There are times in my life in which I have felt despair, in which the presence in my life of the guiding force of a just and loving universe has not been immediately apparent to me. From now on, whenever I feel that way, I simply need to remember one thing—in just a few short months, everyone's favorite CoteWiNoLo is going to be back on the streets of Grant City…
Namco is publishing Dead to Rights 3.
Typing that sentence feels like being kissed by angels. Seven years after the original, five years after the attempt to make a sequel, four years and two years after the assets left over from that failed sequel attempt were crudely re-fashioned into Dead to Rights 2 and whatever the hell that PSP thing was, Namco has finally employed a development house to produce what the gaming community (by which I mean me) has been screaming for—another Jack Slate adventure!
Naturally, as with all gaming news, this information is a mixed bag. The good news? The game Dead to Rights 3 exists. The bad news? It's being developed by the people responsible for Reservoir Dogs, a game so depressing that I couldn't even bring myself to review it sarcastically. Luckily, Tera was on hand to deliver a review with which I can find no fault.
While I've always been an advocate of judging a game's likely success by its developers' previous endeavours, I'm not ready to be full-on pessimistic yet, as I am about a certain platform-filled horror game. Reservoir Dogs' problems had more to do with what a terrible idea it was to develop that movie into a game than the specific gameplay mechanics (shooting, cover… bullet festivals…) involved, so who knows?
Now it's time to take a look at the screenshots made available over at The Magic Box, and see what we can glean from them.
Here's Jack Slate looking up at some founding father statues holding up flags. Presumably this scene is set in some kind of a government building, meaning that the first game's theme of political corruption will turn up again.
Now Jack Slate is looking up again, this time at a towering skyscraper. So it's not just political corruption he's dealing with, but corporate as well… or are they the same thing? For some reason looking at this shot makes me wish the game was going to be using the Assassin's Creed engine, and that I would get to climb the building.
It's Jack in a tank top, looking to beat people up near a casino. Nothing out of character there.
Look! Shadow's back, and he's tearing out some guy's throat! Yaay! I knew a simple plane crash couldn't keep that dog down! Notice how the colour is washed out when Shadow attacks—this is a reference to the scientific fact that dogs see everything through a "Tony Scott Movie" filter.
Now Jack's in a hurry to get somewhere. Is it a mansion? A museum? An old zoo? The possibilities are nearly limitless!
We're five photos in, and you may be noticing a trend. That's right, Jack Slate, the famous Gun-Toting Kill Dispenser, does not have a weapon in any of these screenshots.
The Dead to Rights series has, so far, been a crude amalgamation of decent gun-fighting gameplay and some of the worst 3rd person brawling ever depicted in video game form.
It seems like any sane person looking at the series' track record would immediately recognize that the new game in the series should throw out all the terrible fist-fighting and go back to what the games did best.
Or not. Yup, that's Jack Slate punching a guy down a flight of stairs. And while the concept of punching a man down a flight of stairs makes me happier than just about anything else, I have so many misgivings about the fighting mechanics Dead to Rights games that I can't get excited about it.
Of course, the fact that, based on the odd pose of the falling guy, they seem to have a physics engine for the first time in the series is a pretty good thing.
The fact that he's fighting identical twins is less encouraging, unless that's part of the plot.
There's the gun I was looking for! It's about time, too. I was starting to get worried. The fact that the gun appears in the same picture as a helicopter, promising some sweet Man vs. Helicopter action is just icing on the cake.
Dead to Rights 3 is coming, and (hopefully) no force on heaven or earth can stop it.
Also, feel free to read the longer version of my review of Dead to Rights (available in .PDF format). Or, just wait a couple of weeks – the news of a new title in the series has emboldened me to create a new version of the review that will be out soon (the original was written in the days before the Internet had pictures).