Dead to Rights II is nothing but pure action, which is why it's such a fun game.

User Rating: 9 | Dead to Rights II PS2
You would expect snobbish people who always look at everything down the length of their nose to dislike a simple game like Dead to Rights II, and many of them did. Their reasons for dislike happen to be, "There's no minigames, no place where you have to use your mind, such a linear game, just mindless action." Exactly. There's nothing you're supposed to do in Dead to Rights II except shoot everybody. And boy, is it fun for the non-snooty.

The first thing gamers who played the first game will notice is that the graphics have been hugely improved. The visuals in this game are brilliant - slightly cartoonish, and the slow-motion blur effects while shootdodging are brilliant. This game really does it in the graphics department. There are no obvious graphical glitches to speak of.

The gameplay itself is even closer to Max Payne than the previous game. Shootdodging now is very seamless, while in the previous game it could only be done in four directions because it had only four animations. You won't be shootdodging as much as you will in Max Payne though, since your adrenaline runs out quickly - it's best saved for diving through and quickly killing a crowd of enemies. One small thing I really enjoyed about gun combat was tapping the X button to fire quickly with dual pistols. There was something very unexplainably enjoyable about that. Many games have that, but something in this game - the excellent gun sound effects, perhaps, makes it special. The music is brilliant too. I especially enjoyed the music in the cowboy bikers' area and in the graveyard.

In some levels, you lose your weapons and have to do with your fists. Melee combat is all right, but it's somewhat less enjoyable than gun combat. It can sometimes get tedious, but it isn't frustrating.

Like in the previous game, Jack Slate, the protagonist, can summon his dog Shadow to kill a baddie or two, but there's no separate HUD bar that fills for your dog - he uses the adrenaline bar. Shadow can also retrieve dead baddies' weapons for you, something that really comes in handy when you're low on health and out of ammo.

There are disarms and human shields in this game too, but there's a limit to them. There are two green HUD points beneath your Adrenaline meter; they turn red when you disarm a bad guy or use him as a human shields. Kill more bad guys to turn them green and disarm again.

You might be wondering why I left the story for last. Truth be told, story isn't the focus here. It's a good enough story, but it's a pretty cliche one, so while I won't post spoilers I doubt you can really spoil a game with so simple a story. It works as it is, though. There are many tributes and homages, usually in Jack's one-liners, to action movies like Commando.

So in short, Dead to Rights II is awesome. It's nothing but fast paced shooting action at its finest. The gameplay is so outstanding, the graphics so good and the music so excellent that all but the arrogant gamer would like it, or at least for the harsh, not dislike it. The extreme difficulty may put some people off, but for the patient and the hardcore, it's a very, very enjoyable game.