That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another Gincairn Review, this time on the new D3 title
"Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard"
Firstly a bit of back story, to start with how can this be called "the Return of Matt Hazard" when we as gamers have never heard of him before? Well it's all a part of the story behind the game itself, you see Matt is a semi-retired video game hero from the 80's, his career kind of bottomed out after the abysmal HazMatt Kart racing
and the water pistol shooter Soak'em and the video game company he works for has hit rock bottom, that is until a new developer joins the ranks and decides that the new title is going to star the one and Only Matt Hazard!
When Matt enters the first level things seem to be going to plan, well rehearsed script, good dialogue and enemies to shoot, then funny things start happening, enemies from old games start turning up and the other characters don't seem to be sticking to the script. Someone is hacking the game and trying to kill Matt Hazard once and for all.
And that's the basic plot. . .
Eat Lead is a parody game, it never takes itself seriously and pokes fun at a lot of other games while referencing bits and pieces from days gone by, it breaks the fourth wall in almost every level and it has some of the silliest trophies available for any game, a bronze being given for starting a new game, pausing for the first time and finishing the tutorial but there are some harder ones to nab too, killing two enemies with one bullet for example.
Eat Lead is a third person shooter and as with Socom, the player can view from over either shoulder and aiming is made easier depending on your viewpoint.
The weapons available are varied and pretty good fun, going from a Magnum to dual wielding six shooters in a wild west themed level or switching to a grenade launcher picked up from the Russian missile factory each has their own benefits and since guns can be looted from fallen foes, there is never a shortage of ammo.
The guns themselves aren't the main focus of the game however, it's the cover system where Eat Lead excels, find a handy spot of cover to hide behind and you have three options available, blind fire, pop up and aim or even run to the next point of cover (this is done automatically by the player selecting the appropriate space and pressing the correct button). The cover system works very well and really sets the game apart from other titles of its type. You can't hide behind crates and boxes forever though, enough shots will cause the boxes to de-res leaving a glowing
blue hole in the ground where your life saving crate had once been.
Graphically the game is great and certain points of the story will harken back to the old Disney film Tron, with a small twist of the matrix movies thrown in for good measure (for example enemies "bleed" code instead of claret).
There are some nice nods to older games, stealth aspects from MGS, explosive fire extinguisher play from Dead to Rights and silly in-game humour likening back to the old lucasarts point and click games.
The bosses are varied and also come right out from the older games that the title pokes fun at, Altos Stratos for example is a final fantasy-esque character who attacks, heals and uses items all from a blue menu that pops up in front of him.
The sound in-game has it's own good points too, the music is involving and sometimes cheesy with a final fantasy like tune being played when you have cleared a room of the enemies swarming in, voice acting is great from the gravelly Matt Hazard to the Arnie inspired Sting Sniperscope, with Matt plugging his own catchphrase ("It's Hazard time") at every available opportunity.
The game does have its flaws though, the first time I played it the shoot from cover feature was glitched, instead of the gun aiming where I wanted it to, the aiming reticule would twist and aim at the sky, the only way around it was to restart, thankfully this was right near the start of the game and didn't crop up again.
Enemy AI is not perfect and will lead to some very boring games of hide and seek while you try to find that last hidden enemy. Lastly, the game has a tendency to get very samey after the first few levels but the humour and commentary from Matt can make up for that and even alleviate the boredom.
As already mentioned for the trophy lovers out there, there are some very simplistic trophies to grab but also a few real challenging ones too, this does ensure that the avid trophy collector will keep coming back for more in an attempt to collect the full set.
The best way I could describe this game would be it's a fun but not too serious action shooter that I would recommend at least for people to try once, it won't be everyones cup of tea but can be worth a giggle if you're looking for a simple action fest.
Overall I'd give this a very solid 7 with just the occasional glitches and slight repetition stopping it from being an 8, a decent title that just screams for a sequel.