Gamers are painfully aware of the very low bar that has been set over the years for movie tie-in games, many of which come across as little more than underdeveloped cash grabs. Even within that woebegone sub-genre, though, it’s rare for a title’s source material to be as widely reviled as R.I.P.D., whose Meta score has to have M. Night Shyamalan thinking, “Well, at least I didn’t direct THAT movie.” So, could developer Old School Games defy expectations and deliver a quality product? Survey says… nope.
There is no tutorial in R.I.P.D.: The Game, so you’ll want to check out the textual “How to Play” and “Controls” sections on the title screen to familiarize yourself with the layout. Being a third-person shooter, you should be able to feel your way through most of it with only the decision to use the d-pad to switch weapons standing out as foreign. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end between this and more polished shooters.
Without auto-aim enabled, shooting enemies is an exercise in frustration whether firing from the hip or aiming down sight — that’s not to imply it fixes everything; it doesn’t, but it does take things from nearly broken to functional. Melee strikes seem to have a built in delay that results in all kinds of flailing; an issue that isn’t helped by the dicey animations. It’s a rough showing on both fronts. Your Gears-inspired dive also looks decidedly awkward, though at least it gets the job done when trying to create some distance between you and your would-be killers.
Character models for Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are recognizable. Beyond that, it’s all downhill with uninteresting locations and repetitive enemies populating the game’s world. What really hurts, however, is the choppy animations that make things like connecting on melee strikes and whether or not a particular shot finished off an enemy to be akin to guess work. The end result of all this is that the satisfaction of mowing down wave after wave of foes is effectively neutered.
Generic background music and muted gunfire are about all I took away from a completely non-descript showing on the audio side. About the best thing I can write about it is that it didn’t come across as particularly annoying.
Despite being an officially licensed offshoot of the movie, R.I.P.D.: The Game contains practically no story. Instead, what you get is a series of five-stage horde modes with a “boss” coming out at the end of the fifth wave. Upon successful completion of a game you’re awarded with money to purchase new weapons and upgrades. In addition, a gold meter begins to fill. Grind out enough rounds and you’ll max it out, which unlocks the game’s final stage. What’s strange is that this showdown follows a completely different setup than everything seen up to that point.
Outside of the final level, all you’ll be doing here is fending off waves of “deados,” which basically fall into four categories: melee, ranged, healing and oversized. Most of them will pursue you, though snipers will fire away at long range. Therefore it mostly comes down to trying to keep a little distance while dropping them as efficiently as possible. There’s no cover here, so you’ll need to run away if you start taking too much damage.
Get hit enough and you’ll go down. In co-op, your partner can revive you, while when playing solo you lose a portion of your timer. Essentially you have a set amount of time to complete all waves — the meter is perpetually counting down, but you do have the ability to lose (die) and gain (complete a wave) chunks of time. It’s a fine substitute for traditional health bars, but I never came close to timing out in any of my games regardless of the difficulty setting.
R.I.P.D. does try to work in some stuff to keep the experience modestly fresh. Kills fill up a meter with five different powers you can utilize, and the game will introduce random in-game challenges to try and complete. There’s even a pre-match betting system between you and your partner. The problem is that none of it is very interesting, and in the case of the challenges it can be downright broken. For instance, the game might challenge you not to get downed or not to use any of your powers, but even if you fulfill those requirements it doesn’t recognize it.
Beyond the repetition there are other issues as well. If your online partner (there is no local co-op) leaves at any point during a game it automatically shuts it down instead of giving you the chance to finish alone; plus, it doesn’t reward you with any money or gold. Assuming you’re actually attempting to progress it makes these matches a complete waste of time.
Most frustrating of all, however, are the bosses that are capable of healing themselves. My partner and I literally spent five minutes fighting the same boss, and even with turret powers deployed and multiple shotgun blasts to the head from point blank range we could NOT damage it faster than it could heal itself! How does something like that get into a final product? We didn’t want to quit the game, but we were left without options.
If done right, R.I.P.D.: The Game could’ve provided some mindless fun. With so many problems, though, the fun part of that equation fell by the wayside.