E3 2011: House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut First Look Preview

E3 2011: Creepy hospitals, zombies, and new content await us in the PlayStation Move rerelease of this on-rails shooter.

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Two years on from the release of the Wii-exclusive light gun shooter, House of the Dead: Overkill, the grindhouse film-inspired game is about to get a second birth on the PlayStation 3. The original was a tongue-in-cheek take on the genre, and it took players on a potty-mouthed thrill ride through hospitals, swamps, and industrial complexes as they blasted zombies to kingdom come with an assortment of real-world weapons.

After Sony's E3 2011 press conference, we had our first chance to go hands-on with the rebirth of this title, and not a lot has changed, though the game is looking sharper and nastier than ever. Tuned to work with the Move controller--and in our case, inside one of the pistol accessories to house the motion-sensing wand--we plugged away at the screen as the undead shambled toward us looking to feed on our sweet, sweet brain goo.

So what's new? Well, the rerelease for the PS3 will include rebalanced combat for some of its boss fights, as well as two completely new levels being added. Details on the latter and where they fit into the story won't be released until Gamescom later this year. The most obvious change has to do with the visuals, which are now available in high definition and looking considerably better than the muddy textures and flat lighting found in the Wii version. Spinning ceiling fan blades over fluorescent lighting gave the game a suitably eerie feel as we charged through the decaying environments. The upped texture quality also provided a better view at every fold of skin and bloody patch on enemy outfits.

Our early hospital level ended with the Screamer boss fight, where we took on a Ring film-inspired witch who warped around the environment as we dealt damage to her. Periodically, she would summon help from a row of doctors and nurses, popping up closer to the front of screen and reaching outside of the frame. The game will support stereoscopic 3D on the PlayStation 3, and the demo was playable in the mode, but it was disabled for our turn.

Move controls felt reasonably accurate but still not quite as comfortable as using a standard light gun. Fine control became a little twitchy when attempting to hold steady or make small adjustments when lining up a shot on an enemy's head. We were also a little miffed by the lack of an off-screen reload in our demo, though we weren't able to fiddle around with the menus to see if it was possible. Instead, you'll need to reload by tapping the Move button on the topside of the controller. It felt a little awkward and took our attention away from the screen when we were out of bullets, though simply continuing to fire when you need to reload will do it for you automatically.

From what we have played so far, the game is feeling familiar and faithful to its Wii counterpart. We'll wait to see whether the two additional chapters being added will justify your purchase if you already own this on Nintendo's console, but the improved visuals are already a nice update. Sega is promising more details in the coming months, with the game shipping in late October in all regions. Stay tuned for more details.

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