Modern Review: Ride To Hell Retribution (Xbox 360)

Review-Ride-To-HellLet’s get right to the point shall we? Ride To Hell (RTH) is not a good game. At all. It is rubbish. It is so poor it sits happily on my shelf of woe alongside Onechanbara and Vampire Rain. If shonk was a real word there would be a picture of lead protagonist Jake Conway next to its definition in the dictionary. With that in mind, let us don our leather cuts and take to the linear roads in this broken, funny, but more so just plain sad story of revenge and retribution.

The game begins with a big clout of oomph! Quality AC DCesque music sets the vibe and a menu screen that depicts everything Americana in the 70’s – when the game is set. You return from Vietnam to a USA that has changed. Sounds hackneyed but hey you can forgive the story as if you look on the box you know exactly what you are getting. This is not the Literary Adventures Of Willy Shakespeare The Game. Events conspire back at the homestead and your little brother gets a severe stabbing by the local gang the Devil’s Hand. You go mental and vow to bring justice to your family. That’s it basically. Fair enough, all seems straight forward....

Ride-To-Hell-Screenshot

...Or at least it would be if the game was not entirely broken. If this review peaked your interest then surely you are only here to know “just how broken is it?” Well, let’s go barrel scraping my good chums and get down to the nitty gritty. After the mess of the intro the game plays as a part racer, part third person shooter cum beat em up. Ride to destination A, punch guy K, deliver parcel for no reason to bloke 21... you get the idea. The problem is, none of these parts work. You would forgive a weaker section if its other parts carried the slack, but they don’t.

The driving sections... you have zero freedom, you have to go forward. If you go back the screen fades out and you appear back on course again. The same if you crash into a wall or invisible barrier. This is annoying but RTH also has you doing quicktime events. That is all the game really does, but it can’t even get its bread and butter right. At times you have to slide your bike under a jack knifed truck or convenient tree in the road. I completed the obstacle only for the game to fade out and put me back to do it again. Pardon me game? Pourquoi? (At this time I donned my ‘thou shall get judged monocle’) Some of the riding sections are timed too making it even harder! The controls are barely adequate and now you are pulling this type of shenanigans? You would have more chance using your shoe as a controller. Why oh why couldn’t this part of the game be like Road Rash? WHY? If it played as well as that, there wouldn’t be an issue. It would be awesome! You don’t even control the bike during quicktime scraps with enemies. Punching thugs and shooting stuff has never been so mundane. Also the control scheme is ludicrous – you hold RT to accelerate. But on foot you use RT to shoot folks. See the problem here?

Ride-To-Hell-Screenshot-2

The third person part is where you will spend most of your time in RTH. Such lush locales as the airplane graveyard and fully realised casino (which has THAT stock gambler audio and where you can’t play any of the machines) and let’s not forget the mobile caravan park stage! Controls are similar to Gears Of War, with the snapping to cover and doing the run movement - jarring the camera so much it makes you feel nauseous. For some reason every enemy (even the police you occasionally fight) all drop bags of drugs which you sell for new weapons. So the hero in a game which is rated a 16 is selling drugs for guns that he got for killing policemen? Do PEGI actually play these games or do they have to be on the GTA radar?

Speaking of PEGI the game has its very own fully clothed sex scenes! Every woman you meet in the game you have relations with. They are all the same too – massive hips and even bigger rendering issues! Having sexy fun times with something that looks like a Resident Evil zombie on PS1 due to a lack of texture control sure is a sight for the eyes. Your ears too also get a treat with some dodgy 70’s – wouldn’t even be the backing track to pornography – funk music. On one occasion you also have a never nude foursome too... in the middle of a gun fight! “Oh hang on a sec mac, there’s this lady see and the rules is...” “It’s ok son, fill your boots... I will wait here and stroke my gun until you return.”

Ride-To-Hell-Screenshot-3

Enemies come in two forms – fists and guns. The ones with the guns mostly just stand there and wait for you to head shot them. The fighters on the other hand are a joke. If you can’t be bothered with the rigmoral of quicktime punches and kicks that never connect, you can simply shoot them all in the face when they run at you single file. They even queue up for speedy diligence.

The worst / best story I can think of was a level where I needed to get inside a compound which had an electrified fence around it. I had to go to the garage across the street and commandeer an oil tanker (had to beat up the innocent driver and his friends) then drive the tanker to the power plant. Once there I had to kill several plant workers and also police officers only to blow the plant up with the explosive tanker to shut down the power. OR I could have commandeered the tanker and oh I don’t know... knocked the fence down? Game Logic!

The acting in RTH is poor, the lip syncing that isn’t there is literally a characters jaw flapping up and down like he is from Canada. The dialogue is always too quiet and that one continuous soft rock track which was once cool is now very grating. Other dishonourable mentions include not being able to turn off the help that appears in the HUD. Consistently telling me to find cover when there is no one around does not make an interesting game, unless I am playing Hide To Hell. Collectibles come in the form of playing cards (fair enough as bikers and decks go together) but each one has the face of the game developer on it. If your game is tosh do you want your muggins in it? It was nice to collect them only to see a visage of who to hate. Oh and speaking of the staff – their end credits gave me the biggest laugh of the game – they gave special thanks to the Unreal Engine!

Luckily I didn’t pay the full retail price for RTH when it was released. It had been chopped and changed by Eutechnyx and Deep Silver since 2008 when it was first announced and you do at times get a sense of the open world that they were trying to realise. I would not want to play 30 hours of this nonsense however. I do think that this one day will be a future collector’s nightmare as surely not that many people will have bought it.


Last Updated ( 15 May 2014 )  

James 'ewjim' Evans

Jim is a self confessed know it all when it comes to 16-bit gaming. With a strange fondness of playing rubbish videogames for the fun of it, there is no stoop too low he won't go to for entertainment.

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Comments 

+2 (Link to this comment) handfulofbits 2014-05-15 22:24
Been Waiting for this. The moment you bought the game it was a given. I remember chatting to you as you was playing this. Fair play for not swearing as much during this review!
+2 (Link to this comment) reecesk8 2014-05-15 22:55
I expected nothing less than pure gold from a review of RTH written by yourself. I was not disappointed. :P
+2 (Link to this comment) ollie809 2014-05-16 09:12
I do want to try this now. What is it inside us that makes us want to play absolute rubbish games? does it maybe somehow make us happy to punish ourselves or perhaps the stripped down nature of alot of bad games makes us remember subconsciously a simpler time of straight forward 8 bit games?
+1 (Link to this comment) reecesk8 2014-05-16 09:49
Stupid phone :( I meant to thumbs up your comment and clicked thumbs down by accident :/ can't seem to edit it...
+1 (Link to this comment) RickNotSoDangerous 2014-05-22 18:30
I have a "thing" for terrible games and really want to play this, very tempting now you can get it for £5 brand new. I for one loved onechanbara, bar the horrendous motorcycle stage. I had some interesting mechanics and quite memorable moments. Who can deny they joys of zombie killer whales.
+1 (Link to this comment) ewjim 2014-05-27 12:11
Quoting RickNotSoDanger ous:
I have a "thing" for terrible games and really want to play this, very tempting now you can get it for £5 brand new. I for one loved onechanbara, bar the horrendous motorcycle stage. I had some interesting mechanics and quite memorable moments. Who can deny they joys of zombie killer whales.

Yea the motorbike parts on Onechenbara were unplayable. It broke that beyond playing it for me.
(Link to this comment) DemonicNinja 2014-08-06 21:34
Well I ordered this a few days back from amazon...surely this is the plan b of video games..destined to be a cult classic!
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