R.I.P.D. adapts the Dark Horse comic turned big Summer movie to the video game world with some perplexing results.
Cheesy or not, I really like the concept behind R.I.P.D. You are Nick Walker, a veteran policeman who was tragically killed in the midst of a firefight. Rather than floating off toe heaven for your eternal reward, you are recruited for a very different kind of police department – the R.I.P.D. Unbeknownst to the living world, there are doomed souls amongst us, hiding from the eternity that their time alive has earned them. It is the job of the R.I.P.D. to find these souls and either arrest or exterminate them – but they don’t plan to go down easy.
Sure, it has pretty obvious Men In Black similarities, but I liked the concept there just as much (as did a lot of people), so the idea of a copycat didn’t bother me much. But how to translate the idea of the movie into a playable (and fun) video game? In this case, the solution was to turn it into a 3rd person shooter. After a rather well done opening sequence that competently explains the whole concept, you are thrown to the menu to decide where to go next. And really, there aren’t much in the way of choices, so you can’t really go wrong.
Aside from a menu option to check out the controls before entering the game, and some pop-ups as you play, there isn’t a tutorial or anything to speak of. Nor is there any variety in play. There isn’t any campaign, or story mode, or any kind of single player component at all – nor is there any local multiplayer. The only gameplay you’ll find in R.I.P.D. is of the cooperative online variety.
My biggest issue with this (aside from the fact that I like to get a little practice in on a game before subjecting the online community to my total noobness) is the fact that there have to be other people playing when you want to play. For a movie tie-in game, it’s difficult to predict with any confidence that you will be able to easily find a game months from now.
You can play as either Nick Walker or his partner Roy, with the player you are matched with showing up as the other part of the duo. The two of you will work your way through encounters in your choice of a variety of locales from a meth lab to Beacon Station to a public library. You’ll shooting at “deados” of all sorts. They pretty much just look like zombies of all shapes and sizes. There are guys holding car doors as shields, svelte females who are difficult to catch, big guys holding axes – just your basic dead guy assortment.
For the most part, it’s a pretty standard shooter. The aiming is a little touchy, and it takes a while to get used to your extra abilities, but other than that it’s just aim and shoot at the baddies or beat them down the old fashioned way. You can pick up ammo and gold off the dead ones and use your acquired wealth to purchase new weapons and their various upgrades to vastly improve your arsenal.
You can also purchase one time use boosts at the beginning of a match. That’s pretty much the extent of your customization. Your health regenerates pretty quickly if you find a safe corner, but if you do happen to get killed in battle you can either wait for your partner to respawn you or commit suicide (a much quicker option to get back in play, but comes with a penalty).
R.I.P.D. is a game pretty much solely focused at hailing bullets at swarms of dead guys.
That can be fun in its own rite, but without anything to spur on the action (be it extensive customization or a great story), it just gets stale. Add in the fact that you are pretty much at the mercy of finding someone else online to play with you, and it makes it a rather tough sell.
Despite all that, R.I.P.D. does make for mindless fun for a little while. Diehard fans of the movie, or someone just looking for a cheap shooter to play with friends, won’t be disappointed as long as they know what they’re getting into.