Backlog Review: Dead to Rights Retribution (Xbox 360)

Meet Jack Slate, the most hypocritical cop you’re likely to see in a video game.

Dead to Rights: Retribution is the 3rd game in the series, but is considered a reboot of the franchise so no prior knowledge is necessary to enjoy this game.  However the story is quite ridiculous so you’re probably better off ignoring the narrative anyway.  The graphics are not awful, but have the look of a high quality last-gen title.  Oddities such as jagged shadows sticking out of a character’s forehead during cut-scenes are a bit jarring .

But it’s not all bad.

You take on the role of Officer Jack Slate, a plays-by-his-own-rules kind of cop, and his K-9, Shadow.  The storyline is mostly one of corruption and revenge.  One of the biggest problems with the story, and good enough reason to ignore it, is that Jack is constantly talking about the importance of bringing guys in for questioning, not taking the law into your own hands and doing things by the book.  He clearly is not taking his own advice as his interactions with the bad guys usually look something like this:

This is one of the many “takedowns” that the game has to offer.  Most of which are not only deadly, but insanely brutal.  The one pictured above starts with Jack shooting a couple bullets into the enemy’s legs.  When he starts pleading for his life, Jack kicks him into the air and pumps him full of lead in slow motion. I think the irony is lost on Jack.

As far as the actual gameplay is concerned, there are two types of levels.  Most of them put you in control of Jack who uses Shadow to help him take down the scum of Grant City.  You’re able to steal guns right out of the enemy’s hands, grab them as a hostage, shoot them in the head, or perform one of the various death moves that the game has to offer.  My personal favorite is throwing guys over railings.

I was having a blast tossing guys left and right.  Watching bodies fly through plate glass windows, over railings, and off of rooftops.  All while Jack is spouting off nonsensical one-liners like, “shut the fuck up!”  This was by far my favorite part of the game.

Another option you have during most of these levels is to tell Shadow to take down bad guys, retrieve dropped weapons, or offer protection when you’re in trouble.

He’s as brutal as Jack is, if not moreso.  But he’s also an effective tool in getting the job done.  You’ll have to be careful how you use him though as he can be knocked out during battle.  However, it is possible to revive him by pushing a button while next to him, or if you clear the area of enemies he will get up on his own.

The other type of level you’ll play has you taking control of Shadow in scenarios where stealth is key.  During these levels you’ll have access to some crazy dog powers that let you detect heartbeats and see through walls.

These levels are an interesting change of pace, but are essentially fetch quests that end fairly quickly.  Also, the controls for shadow are all different from Jack.  Why wouldn’t they map common commands like running to the same button?


– Fun, mindless entertainment

– Some variety in the gameplay

– Amusing voice acting


– Throwaway story

– Sometimes the brutality feels too real and dark

– Graphics and animation not necessarily up to par for this generation

Bottom Line

I found some enjoyment in this game, so it’s not too hard to recommend at a low price.  It’s best to go in with lowered expectations.  I completed this game on easy difficulty in about 4 sittings, taking roughly 6 hours to finish.  I ended up with 555 achievement points.  The game is also available on the Playstation 3.

And I leave you with the best:



  1. Good stuff. The game is very brutal and disturbing at times. There were times though where they were obviously trying too hard. Hey look at how violent we can be. Very fun game though

  2. Thanks for reading Jon! I do agree that maybe they tried too hard to push the envelope or took the game too seriously at times. It can be a lot of fun if you turn off your brain though!

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