As most of you know the PSP has been really begging for developers to bring out the best of a handheld that really has received no love since its initial launch date a few months back. Since then we have seen a lot of lackluster titles that for the most part needed much more development time. Now we get to see a game from a pretty well known series making its first appearance on Sony’s new handheld, Dead to Rights: Reckoning. So does this game bring the greatness of the series to the PSP? Read our full review to find out!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Dead to Rights series, it came out originally right after Max Payne. You might remember it for its similarities to Max Payne, which made great use of the bullet time gameplay mechanic. The game was still very popular and the series was noted for having a lot of potential and really looking forward to the sequel. Well the sequel was released and it really got hammered because of pretty poor execution. So how does Reckoning fair for the series?
Well when we look at Reckoning, we start off with the storyline of the worn out character of Jack Slate, who has to go rescue a girl (how original). To do that, you have to travel around and find out what’s going on. And so the game, like most action games of this sort, takes you around in circles and leaves everything up to you to save this poor girl. As you can tell this storyline is nothing out of the ordinary, and in fact it is so dry and dull that it’s hard to even really care about good old Jack Slate and whatever mission he is on this time.
Once you get in the game you will immediately recognize what has become very familiar with these sorts of games, and that is predictability. The game really doesn’t ever try to do anything different, and sticks to very simple run and gun tactics that just get old as time wears on. The game plays kind of like you would expect a third person run and gun game, except without any challenge. The game uses a very easy lock on system, which means you can literally just lock on to an enemy, let him have it and then do the same thing over and over again. This process is used throughout the whole game and really never strays away from that.
Although the gameplay may sound somewhat appealing, the game disappoints with its camera that never finds a good position throughout the game. You are going to find that, more often then not, this game fails to give you a good view of the action, and therefore will add to the frustration that already is occurring with the overly repetitious gameplay.
The game also consists of four-player multiplayer, which is as dreadfully boring as the single player. That is also caused by the simple lock-on feature, which takes skill totally out of the equation. Unfortunately it is whoever locks on to the other person first who is going to win these firefights and this is just not an overly fun experience to say the least. It’s unfortunate too because you can see the levels are actually well designed, but the overall gameplay proves to be too repetitive, and lacks any variety and challenge.
One of the finer points (with the camera aside) is the visual of Dead to Rights: Reckoning, which were not great but still got the job done. The character models in the game for me lacked some detail and weren’t all that clear to be honest. What did impress me however was the environments, which had very crisp visuals and although were not very heavily detailed still had a great overall look.
Overall I can’t say that with the camera issue that the visuals are anything to write home about, but at the same token they have some upsides as well.
The thing about this game is that although it can be fun at times to just go through the game with full guns blazing, this is just not one of the games I would prefer to do that on. The game just makes everything so predictable and so mind-numbingly simple that I just could never really get myself to enjoy it. Although the multiplayer had potential, it was also pretty sad when you sat back and played it as there was really no skill involved.
It’s a missed opportunity for yet another developer to really take advantage of the powerful PSP architecture and come up with an equally brilliant game. Dead to Rights: Reckoning is not worth anyone’s time because of its overly predictable and repetitive nature that when you get right down to it just isn’t any fun. Unless you are a huge fan of Jack Slate, you can easily pass on this PSP game.
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.