A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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This is a world riddled with profanity. The "F" and "S" words are used hundreds of times.
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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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.