Nick Walker is betrayed by his long-time partner, but upon being transported to the afterlife, he’s given a position with the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department). In a “classic” old world meets new world scenario, Nick must quickly learn how to handle this new futuristic world and battle the Deados (the afterlife’s renegade souls), with his new partner Roy Pulsipher. If all you’re hearing right now is a mediocre buddy cop movie plot, you’re right! R.I.P.D. is a (wannabe) summer blockbuster that also has its own game tie-in. Unfortunately, like the movie of the same name, it’ll go forever waning and craving to be more than it truly is.
There’s good news though: R.I.P.D. is not a typical retelling of the movie’s plot, as the synopsis and exposition are laid out in the opening cinematic. This is a straightforward horde mode game, complete with perks and upgrades as motivation to keep you earning. In a nice twist, you have a constant running clock, alongside your lives and kill streak meter that, if depleted, ends the game. There’s very little time to take in the sights, as each of the five rounds must be taken care of briskly to prevent game over. But worry not, as you and a buddy can team up online (only two players max) and tackle the various Deados and criminals. You’ll run about the various maps, racking up kill streaks that lead to various traps and health boosts, which then lead to bigger traps and cash hauls. It’s very rudimentary and simplistic, almost to the point of non-intelligence.
R.I.P.D. is certainly not unplayable, no, but it’s not doing anything new for the genre or anything remotely positive for the industry or property it’s tied to. That being said, the game is likely the strongest thing going for R.I.P.D. aside from the comic series that spawned the franchise. If you are to play R.I.P.D., you’ll need patience and a good partner. Swarms of enemies will be coming at you from all areas and angles, and it can be overwhelming at times. Surprisingly, the enemy AI isn’t as miserable as one might expect a tie-in game to be.
Some R.I.P.D. enemies we’ve lovingly titled bring some uniqueness, such as “Car Door Man,” who actually has shields, can withstand heavy gunfire, and do damaging melee attacks. Meanwhile, the “mohawks from the 80’s” can heal your enemies, prolonging their doom. While the strategy is minimal, these bastards can be a pain every now and again. Luckily, your various perks and weaponry can assist you heavily in battle too. With health beacons, chains, and the devastating vine attack as your disposal, you can turn the tide quickly, bearing in mind you must have the necessary perk level to do so. Worry not though, as your meter continuously builds as you kill the Deados; aim straight and true, and the perks are earned easily and plentifully.
Sadly, most of the maps are hit and miss when it comes to formulating a plan for the opposition. Some allow you to funnel most enemies into a certain area, allowing for a string of quick deaths, while others are too open and can make it nigh impossible to develop a strategy. That’s where good teamwork comes in; having a strong partner can make all the difference, but should they go down, a few dodge maneuvers and running about can prevent death until they revive. Just be sure to keep an eye on your lives and time, as they can get away from you. If you’re upgrading your weapons and buying consumables before every match, you’re not going to last long on the harder difficulties.
R.I.P.D. is by no means a terrible game, and although the low box-office debut of the film this is an offshoot of is likely to hamper it, it’s not a complete waste of the $10 (PS3, XBL, PC) asking price. Get a buddy over the weekend to join you, and we’re certain that the price tag will more than supplement itself. It’s such a shame that this game is just so generic and bland that it never excels at any one thing in particular. However, R.I.P.D. shouldn’t be placed on probation, but it’s not unwise to keep it under surveillance for a rainy weekend.