March 21, 2009

House of the Dead: Overkill Review

House of the Dead: Overkill
SEGA, Headstrong Games

It really seems that only SEGA is pretty much going to be the top-tier publisher for hardcore Wii titles this year. While Sonic and the Black Knight did pretty bad, the fallen Dreamcast maker has still spurred a lot of interest through its other games like MadWorld and House of the Dead: Overkill- the latter of which I'm going to review.

Intended to be a prequel to the previous games in the franchise, House of the Dead: Overkill makes a noticeable step-up from those games and gives the game a real personality and distinct signature into it. Anyway, you once again star as Agent G- a name that becomes a running gag- and you fight zom- err, mutants alongside a man who likes to say the word f-k 3 times a second named Isiah Washington. Luckily, the speakers of my TV are crappy enough to block out Isiah's extremely constant swearing, but I unluckily am left out of more of the extremely funny exchanges between the duo.

I seriously love the humor, the gunplay, the tone, and the music of the game. I mean, it's a really good HOTD game but there are also a lot of things that block the title from greatness.

Gamers will definitely note the sheer length of the game- or rather, the lack of it. I mean, there are only 7 missions, and while each mission seems to be really well-crafted, they are extremely short and extremely easy- especially with a second player. Those alone are going to be deal-breakers for some, but fortunately, there are quite a few unlockables (and damn good guns), and mini-games (which supports 2-4 players, unlike the campaign which supports only 2) that will make one come back for more.

Another potential deal-breaker for some is the fact that the game doesn't run for a minute without someone saying a swear word. While I'm fine with swear words as they are used to over-the-top and humorous effect, some will definitely not like the excessiveness of them (or maybe they just won't understand the context of the game). In fact, the game has set a real record for most swear words in the Guiness Book of World Records Gamer Edition!

Yet another less deal-breaking component of the game is the occasional dip in frame rate. OK, that's a really minor flaw given the horsepower of the Wii, but it's definitely a noticeable damper to the action. Plus, the game is still on-rails meaning that you're not exactly in control of where the characters go as that part is merely automatic (but you still can use the Wiimote to look slightly upward, slightly downward, slightly left, and slightly right).

And finally, there is gonna be a lot of disgusting sh*t (for lack of a better word) abound, so be sure to take the warning "Have a strong stomach" seriously, especially in the near-end which involves brain-swapping and mother err..., never mind.

Still, it's well-written, extremely funny and just plain fun, House of the Dead: Overkill ditches the old over-seriousness (that led to some unintentional laughs) and embraces a B-movie look that suits the series extremely well. The environments are extremely stylish and the soundtrack is slick! Seriously, there's a lot to love about HOTD: OK but there are also a lot of things that hold it down from greatness- and that's just unfortunate.

Rating: 8.5/10

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