When Grand Theft Auto was released in the '90s, everyone wondered how it would look in that newfangled 3D that people had begun to introduce. Four years later, their questions were answered - but I had always wondered where all of the top-down GTA clones were. It had been four years, and nobody had copied the formula? As the years went on, the 3D version was cloned to varying degrees of success, but thankfully the original wasn’t to be ignored forever.
Riskers is very much in the vein of the original couple of Rockstar’s games, with an open city, cars that you can steal and cops happy to put a stop to that. However, it’s also taken notes from Hotline Miami, with action scenes set inside buildings which rely on you taking weapons from the people trying to kill you, and in turn murdering them.
The story is that you are an ex-con who is trying to go straight, before your brother is murdered by the local criminal underworld. Of course, you need to take revenge, so off you go to merrily murder your way to the kingpin of crime.
You can go from mission to mission just by following the marker on the screen, but there are other things to do. You can race, take people out as requests and go on drug-fueled killing sprees. Unfortunately, the side missions do nothing except give you Steam achievements. You don’t get paid, you don’t unlock weapons or power-ups… They’re just there to pad your playtime a little more.
In fact, there’s no money in the game at all. Not that there would be a reason for money to exist, because the only weapons you get are inside the levels. You start with a baseball bat and use it to take out the first goon you come across, then hope that you manage to take out the next few with the very limited amount of ammo you pick up from them. A few levels are absolutely flush with guns, but most require more finesse than indiscriminate homicide.
I won’t lie, Riskers is a challenging game. Since the cars get increasingly slower the more damage they take, time limits and races are more a matter of skill than luck. Meanwhile, the action sections are more luck than skill. As well as having a severe lack of firearms, the distance at which enemies can hear gunfire isn’t very definitive, as I’ve seen two men stood next to each other, and only one responded to my shots.
Then the enemy reaction time and accuracy is another thing with fuzzy math behind it. They can spot you the moment you move past an open doorway, and kill you if there’s a pixel’s worth of you not behind cover. But not every time! Also, you can miss a headshot with a sniper rifle, because they can move before the bullet hits them, when they hear you fire.
There’s fun to be had in Riskers, it’s just unfortunate that it’s unsatisfying. The car handling is slow and pretty boxy, gunplay is hit and miss, and you lose your weapons every time you start a new mission. Apart from getting revenge for your brother (who, incidentally, you first meet via text boxes and only ever see dead on the floor), it’s just ungratifying to play. That’s even ignoring the couple of bugs I encountered - though it was only once each time, and the game was patched a couple of times since then.
If you want a top-down game that lets you shoot people and steal cars, you might get more out of this. However, the storyline isn’t very strong, and it’s quite repetitive. Riskers could have been more, but sadly it isn’t.
Riskers (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
A little bit GTA, a little bit Hotline Miami, but lacking in many areas.