Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard

As a general rule I try to finish a game to completion before I write up the review. Sometimes a game can start off a little slow, but eventually lead up to an epic experience. However, just like certain anime series, if the early parts of the game are such a test of your patience, it doesn’t matter what’s at the end because you’re not going to care. As the trademark Mike Garcia quote goes, “Why would you drag your balls through a mountain of glass just to get to the bactine on the other side?” Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is one of these games.

This fake Matt Hazard game looks more fun then the real one.
This fake Matt Hazard game looks more fun then the real one.

The game is a third person cover based shooter with very simple goals, walk from one end of the level to the other, killing enemies that spawn along the way. The thing that is supposed to make up for this stale kind of gameplay is the humor, but really there is nothing terribly clever about it at all. Matt Hazard is voiced by Will Arnett, but Matt’s dialogue doesn’t take advantage of Arnett’s talent. It makes it feel like anyone with a gruff voice could have done Matt’s voice. In this universe Matt Hazard is the stereotypical hero of an action game franchise, much like Duke Nukem or Max Payne. The game even shows you the history and evolution of these fictional games from an 8-bit sidescroller, a first person shooter, a GTA style game and a kid friendly shooter with water guns instead of real ones. Matt Hazard games stopped being made in the late 90’s and Eat Lead is supposed to be Hazard’s comeback game. Sounds good enough right?

Here’s where things take a massive turn into confusion. To sum it up, they want you to believe that Matt Hazard is both a video game character and a real life person. Matt talks in a way that makes you think he is a real person. He constantly breaks the 4th wall and is fully aware he is in a video game like when he makes fun of the level objectives at the start of the level. What more is the CEO of the game company wants revenge against Matt Hazard because he could never beat any of Matt’s games as a kid. He plans to get his revenge by killing Matt Hazard in the video game. That would be like me wanting to kill Mario because I could never beat Super Mario Brothers. It doesn’t make much sense in real life and it doesn’t make much sense in this video game either. What confuses me even more is real world is rendered using the same in-game graphics as the video game world. This makes me feel like both worlds exist on the same plane. I think they could have been much more effective if they used cheesy FMV video for the CEO scenes, especially since he’s played by Neil Patrick Harris in this game.

One of Matt's enemies from his previous Western themed game.
One of Matt's enemies from his previous Western themed game.

I could almost forgive this game for its non-sensible storyline, after all it’s supposed to be a parody and not to be taken too seriously. But the gameplay is just way too shallow and repetitive to make up for it. Enemies can be taken down in two ways, one way is by melee attacks. You can go up to enemies and do a quick melee combo that will usually take them down. But since it is risky to expose yourself in this manner, most of the times you’ll be trying to shoot them from behind cover. Headshots are very powerful in this game, so even though there are multiple weapons to pick up, often times you can get through a whole level with your default pistol. While this is nothing new to shooters, the game never varies on this basic run and gun formula. Sure it tries to make you feel like it does. One of the gimmicks in the game is the programmers are pulling enemies from Matt’s old games to fight against him. So in the same level you may fight against cowboys, Russian soldiers, zombies, water gun soldiers, and even 2D Nazi’s that turn sideways to avoid your fire. Ultimately, it all just feels like different skins on the same enemies as the same basic strategy of headshots seem to work against everyone.

Just your typical emo JRPG hero.
Just your typical emo JRPG hero.

To me there is only one saving grace about this game. Matt Hazard is a game about parodies and the funniest by far is the inclusion of a boss that is a parody of JRPG protagonists. The boss is named Cloud Strife Altos Tratus and he is from the game Final Fantasy Penultimate Illusion. During the in-game cinema he even talks to Matt using text boxes complete with brooding over drawn monologues and ellipses. You may think the game is worth playing just to get to this point like I thought it was, but in the end this other method proved to be far less painful.

Ultimately the idea behind Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is a unique one but just lacks in its execution. The storyline feels very non sensible and wants to blur the lines between reality and video games. While there are many enemy types, they end up all feeling like the same ones just with different weapons. It gets dull in a hurry and almost makes you wish you could play Matt Hazard’s Go Kart racing game instead. To sum it all up in a line I might say if I were in this game, playing this can be very hazardous to your enjoyment.

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is available now for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

What We Didn’t Report: Week of June 15

Hay guise, sorry about the lack of posts in the past week. I had absolutely zero time this past week to write about anything, including last week’s “What We Didn’t Report” segment (which is posted today; “better late than never” as they say.) Anyway, while Joe was holding down the fort, I was scouring through the interwebs during my downtime at work and found quite a few goodies to share with you all. Without further ado, here’s this week’s stuff we didn’t report.

The End of K-On! and The Resurrection of Suzumiya Haruhi

Source: Random Curiosity

She exits the pool before she did.
She exits the pool before she does.

It’s finally over. Time flies when you’re rockin’ out to cute animu girls playing muzak. I’ll certainly miss  Tsumugi’s subtle lesbian fantasies, Ritsu’s bokke antics, Yui’s Rain Man-esque skills, Azusa’s innocent faux-tsundere quality and Mio’s unhealthy fear of barnacles. Okay, this isn’t really newsworthy. What’s newsworthy is the fact that Haruhi and the SOS-dan is really back, and it’s no joke. While the new Haruhi episode was aired a few weeks ago, I thought it was just a one-and-done deal. Coinciding with the final ending of K-On!, a new episode of Haruhi, called “Endless Eight”, broadcasted on Japanese airwaves this week. The entire episode is all about the SOS-dan’s summer activities, which apparently includes fanservice, frog suits and Mikuru being meek the entire time, or so I’ve been told. I haven’t seen the episode yet, so don’t spoil it for me! In any case, I’ll really miss the keionbu, but I’m really glad that the overbearing, uber-selfish, teenage overlord is back, and I certainly welcome her return.

(Postscript: That screencap totally reminds me of Phoebe Cates coming out of the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Is Kyoto Animation referencing 80s teen movies now?)

Bioware Interested in Ninty’s Waggle

Source: Kotaku via Joystiq

According to a Kotaku report that Joystiq reported, Bioware is sorta kinda interested in the Wii. Dr. Ray Muzyka of Bioware said, “If we did a Wii game, I think we’d approach it with the target audience in mind first and the vision of delivering an emotionally powerful narrative and go back to our basics in terms of some of the pillars of gameplay we’d like to bring to bear — exploration, progression, customization, conflict, story, narrative, and characters.” In other words, they’re developing a game where your moral choice is determined by how hard you waggle your Wii-mote.

In all seriousness, anything other than friggin’ party games, and well, more friggin’ party games is more than welcome on the Wii. But as it stands, Dr. Muzyka’s comment should be taken with a grain of salt.

Don’t Believe Everything, Not Even the Head Cheese!

Source: Kotaku

Microsoft CEO pitching for Natal and OxiClean.

On Thursday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, plainly said that a new Xbox will be shipping next year with Natal, Microsoft’s groundbreaking motion sensing peripheral. Of course, everyone was losing their shit when they heard the news. People seem to forget how challenging it is to release a new console; if Microsoft is developing a new console, their partners and the third party publishers, will certainly not be pleased about the prospect. So obviously, the Xbox division had to calm everyone’s fears and confirms that there will be no new Xbox anytime soon. Of course, there are always conspiracy theories abound.

More Cute Japanese Robotic Servants

Source: Danny Choo

And to close off this week’s news, we present to you Hina, the coffee-semi-making-and-preparing roboto:

This tiny robot can grind beans, add hot water (sorta), and serve coffee. Okay, so it’s not perfect, but I can’t create a robot this adorable (or at all for that matter).

That’s it for this week’s edition of stuff we can’t bother to report ourselves. Enjoy the weekend, and don’t forget to tune in to the Unwound show at Japan-A-Radio this Sunday night, 5pm Pacific. We’ll be back bloggin’ next week!

Learn to Play King Of Fighters in 20 Minutes or Less!

For those excited about how Street Fighter IV has revived the fighting game scene, you are probably looking forward to a few summer releases, with The King of Fighters XII being one of them. But for the uninitiated, KOF gameplay can feel extremely foreign compared to its cousin over at Capcom. How does a gamer catch up on over 10 years of KOF gameplay? Why by watching these two movies of course!

Stumbled across on the Shoryuken forums, KOF aficionado Dandy J created two videos for beginners. It gives you a taste of the strategy and mind games you never thought existed in fighters.

Part 1

Part 2

1 vs 100 Getting Price Hike From Nothing to Something?

Ask some of the Unwound show crew about the 1 vs 100 beta on Xbox Live Arcade and they’ll tell you what a fun positive experience it’s been. However this may all change when the game officially launches late in the year.

Part of Microsoft’s new Xbox Live Primetime idea, 1 vs 100 simulates the gameshow of the same name by pitting Xbox Live users against each other in trivia. The beta is currently free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, but some Kotaku readers have found something that may hint that it’s not.

During the beta, these readers have found an option to buy a “Season Pass”. Microsoft plans to run the game show over 13 week periods. It is unclear exactly what this pass is as Microsoft has yet to comment on it. Could it just be an option that would allow Silver level subscribers to play the game as well? Or is it truly an indication that 1 vs 100 will become pay-to-play? Hopefully the former, as I’m all up for prizes that are free to win. If I have to pay to win these prizes? Not so much.



Chad’s PS Triple is Now a Manga on iTunes

I'm sure Chad Wardenn approves of the moe-fied PS Triple!

About a couple of years ago, there was a viral video of some dude named Chad Wardenn (or “Woh-ennn” as he’d like to pronounce), who made a video claiming how the PS3 or “PS Triple” is better than the “gay ass” Wii and Xbox 360. Because of the ridiculousness of Chad’s claims, the video went viral and the PS Triple became a meme. It’s hard to tell whether Chad is faking his allegiance to the Triple or not, but nonetheless the video was a comedic hit.

Now, the “PS Triple”, the term that Chad coined, is now the name of a manga series you can buy for the iPhone/iPod Touch. PS Triple is about anthropomorphized moe video game consoles, including of course, the Playstation 3. Kinda like the Troubled Windows characters and equally as strange. Anyway, you can check out the web comic at their blog on the 1up web site.

In honor of the PS Triple, I present to you the origin of the term, coined by Chad Woh-enn himself. Enjoy (or maybe not).

Warning: The video may cause cancer of the AIDS of the leukemia of the eye.


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