Dead to Rights II PlayStation 2
Published by Namco
Developed by Widescreen Games
Release Date: Out Now
Dead to Rights II, an introduction.
There was a time when a console shooter was a simplistic experience. There were none of these 'tactical' elements that our modern day shooters seem to have in spades. You simply progressed through the game shooting everything in sight and whilst this may sound overly simplistic, the challenge came with having to handle a large number of enemies who were quick to take you down if you didn't go about it in the correct manner.
What's the game about?
Dead to Rights II is a third-person shooter that's pretty much in the style of the classic shooters from yesteryear. You'll play as Jack Slate who's accompanied by his four-legged friend, Shadow. Dead to Rights II offers the main story mode and an instant action mode (which basically plonks Jack into a level and keeps throwing enemies at him). Whilst he is investigating the kidnapping of a distinguished judge, Jack Slate uncovers a rather surprising web of corruption that must be unravelled. As you might expect it's up to Jack and Shadow to sort the mess out, which basically involves taking out almost everything that moves for the entirety of the game.
What's good about the game?
If you enjoy third-person shooters and simply want a game where you can just go in with an all guns blazing approach, then Dead to Rights II could well be your cup of tea. There's no need to worry about aiming at your enemies. In fact pressing the R1 button will automatically lock on to your nearest enemy so taking out your enemies is simply a case of locking on to them and finishing them off. This sounds easy of course but more often than not, you'll have many enemies to deal with and the challenge is dealing with all of these enemies whilst conserving your ammo and making use of available cover. Shadow can help you here and with a press of the L2 button, he can take down targeted enemies as well as retrieve ammo for you. Even with Shadow's help though, you'll still come across many challenging parts in the game, particularly if you're playing on the Hard or Expert difficulty modes. Jack has a few moves to help make the job a little easier. He can disarm an enemy, use an enemy as a human shield and perform a Max Payne style slow motion dive to name just some of his abilities.
What's not so good about the game?
If you are used to modern day shooters and all of their intricacies you might find the rather basic nature of Dead to Rights II unsatisfactory. Because aiming your shots is something you don't really have to do, the focus is more on your ability to cope with the sheer number of enemies rather than your ability to pull off a head shot. Those looking for amazing graphics may also be disappointed and it's not a game that's going to offer many hours of play. There's not a fully fleshed out story here and the action can get very repetitive which will annoy you if you don't appreciate how the game plays. The unarmed sections of the game aren't that great either, although thankfully there aren't many of these moments. Load times are on the long side and this is particularly aggravating when you come to a difficult part, where you'll die a few times before you figure out what you need to do.
How does it look?
Dead to Rights II is probably best described as adequate. The character models and environments look OK but we've seen much better on the PlayStation 2. In the game's defence though the frame rate is very smooth and even during the most heated action there's very little slowdown. Camera control is handled by the right analogue stick and pressing the stick (the R3 button) will snap the camera back behind Jack. The characters animate quite well but you'll notice the old fashioned arcade effect of fallen enemies simply disappearing which probably seems a little odd by today's standards but is totally in keeping with the style of the game.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Deaf gamers won't have any real worries with Dead to Rights II. Subtitles are enabled by default and all of the cutscenes are subtitled so you'll be able to follow the barebones plot. In the main part of the game there's virtually no speech at all, so subtitles are not necessary. Your objectives can be recalled at any time by pressing the select button although given the nature of the game you'll probably never need to look at them. The game has several movie clip style tutorials and all of these are subtitled, which means you'll have no problems learning how to perform the various actions in the game. The game manual also does a decent job of telling you all you need to know in order to play the game.
Your opinion of Dead to Rights II will basically come down to whether you appreciate the old fashioned shooters and their lack of complexity. If you insist on all the modern trappings of the current shooters then Dead to Rights II may seem a little hollow and short on substance. However, if you enjoyed the old fashioned shooters then you'll appreciate what Dead to Rights II offers. Don't get me wrong it's flawed in that the game isn't very long, there's not much of a plot and load times are long as well as the game being repetitive but it's also very addictive and will certainly keep you playing until you come to the very end. I haven't played the first game in the series so I can't comment on how it compares but taking this sequel on its own merits, it's a good game that could have been better and could really have done with a more substantial plot to add depth to the game.
Overall Game Rating: 6.9/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Dead to Rights II is an old fashioned style shooter that plays quite well and it can be quite addictive. However there's no real story here and the game is far too short. The load times can be annoying too.