried so many E.T. cartridges. I am sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but R.I.P.D. is no different.
Ok, I take that back. It’s mildly different. For starters, Old School Games has taken the same tact they used with God Mode, skipping a single player mode to provide a co-op only experience where players can take on the rolls of either Ryan Reynolds or Jeff Bridges, or “Nick” or “Roy” respectively. It claims to follow the movie, and for the reviews the movie’s gotten, I would go so far as to assume that it, too, is a bunch of arena fire fights with little dialog that pits two heroes against hordes of teleporting Deados.
Yup, Deados. I wish I could fault the game for this horrendous word, but it’s straight out of the movie, and I can only assume there is a vague mention of it in the comics both properties are based on. Game wise, Deados come in two varieties, those armed with guns and those not. They all kind of look the same, so the quickest way to tell the difference is to watch their movements. Those armed with guns tend to hang back and try to use them, while those armed with whatever melee weapons they managed to spawn with, including a fantastic plunger, simply run straight for you.
Occasionally you get a wild variant, either an ogre-sized melee rusher who can bowl you over, or a sniper with a red laser sight that alerts you to where they are aiming. Regardless of type, you shoot them. Repeatedly. Until they slump over like they fell asleep or disintegrate into silver goop that signals a “soul kill.” I mention that only because there is an achievement for soul kills; otherwise, they don’t really count for anything else. You also can get a random “criminal” spawn, which is one of your standard Deados, only they have a ton of hit points and they glow. Dropping them prompts a choice to either arrest them, done by standing close to them while a timer ticks down, or executing them by shooting them until the remaining sliver of their life bar depletes. There is no plus or minus to either choice, just a pointless differentiation meant to net you two more achievements.
According to the literature accompanying this digital download, the arenas you fight in are authentic environments from the movie. They’re not bad, providing plenty of points where two people can easily hold the approaching horde with little to no trouble. There’s only about five different maps though, so get used to seeing doing the same things over and over.
As the main purpose of the game, it’s a real shame that wasting Deados is neither fun nor satisfying. Outside of the starting shotgun, none of the other starting weapons are worth the time spent programming them. I found a lot of success with the machine gun, but even so, it felt like I was just dumping bullets into targets. Very few shots show any actual impact, and even head shots, which flash critical at you with every bullet, are often shrugged off like they were nothing. Killing enough without dying earns you kill streak bonuses like a health regenerating light or a mass snare that keeps Deados from moving. Easily the most useful is the auto-turret provided as the third bonus. It’s able to lock down a corridor by itself, has good range, and even a decent timer with which to do its work.
Does all this shooting get you anything? Well, completing assignments nets you salary, and you get bonus “cash” (what do you call money for people that are dead?) for completing random challenges, like “kill this many Deados in a minute,” or “kill this many Deados from this glowing spot,” or even “kill the Deados with the marks over their heads.” That salary can be used to buy more weapons, upgrade the ones you have, or buy one off items that can give you slight bonuses.
There’s also the Gold Meter. Completing assignments earns you pieces of gold, supposedly dropped by the Deados as part of their plot to stay in the land of the living. You gain bits of story about what’s going on, as well as concept art and movie stills, every time you fill up 25% of the meter. At the end, you face a boss, and “win” the game.
Let’s be honest though. If you’ve gotten far enough to “win” this game, you’ve already lost. Luckily, unlike the old days when movie tie-ins were sold like real games for a full $60 dollars, you’re only going to be out $10 if you make the mistake of purchasing this. Sadly, or really not so sadly if you think about it, not many people have made this mistake. This, of course, means that the only mode the game offers, multiplayer, is a total pain to play, as finding someone to play with is an ever lessening proposition. As of right now, looking for match times range from 2-10 minutes at peak times. As this title gets older, those times are only going to increase, until someone, a month or two from now, buys this and finds out that they just gave away $10, because there is no one to play with.
People may argue that you could just make a custom match and go in by your lonesome. I’ve done that. It’s even less fun.
Unlike the dedicated officers of the R.I.P.D., do yourself a favor and just let this one go. I don’t think this needs anymore words to get that point across.