The House of the Dead: Remake Review (PS4)

The House of the Dead: Remake Review (PS4)
The House of the Dead: Remake Review (PS4) 1

Playing games like Point Blank and Time Crisis on PS1 was a novelty like no other. Bringing these often immaculately replicated predominantly arcade experiences into your living room felt amazing at the time, especially if you were lucky enough to own a G-CON 45 or any of the alternatives to it. That magic was often enough to obfuscate the fact that you had effectively paid full price for a 30-minute game, but it doesn’t work quite the same nowadays.

The House of the Dead: Remake is notable for several reasons: It represents the first console conversion of SEGA’s iconic 1996 rail shooter since Tantalus Interactive’s disappointing SEGA Saturn port; it is widely assumed that the Japanese company lost the source code. This new visit to Curien Mansion has been rebuilt from the ground up in Unity, then with every automated camera transition and barrel placement painstakingly recreated for PS4.

The problem is, without the warm glow of a CRT and a greasy plastic gun in hand, the experience doesn’t bridge the gap between ’90s camp curiosity and modern-day undead blast. Despite a variety of settings, controls feel clunky with both the DualShock 4 controller’s analog stick and gyroscope; even a combination of the two, such as the contemporary gyroscopic aim promoted by titles like splatoonit feels spongy and frustrating. PD movement Support is scheduled to be added, but controlling a cursor with Sony’s motion wand hasn’t felt the same as with a light gun either.

You’re left with a game that just doesn’t feel true, in a release that has little to offer beyond shooting zombies in the face. All of the exploding body parts and ridiculous boss fights from the original are replicated here, and you can choose from a couple of different scoring systems and even a couple of local multiplayer options that fundamentally change how your credits are used. But even the addition of a brutal Horde mode, which increases the number of decomposing bodies on screen, can’t make up for the fact that the core gunplay feels so stiff and unsatisfying.

It’s a brave effort and an impressively authentic recreation overall, but it just doesn’t hold up from a modern perspective, especially without a light gun in hand.

The House of the Dead: Remake Review (PS4) 1

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