House of the Dead: Remake Review

House of the Dead: Remake on Switch

History can weigh heavily on a lot of things, and this is no exception when it comes to game franchises. For The House of the Dead series, it all started about 20 years ago in the arcades as an on-rails shooter featuring zombies, monstrosities, and fun small arms action. Since then, however, lackluster efforts have been made to turn it into home entertainment, and with The House of the Dead: Remake for the Nintendo Switch, there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel.

As fun as it is to blast zombies in the head and rack up a new high score, the game developed by MegaPixel Studio tends to get in the way too much, which can be frustrating for players from the start. The controls aren’t exactly tight, the performance can be hit or miss, and the repetitive nature of the gameplay won’t hold your attention for long.

Players will take on the role of Agent Rogan or G and attempt to stop the mad scientist Dr. Curien from ending humanity with the undead hordes. The solution is a bucket of bullets in those monsters, and that’s pretty much what we can expect from The House of the Dead: Remake. There are three different endings to hunt down, and it all depends on a player’s performance, so there’s always an incentive there.

At least the filming remains as entertaining as one would remember from the arcades. With the element of movement removed from the equation, players can focus solely on taking down zombies. There are tons of monsters to slay, and there are even alternate paths that can be taken depending on the situation. It helps add replayability to an otherwise short game and keeps things fresh just a bit.

If enjoying the game alone isn’t enough, having a partner in tow makes things even more enjoyable. Limited to local co-op, The House of the Dead: Remake features both competitive and co-op co-op for a pair of would-be zombie slayers. The first is to get the highest scores with your own pool of continues, while the second sees a shared pool of continues while trying to get a great score together.

There’s also a new game mode for players to go all-in on, although it’s only a slight variation from Story Mode. Horde mode offers almost the same experience, but with up to 15 times more zombies on screen. Not only do players have to deal with more undead, but they also take more hits to fall. Add the escalating difficulty modes into the mix, and series veterans will have their hands full to prove their mettle.

If you start to run out of continues, the points earned can also be used to buy more lives. Accurate shooting and a sharp eye will serve players well, and you can always switch back to classic scoring for a more traditional experience. Unfortunately, for those looking for a boss rush mode, that’s something the remake lacks.

The biggest challenge is in the controls of The House of the Dead: Remake. There are several options to choose from – use a Pro Controller like a first-person shooter, use two Joy-cons for gyro aiming, or a singular Joy-Con in co-op (which is an extremely weird limitation) – but There are some minor issues that you have to get used to.

House of the Dead: Co-op Remake

Shooting and reloading are the most used functions, tied to A/ZR and B/ZL commands, and when you’ve unlocked additional weapons by saving all scientists, players can use the d-pad to switch between weapons . As for aiming, it can be done using the thumbsticks, gyro controls, or a combination of the two.

The last two options will require tweaking based on your personal sensitivity and speed preferences, which is probably too inconvenient for a title that’s meant to be plug and play. When you’re looking to shoot zombies and get high scores, the last thing you want to do is spend too much time in the menus. If gyro aiming is the preferred way to play, using a Pro controller or even handheld mode will yield better results.

As a modern remake, one would have expected something beyond the rudimentary visual fidelity update and the like, but sadly there’s no extra meat on the bones beyond the original story. Crushing the universe further would have been a good idea, and with the sequel on the horizon, it would have been a great way to get into it and stretch the remake beyond its 30-40 minute runtime. .

House of the Dead: Remake

The House of the Dead: Remake also suffers from performance issues, especially when things get too hectic. There are instances of freezing even in Performance Mode, and loading can take a while between levels. While I wasn’t expecting instant loading, for a game like this, the time it takes for everything to load is just amazing, even on the Nintendo Switch.

Ultimately, The House of the Dead: Remake is a modern take on the arcade classic that’s usable enough for fans looking to play at home. It brings additional replayability with its difficulty, rating systems, and new Horde mode, but is held back by poor performance, frustrating controls, and a lack of new content. Unless you’re a huge fan, The House of the Dead: Remake isn’t the best way to experience this classic for the first time, and it would probably have been better to die than resurrect in this form.

House of the Dead: Remake

House of the Dead: Remake Critic Review

Reviewer: Jake Su | Copy provided by the publisher.