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House of the Dead OVERKILL: Extended Cut is like playing a brand new game

As you may have guessed by my excitable reaction to this PS3 remake's announcement, House of the Dead Overkill is one of my favourite videogames. It takes the basic premise of Wow Entertainment's classic lightgun shooters, combines it with the best of grindhouse movie clichés and serves it up with lashings of swearing, gore and – most of all – humour. But, brilliant though it is, the Wii version is undeniably flaky in some areas. PS3 addresses them all, mostly with freshly remade content. Get a load of this…

For starters, the first thing you'll notice about the game is that it's smoother (unless you're playing it in 3D, in which case the first thing you'll notice is that it's 3D). The frequent stutters in the old version's movement have all been ironed out, further suspending your disbelief and letting you concentrate on the fun of dismembering high-definition zombies.


Above: Three shots left in the barrel, three zombies and a flying axe on their way. Decisions, decisions

The cut-scenes have been re-recorded, now with motion captured acting instead of the stilted, hand-animated movements on Wii. For the game to look as low-budget as it does requires a lot of high-budget work. The filter over the screen that emulates low-quality film is better, the lighting more moody and the gore physics now even more satisfying.

Sadly, Agent Washington's potty mouth was censored in the version we were shown (as this build has been shown off at public events), but the team is no doubt annoyed that their Guinness World Record for 'sweariest game ever' was snatched away by Mafia II. The two extra levels should contain plenty of blue language to make up for that.


Above: You still get more points for headshots and your accuracy is displayed at the end of each level

Interestingly, while Washington's voice sounded the same as it always did, Agent G's voice sounded slightly different. This may be from re-recorded audio, but I suspect the voice actor has changed. We'll find out when we get the full game to play.

 

Oh no, it does not move me

I was playing the game with a PlayStation Move controller, encased in a Sharpshooter gun peripheral. The peripheral is good and the shotgun-style cocking action feels rather Arnie-esque. However, I'm unconvinced with regard to PlayStation Move. The aiming reticule is reasonably steady, but there is a tangible delay between moving your aim and seeing the reticule's position adjust on the screen.

The old scoring system is back, with that harsh 'one miss and you drop your combo' mechanic still in place – only now all the harsher due to the increased difficulty level of the game.


Above: Don't worry about this guy, he's 'armless enough... if you get on his good side

Everything is the same but different, from the menu screens with new features to extra music tracks alongside the old ones. It's still ultra-funky, though – don't worry about that. Slow mo-fo mode is also back, only now the special effects stand up to closer scrutiny. And exploding a zom… sorry, 'mutant' with a shotgun in slow-motion is worth taking your time over.

Better graphics, better gore, better cut-scenes and better fluidity. Mix these with more levels, more weapons (including a crossbow!), more dimensions to play it in and even an extra playable character. That last one's under wraps for now, but seeing how hot we are for HotD, expect a lot more coverage soon. It's looking damn fine.

I know I say this every time, but I highly recommend you watch this video to see what you've got to look forward to.

20 July, 2011

10 comments

  • IceBlueKirby - July 21, 2011 9:22 p.m.

    If I ever get a Move, this will be one of the first games I purchase to use it with. I never played the Wii original but I enjoyed HoTD 2&3 Return, so I'd imagine this one will be a lot of fun too.
  • Crypto140 - July 21, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    You need Move to play the game? It's time to drop some F bombs, oh wait, it's a public venue so it will be censored(I just had to say that) ReCAPTCHA: Axes ricias. Is that a new weapon?
  • philipshaw - July 21, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    Great preview and I will be getting this for sure,loved it on Wii
  • grayguwapo - July 21, 2011 6:33 a.m.

    i really want this game... aside from the fact that i'm a fan of house of the dead but so is my wife and it's probably going to be one of the very very very few games i'll be able to either get her to play with or play with me... and also the fact that the add-ons and improvements sound really awesome...
  • VictorRodriguez1 - July 20, 2011 9:17 p.m.

    so the profanity was censored due to this being a public event, yet it's HOUSE OF THE FUCKING DEAD? nice to know where our priorities are.
  • Redeater - July 20, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    I was one of 3 people that actually bought this game for wii and while I don't have a PS3 yet I will be picking this game up when I buy one. @Justin Towell Any word on additional continuity errors during cut scenes? Those scenes absolutely made that game for me. *glasses get knocked off then next scene they are back on *car makes same turn 2-3 times
  • jackthemenace - July 20, 2011 6:11 p.m.

    I don't have move, so I can't get the better-ified version D: Is the original on Wii any good, if this can't be played with a standard Controller?
  • Shadowsedge117 - July 20, 2011 6 p.m.

    This is why I always liked the idea of Move: take all the core games from the Wii (MadWorld, Okami, HotD: Overkill, Resi 4, Epic Mickey, etc.), remaster them for the PS3 with the Move controls, and now these games are on a console that are mostly owned by core gamers. I would buy Okami and Madworld in a heartbeat if they brought a remastered Wii version to PS3 a la No More Heroes and Overkill.
  • Bobbety - July 20, 2011 5:12 p.m.

    I really liked this game on Wii, but I don't have move so I'll probably just end up watching the remastered cut-scenes on YouTube. And Detective Washington is one classy motherfucker.
  • reson8er - July 20, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    The release timing couldn't be better for this (around Halloween). I already pre-ordered it :D

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