Ride to Hell: Retribution review



May 4, 2013

I'm not quite sure how a fatter, good-eyed Snake Plissken got in this 60s biker gif slideshow, but his name is Jake and he's turned up and it is really difficult to get him to ride a motorbike. And this is a game about a man whose job, in this video game, is to ride a motorbike.

Discreet sections of Ride to Hell, a linear, supposedly story-led game, require that you must race a motorbike along a flickering road like a smartphone racing app where the road scrolls and you merely slide left and right to avoid obstacles. There's no weight or physics to it. On-bike fights are laborious button-tapping affairs. Miss a jump or an objective too many times and - this is my favourite part - your control is promptly removed, and the game has you wait while your bike very slowly veers off the side of the road, gently bumps into a fence, and then a few seconds later you explode to death. Imagine if you ran a red light in real life and then your bicycle suddenly, slowly drove itself into a hedge on your behalf. "There," it says, looking down at you smugly. "That'll teach you." And then you explode.

It actually physically hurts doing the racing sections in this game on the PC. All the grunt work is done by your left hand, where in the dullest bike race sections of all time you lean on A and D to steer, space to accelerate and shift to 'powerslide' under obstacles. Your left hand is braced in a claw position I like to call the 'Bruce Campbell', in that you will quickly wish your hand had just been sliced off instead of experiencing the strain injury that is currently coursing through it.

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