Dead to Rights: Retribution

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
Dead to Rights: Retribution Game Poster Image
Ultra-graphic violence plus moral ambiguity equals No Kids.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The negative message here is that vengeance is king and the idea of "an eye for an eye" can be a powerful motivator. It creates the sense that there's pretty much no problem that can't be solved through violence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack Slate is a police officer, and his ultimate goal of cleaning up his city may be a noble one, but he breaks about a thousand laws in the achievement of that goal. He is a man who believes violence is the answer to the world's woes; and that the ends justify the (incredibly violent) means.

Ease of Play

Play is generally intuitive, especially to those who know the shooter genre. If you're not a shooter fan, it will take a half hour or so to get used to the controls. It's easy to start a melee simply by pressing a button. Stealth is a key to playing as well, and that can sometimes be tricky. Using Shadow dog is also a breeze.


Violence and blood are constants in this game. In addition to the use of pistols, shotguns, explosives, turrets, and assault rifles, there are also plenty of breaking necks, whacking knees, choking necks, and long death struggles -- all featuring over-the-top blood that gushes from the body. The protagonist's dog, Shadow, is also a source of major violence; it digs, demon-like, through the bodies of its victims as if dying from hunger and searching for a bone.


You'll see the shadow of a naked woman in a strip club. You'll see a sign that says "Licensed Sex Show." No sexual acts are depicted in the game, though.


This is a world riddled with profanity. The "F" and "S" words are used hundreds of times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The game's thugs both use and sell illegal drugs. At one point, you may see a man snort cocaine on screen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dead to Rights: Retribution is one bloody and violent game, making it not for kids. In fact, it's blood upon blood upon blood. Blood gushes, spatters, spews, flows, and pools almost constantly, pretty much from every part of the body that bleeds. Profanity flows almost as freely as the blood. Drugs and sex, while not as prominent, are also a factor. You'll sometimes see a thug snort cocaine; you'll see strip clubs, signs for sex, and unclothed women in the shadows. Still, the brutal violence is likely to be the biggest concern. Character Jack Slate is on a mission of retribution, as the title states. That means non-stop violence of the bloodiest kind; including violence inflicted by his dog, Shadow.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written by2333 December 29, 2010


it is awesome
Adult Written byninja master July 31, 2010


better than the orginal
Teen, 13 years old Written byJazzy85176 October 21, 2013

In the middle

Well i played this game and found it to be intresting but at the same time i found it a little violent. There is not really alot to say about this game other th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 February 27, 2012

Extreme language and violence=Good,but not for all kids.

I love Dead To Rights and play it everyday for a few hours but that dosent take away the fact that it's totally messed up,bloody and profane.I lost count o... Continue reading

What's it about?

DEAD TO RIGHTS: RETRIBUTION is the second iteration of this third person shooter series that's steeped in violence and vengeance. It's up to outlaw vice cop Jack Slate, betrayed and mocked by his peers and his enemies, to clean up Grant City and its various criminals, thugs, loons, terrorists, and Mafia-type bosses. Along the way, he'll uncover a vast conspiracy behind Grant City's ever-growing crime rate. Slate, a one-man killing machine somewhat like 24's Jack Bauer, teams up with Shadow, a one-dog killing machine, to rid the gritty metropolis of greedy, power-hungry enemies who are as violent at Slate himself.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, Dead to Rights: Retribution doesn't feel that new or intriguing. You've been immersed in this kind of plot -- outsider gets back at his enemies -- many times before. Slate, who runs and guns through various environs, also uses his hands to kill and maim his opponents. Four letter words spew forth almost with the same amount of gusto as the blood that spatters. But the plot of outlaw-cop-as-anti-hero has become cliché.

There was also an opportunity missed in the game mechanics: It would have been nice to have the ability take complete control of the dog Shadow, from both a physical and mental standpoint. This Cujo of a feral canine (who sometimes attacks the groin) could have been the saving grace of the game. Instead, Shadow is only sometimes fun to use because you don't feel you have truly assumed the form of this crazed half-wolf. Though there are good points to the game, including the adrenaline rush of sneaking up on baddies, you might think about renting Dead to Rights: Retribution before making an investment in buying.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Do you feel the violence is over the top and therefore acceptable as satire? Or is the bloody nature of the game too much to take?

  • Jack Slate is a police officer who constantly breaks laws himself. Can a character like that truly be called a hero? Is there anything admirable about Slate? Or is he no better than the game's villains?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Namco Bandai
  • Release date: April 27, 2010
  • Genre: Third-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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