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Free Pizza Video Game Review - House of the Dead Remake for the Nintendo Switch

It turns out, I’m pretty bad at saving scientists.

…or maybe I’m just sparing them from the tortures ahead.

Needless to say, when I heard there was a House of the Dead remake coming out for the Nintendo Switch, I needed to be all over that like bitey mutant maggots on a zombie, who is also rather bitey. That was back on April 7th, 2022. As usual, I opted for the physical release so I had to wait until May. So why am I only getting to the review now? C’mon, have you seen how timely I am on this blog??? I’m lucky to be getting at it now!

Now, I do have to be brutally honest. The biggest thing in the way of House of the Dead Remake: Limidead Edition is the fact that the Wii and House of the Dead Overkill exist and I still have and play them. This isn’t necessarily a slight to HotD Remake because Overkill casts such a long shadow. The problem is that even when I was having the most fun with Remake, there’s still that tiny voice that says “The Wii did it better.” Let me explain… Oh, wait, synopsis? Okay…we can do that.

You. Zombies. Creatures. Mutants. Shoot. Live.

That about covers it.

To start off, let’s jump the easy hurdles. Yes, this remake upgrades the graphics and yes, the voice acting has been updated…but at the same time, this update does not remove any of the cheese. Instead of sounding like Sega just pulled random people off the street and Japan and had them read lines phonetically for the “voice-acting”, this instead sounds like semi-professionals and perhaps even pros fully aware of their predecessors’ horrible reputation and running with that. This creates a great split in that yes, everything sounds smooth and perhaps even polished, but don’t be surprised if you’re able to use your TV for a nacho bowl later on.

The real stumbling block for HotD Remake are the controls. And I’m not even going to say they’re bad, per se. Yes, much has been made about Nintendo’s Switch controlers, Joy-Con drift etc. and so forth. The entire internet has plenty of writings and videos about this, so I’m not gonna go there. The controls have three modes: Thumbstick, Gyro and Combo. Thumbstick lets you move the targeting reticule with said thumbstick, Gyro uses the motion controls within the Switch Joy-Cons and Combo is the best of both worlds: use the Gyro to get the target in the right neighborhood then use the thumbstick to fine tune. Option 1 I feel like that’s a cheat, so for my first play I went with the Combo and…meh. I just couldn’t get into it. HotD just felt like another console game. There wasn’t any magic there. So for my second play, I went straight Gyro…and this was much more like it. Yes, the Switch’s motion controls pale before the Wii and as I stated earlier, I killed just as many scientists as I did zombies but in some ways this felt like the motion-control version of the old ‘Spray-and-Pray’ philosophy of First Person Shooters. Since I rely on this philosophy more and more as I get older, I was certainly okay with it and the civilian casualties that came with it. As flawed as these Gyro controls are…and as much they make you wish you could just fire up the Wii and play Overkill…this really is where the fun is. Of course, for the purpose of this review, the whole gimmick dictates that I play the game for at least 30 minutes before I give it a good rating, but the fact I had a booster shot in the arm I was using a few days ago, I really couldn’t manage using my arm that much before I started to hurt. Additionally, I don’t know if it’s a carryover from the Arcade, Overkill or both, but this wasn’t the kind of game I could play sitting down. I tried that in my first play and, again, that first play wasn’t the greatest experience. For the second play, just as much as the Gyro factored into the fun-factor for me, I gotta say, so did getting my ass off the couch and charging this House of the Dead on my feet.

The ultimate lesson of House of the Dead Remake is that you have to play it your way. To the game’s credit, it does its best to have you covered in that regard. So if you’re interested, be sure to cycle through all your options before passing your judgement. And if you’re a fan of the franchise, there’s plenty here to like, as it certainly captures the spirit of that original game. The problem is two-fold though. First, and probably the most inexcusable, is the fact that a system released back in 2006 has better motion controls than a system released in 2017. I would genuinely like an answer to that, Nintendo. The second problem, in some ways, really isn’t anyone’s fault but is something that needs to be addressed. In my eyes, House of the Dead: Overkill for the Wii was the ultimate expression of this franchise: A drive-in B-horror movie perfectly infused with all the trappings from the time period. Film Grain? Check. Bad ass black detective? Big check. Over the top everything? Hell yes check! While with Remake, we find ourselves back at the first game. That’s fun, and the game did need updating, but it also feels like a colossal step backward for the franchise.

But I guess that’s what happens when you reboot. Here’s hoping we find ourselves a little closer to Overkill next time around.

Yes, there are flaws, but this is ultimately still a fun game…you just have to find a play style that works for you. All of the magic from the old arcade game is here, but sadly, this remake remains overshadowed by some of the series’ previous entries. Still, that earns it a Happy-Cat rating.

And the pizza? That depends on your endurance. For my two plays, I’ll admit that I didn’t time myself, but I’ll confess, each session felt short: the first because I just couldn’t get into it, the second because I’m old and my arm failed me. Combining the two might…MIGHT…make it to 30 minutes, so sure, okay.

House of the Dead Remake: Limidead Edition, your pizza is free!

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