'Land of the Dead' Game Review

Format: PC

Released shortly after the film, land of the dead is an average sort of game. I never had particularly high hopes for the game. Nearly all movie tie in suck, more so the company that was creating the game had yet to release anything substantial. When I first played the game I was pleasantly surprised.

The game is a functional horror FPS game, it has a creepy atmosphere and some effective scares. The sound effects and randomly appearing zombies mean the player never feels safe. Despite this, the game has some major flaws.

The big flaw is headshots. Shortly after the game starts the player is confronted with their first zombie, instinct kicks in, the player is smart and takes his time, the player is aware that every shot counts and that they must balance a guaranteed head shot with the risk of letting the zombie getting too close. The player aims, fires, perfect head shot, the player fires again, the player fires again. The first zombie encountered took four shots to the head to kill, I have no idea how many body shots it would take. There is something disappointing about shooting a Romero zombie in the head and it not even being stunned. I put this down to the developers realizing that the slow lumbering lummoxes would be too easy to kill. The inability to kill a zombie with one shoot does provide some positive effects, notably, groups of zombies being a much more formidable force.

The atmosphere is one of the best aspects of the game. At one point in the game the player is running through a cornfield at night, the player is unsure which direction to move in, is unable to see more than a couple of meters in front of themselves and faces a continually increasing amount of zombies while they are only armed with a weak rifle (4 shots kill).

The cornfield scene is quite unnerving and is one of the highpoints of the game, unfortunately for the player that high point is only 10 minutes into the game and after about 30 minutes in the game no longer feels like a successful movie tie in but a budget release. The rehashing of scenery, a lack of variety when it comes to zombie skins as well as some annoying bugs, such as clipping issue mean that the games replayability is very limited. Another annoying factor is the voice acting and dialogue, the character is some southern hick that spews dialogue that would make Lennie from ‘Of Mice and Men’ seem Shakespearian. The graphics are functional and hold up well in 2008 but the game is let down by its engine as highlighted by the failure of hit detection as stated above.

The engine does seem quite limited, this is probably a result of its budget upbringing but when the game works it works very well but when it does not work well it is an infuriating little beast. The AI, while slowly improving as the game goes on (it is supposed to mirror the increased intelligence of the zombies in the movies), means that the lumbering lummoxes will become stronger and harder to kill as well as gaining basic abilities to fight back.

The movie is very good and a film that any zombie fan should check out. The game on the other hand is a bit weak, as a budget option or a rental it would be worth looking into. I cant recommend this game but nor would I advise anyone from avoiding it

Rating: 3/6

-- Review by Robert "Spartan" Bryden