For the first time since its release in the arcades back in 2005, House of the Dead 4 finally makes its first console appearance on the PlayStation 3. Considering how many times the previous games have been released and re-released, it amazes me this one didn’t come out sooner.
The game’s events take place between House of the Dead 2 and 3. Armed with sub-machine gun, you take control of James Taylor, one of the protagonists from the second game, and Kate Green, a newcomer to the series. As usual of any of the HotD games, you follow a certain path, choose a path when there’s a fork in the road, kill any zombie that gets in your way, and fight a boss conveniently named after a Major Arcana.
While they don’t stray too far from the formula, there are a couple of notable gameplay changes from the third to the fourth game. The use of grenades is a welcome addition. They’re used for crowd control and can take a decent chunk out of several of the bosses. Critical Shots are also a new feature exclusive to this game. Encouraging players to use headshots in the game, the success of headshots chain into bigger bonuses that are later calculated in to the final results of each stage. The Critical Shot meter resets, however, if a player kills a zombie not using a headshot or getting attacked.
Infused with this release was the use for the PlayStation 3’s Move controller. The controller works seamlessly with the game, and is a much preferred method over using the controller and analog stick to shoot zombies. Due to the accuracy of the Move, players will have an easy time being able to strike down zombies the way they want to.
The game is also packed with several extras. After completing the game, you get Behind the Scenes footage of the game’s production, as well as the arcade exclusive House of the Dead 4 SP. The game takes place moments after the ending of the main game and teams you up with everyone’s favorite suffered character, G. This mode however, is only two stages long, but has multiple ending depending on the result of the final boss battle.
I’m a big fan of the House of the Dead series, and it has served as an enjoyable rail shooter for the last 16 years. Having one of the tougher (but most visually pleasing) finally available on console makes it great for anyone one who loves zombies and extremely cheesy dialogue.
Pros: Graphics, cheesy dialogue, extras are nice (even if minimal)
Cons: Difficult to play alone, doesn’t take too long to earn each multiple ending