Overall Score 91%
RIP 3: The Last Hero
This week on Bytten we bring you carnage. On a massive scale. The return of the RIP series brings us its latest incarnation from White Elephant Games. Tired of thinking about stuff? Just want to blow away some enemies and relieve some pent up stress after a bad day at school or the office? Well, RIP3: The Last Hero has some obliging enemies for you. They will appear in the hundreds on some levels, and line up to be slaughtered offering only token resistance. Lock and load.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic version of the world where we have been overtaken by a violent race of cyborg invaders. The cyborg scientists in turn, discover a rift in our world that leads them to another sinister world of sorcery and witchcraft, and attempt an invasion of that world as well. Three heroes from Earth and three anti-heroes from the sorcery world now join forces to defeat the invaders, and free their respective worlds from the alien menace. At least, I think that's how the story goes. Even if my understanding of the plot is somewhat off the mark (the convoluted English in the cut-scenes doesn't help me here), it means very little as the action is strictly linear, and no understanding of why you are blowing away scores of enemy cyborgs on every level is really necessary.
In RIP3 you choose a character from 6 available and plough through 100 levels of shoot 'em up goodness. Each character has it's own strengths and weaknesses and an individual tech-tree that can be used as your character levels up to gain extra talents. By the end game you will have nearly all of the skills on the tech-tree, so it's not all that important to plan out your character as you might in an RPG, for example. Don't worry too much about strategy or tactics, they are not really needed in great quantities; simply choose the right weapon for the job and blast away. The difficulty level of the game is (probably deliberately) fairly low to keep the game accessible to a wide a range of gamers as possible.
The default control scheme works brilliantly with the WASD keys moving the player around the map and the mouse controlled target reticle rotating the character in the direction of fire. That means that it's very easy to maintain a good stream of fire whilst retreating or performing strafing manoeuvres. The left and right mouse buttons provide primary and secondary modes of fire for the currently selected weapon, and the weapon itself is selected simply by scrolling the mouse-wheel. Depressing the mouse-wheel forces a reload of your current weapon, great for when you need a full magazine as a hoard of enemies approach. The weapons auto-load when the magazine is emptied in any case. Even if the controls seem unintuitive to you, joystick and gamepad support has been implemented, and that's great news for those who will love the co-operative multiplayer mode, since one can use a gamepad and one can go with the keyboard/mouse combo.
An impressive line up of weapons awaits; from minigun types, to rocket launchers, dual-wielded pistols, shotguns and plasma type weaponry. There are also numerous enemy types, and each has their own weapons layouts, strengths and weaknesses. Every now and then a boss level requires that the player study a simple move/fire pattern and devise a strategy to annihilate the cyborg leaders. This is as cerebral as the game gets - and it's not rocket science (no pun intended).
Power-ups appear from time to time on the playfield, and these can be used by hovering the target reticle over them. Some like hand grenades or energy shields are quite modest in effect, others like the nuclear detonation or fire dragon attack are utterly devastating. The player can also make use of tanks, attack choppers and such when they are available to further devastate and lay waste to the invading cyborg army.
RIP3 is a rollicking good time because it looks and sounds fantastic. It has a great artwork in classic manga style, and the cutscenes and character art as well as the general concept art is first class. Graphics feature explosive effects, destructible landscape features, faultless animations and some of the weapons fire effects need to be seen to be believed. There is blood and gore in abundance, but also an option to turn the blood splatters into flowers for the squeamish (or easily offended). That seemed like a bit of a redundant feature to me, since the type of player who is going to love RIP3 is not the type of player who will be offended by a bit of animated gore, but it was a fun option to try out anyhow. Check out the screenshot above. The sound effects compliment the game to a tee, and the music is good yet unobtrusive. Not only that, but the menus and options screens are logically set-out and navigated with ease.
The hallowed Bytten Gold Star has been awarded. Do yourself a favour - put your brain in standby mode for an hour and download the demo now.
Keywords: rip 3: the last hero review, elephant games reviews, elephant games games, rip 3: the last hero scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.