Playing R.I.P.D. The Game (I hate those taglines) gave me a mysterious sense of deja vu. It was almost like I had played a game similar to it in recent memory. Developer Old School Games, who just released God Mode…wait; that was it! Yes, this is a game carrying the license of the new Ryan Reynolds/Jeff Bridges movie about undead cops who hunt supernatural criminals (I can’t make this stuff up), but it only carries the name and characters. Underneath it all, this is a co-op horde mode shooter with a new skin.
I am not going to tell you about the movie this is tied to, because well the game really doesn’t care either. Like I said, this is just a skin for an otherwise pretty standard horde shooter. Players can pick between both main characters from the movie; they work to capture the main villain from the movie and the subtitle has “The Game” in it, but outside of that, a counter-narrative piece this is not.
From the main menu, I knew what I was in for. Quick Match is the first option. There is no single player or even a worthless tutorial. Just jump in, and figure out how things work. The game supports two players, and I definitely recommend finding someone else to join up with for the harder difficulties as it can get pretty hairy, especially without someone there for revival.
The setup is simple. There are a host of stages, with each one carrying five waves, or “encounters” as they are called. Players have a set number of lives that either run out when killed, or when the 60 second timer reaches zero. This is the one mechanic that added some sense of urgency on harder difficulties. Taking out every enemy in every wave before time expires can be a rush, once I got used to the aiming that is.
The controls are stiff and weapons underpowered from the onset. After spending some time tweaking the options, and putting auto-aim on, I felt more comfortable. Cold aiming just feels stiff, and pulling off headshots on harder difficulties became near impossible. Upgrading also plays a huge role. The weapons were garbage in the beginning. Earning points from completing waves let me add clips and damage to my weapons, as well as purchasing one-time user perks before each match that gave me more resistance to bullets and so on.
There is also a special meter that fills up to five times, with each level unlocking a super move that can be used one time. For example: the first level refills health, while the third opens up a turret that mows down enemies. What I liked is that it didn’t use the entire bar if I decided to go with a smaller attack. Having a level five bar, and cycling down and using a level two power-up, left me three bars in reserve. I did end up sticking with the turret on most levels though.
On a visual level the game looks like it’s priced. This is a $10 title and it shows. Texture pop-ins were common, and character models lacked solid animation. There were also hints of slowdown at times. Hit detection was not the greatest, another case for turning on auto-aim, and in general, the menus felt clunky and not too user-friendly. The music is a mixture of royalty free tunes that don’t feel like they mesh, and becomes more background noise than anything else.
R.I.P.D. is not a bad game, just a simple one. It is something I would recommend hammering out in a weekend with a buddy over some beers, and likely never playing it again. Still, for ten bucks it is worth that weekend if there is nothing else to keep you occupied. I had fun with it, and that is more than I can say for most $10 titles, especially ones with a useless movie license tied to them.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.