Monday, March 23, 2009

Sega Gives Wii a Pair

We’ve all heard the story before: “Nintendo = TEH KIDDIE,” but Sega is stepping up and offering a couple of prospects for Wii that make this a much less viable claim by releasing House of the Dead Overkill last month and Madworld this month. It’s quite a one two punch, and gamers who check these offerings out are in for a treat.

House of the Dead Overkill

Sega has teamed up with Headstrong Games to give The House of the Dead series a much needed shot in the arm. Back in May, I was at a Dave & Buster’s with Maureen and my pal Mike, and we played House of the Dead 4 (or attempted to; it was a janky machine). There was some motion aspect of shaking the gun controller to the game, and I got excited that the game might come to Wii. What Wii owners gone is much better by a great margin: House of the Dead Overkill.

Overkill keeps the spirit of the HOTD series alive, but does it very differently; namely by framing the entire game in a “Grind House” style drive-in exploitation movie setting. There is lots of over-the-top violence and the most swearing in a video game ever--something Dustin has alluded to in his impressions of the game. But that doesn’t mean it’s a slouch in the gameplay. Far from it in fact; you’ve got to be quick on the draw to get several power ups and a careful shot to rack up massive combos, which in turn rack up points, which leads to cash to buy weapon power ups or new guns. Yes, it is the first HOTD with more than one weapon, and it’s a very welcome addition. The story is pretty engaging, albeit a bit silly, and there are even mini-games (how could it be a Wii game without them, amirite?) for 1-4 players.

If you were ever a fan of any of the HOTD games, you owe it to yourself to check out the latest and easily the greatest one, House of the Dead Overkill on Wii. It’s definitely not a kiddie game by any stretch of the imagination.

Mad world

Unbelievably, I have not picked up my copy of Mad World yet. Mainly because my tax refund check didn’t go quite as far as I hoped it would. However, I plan to pick the game up in the next couple weeks for sure. Therefore, I don’t know the ins and outs of the game, but I do know it’s an uber-violent brawler that is based on the evolution of reality TV shows becoming something called "Death Watch" where people tune in to watch people kill each other (a la the film Running Man). You take the role of a guy named Jack, a chain smoking, bike riding, doesn’t give a crap about anyone else, tough guy—and he will draw blood.

It seems that the main weapon of the game is a chain saw, though almost anything can be used for a weapon, from simple things like garbage cans to more ominous traps such as a giant aircraft engine conveniently parked near a battle area, to a passing subway, to a pit complete with a stomping spiked top to it.

One of the more interesting aspects of the game is that it is entirely in Black & White, a very interesting choice by Platinum Games, but one they came up with from the get go. It’s causing many to liken the game to Frank Miller’s Sin City franchise. The other awesome fact is that it’s being done by Platinum Games, who along with doing the promising looking Bayonetta, are also the remains of Clover games, who have done many great games including my beloved brawler God Hand.

Since I can’t give impressions, here’s a little look at the gameplay:

Call the Wii kiddie all you want, developers, especially Sega, are reaching out to mature audiences who have a Wii. There are other games like the new Tenchu game or the upcoming Dead Space semi-sequel coming in the Fall, or even the much hyped Conduit game. Right now, mature gamers have some quality choices on the Wii, and Sega’s offerings are definitely worth checking out.


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