Review by aaronmykyta

"Dead to Rights is a good game, I reckon!"

Dead to Rights: Reckoning is the first shooter out on the PSP market today, and it does a pretty good stand-alone job. With Coded Arms a few days away from release, you might do yourself a favor and wait for that particular game, instead of running out and buying this one.

Reckoning is a third-person shooter with a basic story: A girl gets kidnapped and it's up to Jack Slate and his canine friend Shadow to go through level after level of shooting thugs. It's a pretty linear game, with hardly any unlockables (except for beating the levels on harder difficulty). But regardless of the repetitive action, you will probably find this game very enjoyable.

The game boasts that it has "cinematic gunplay," which is not particularly true. The game tries a Max Payne-esque style of gameplay, as of which has you running around (occasionally slowing down time and doing a fancy dive) and loading your enemies with lead. The only problem with this is that Max Payne does it better.

The game's controls are basic for this type of game. You use the analog stick for movement, while the directional-pad is used to change weapons. The left trigger is used to duck, while the opposite trigger is used to lock-on to any enemy. The triangle button is used for diving and using the slow-motion feature, while it can also be used as a jumping mechanic. The square button is used to command your canine companion Shadow to kill any enemy and retrieve its weapon. The circle button is your typical action button, which you can use to open doors or use your disarm feature, and the X button is to shoot.

You do get a good supply of weapons, though. Firearms ranging from pistols, to submachine guns, to shotguns all show up in this game. Plus, you can dual-wield any two weapons that only require one hand individually to operate.

But one thing this game can offer you that is very interesting is the disarm mechanic, which can be particularly brutal at times. Slate uses many wrestling-type moves to take down an enemy, and the conclusion to these moves is shooting them in the head. But the number of these moves are limited and get boring quickly.

The game does have a multiplayer feature, but it is completely ruined thanks to the lock-on mechanic. The thing is, you can lock-on to your opponents through objects! So if your friend tries to hide from you, you can still lock-on to them and wait for them to come out and then start pulling the trigger. You will most likely win that gunfight, unless you have no skill in third-person shooters.

The graphics in the game really show off the PSP's technical prowess. The environments are all dark and give off a great mood to the game. Slate, Shadow, and all his enemies are all detailed better than what you'd expect from the PSP. The only problem with this is that there isn't very many skins for your enemies, so be prepared to see plenty of familiar faces when you shoot them.

The sound is pretty good, with metal music blasting through the mini PSP speakers. It is very clear and gives the game a great vibe. But the story animates through text, so you can get fairly annoyed if you were expected full speech, but people who read like me won't mind it at all.

Therefore, Dead to Rights: Reckoning is a fairly competent game on all ends, except the multiplayer. I would say rent first, then buy, but wait until Coded Arms comes out and then try both of them. But if you're looking for a fun action game for the PSP, look no further.

+Good graphics
+Great sound
+Good run-and-gun action
+Great disarms
-But get boring quickly
-Cheap multiplayer
-Very linear
-No speech!


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/05


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