The House of the Dead: Remake | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The House of the Dead: Remake | Review | Switch

The House of the Dead: Remake has taken its sweet time to arrive on the Nintendo Switch. Originally revealed at Nintendo Indie World Showcase in April 2021, Forever Entertainment took on the task of rebuilding the original arcade shooter from the ground up. After a bit of a delay, the game is finally here, but is it a worthy remake of the beloved classic? That’s what we’re here to talk about. 

If you’re reading this review, chances are you know what to expect when it comes to gameplay. Just in case you don’t, The House of the Dead: Remake is an on-rail shooter where players take control of a government agent(s) who are investigating some mysterious disappearances. Of course, things aren’t always that simple, as you’ll run into a house full of monsters that you’ll need to take out to save any survivors. For Remake, you’ll likely feel right at home in terms of controls. Controlling the on-screen reticle can be done in one of two ways - via the control stick or gyro controls. You can shoot with ZR, reload with B and center the cursor on the screen with Y. Gyro aiming is where it’s at, but it is not without issues. 
For most of my time with the game, I was using the Switch Pro Controller’s gyro functionality. It should be noted that it IS possible to play the game with Joy-Con with up to two players locally (I didn’t have anyone to play with, so I can’t really comment on that aspect of the game). You should go in knowing that these are NOT pointer controls like what you would have found on the Wii or what you would have found in the arcade via a light gun. You control the on-screen reticle by slightly moving the controller. 

By and large, the gyro controls work, but they can sometimes get a bit jumpy. Especially when things are getting hectic on-screen. I found that in early levels, or when I was facing enemies that didn’t move very quickly, I was taking out foes with ease. However, when things would get a bit more hectic, the reticle seemed to get a bit jittery. It’s kind of hard to know if this was an issue with the game itself or just my gaming ability. Either way, it FEELS that way to me, so your mileage may vary. 

Things are pretty simple when it comes to modes. Of course, there is the main campaign to play through with a few different gameplay options when it comes to difficulty and scoring. A “Horde Mode” is also available. This throws significantly more enemies on the screen as you are going through what amounts to the regular campaign. For vets of the series or people who are getting bored breezing through the main story, this mode could give the game a bit more longevity. On top of the two modes, there are a number unlockables and achievements to collect as well as leaderboards to track your high scores. Unfortunately for the leaderboards, they are offline only. The addition of some kind of online element here would have significantly helped people stay hooked to compete against friends or top players from around the globe. The lack of online multiplayer is also going to disappoint some. 

Visuals, Performance & Audio
This isn’t just a simple HD texture update of the original game. Things were rebuilt completely from scratch for this remake. The character modes look pretty good and the environments are believable enough. It’s probably not going to blow you away, but it doesn’t have to. If you’re a fan of the original or light gun shooters in general, you’re going to enjoy what’s on offer on the visual front.
Performance Mode OFF (higher fidelity)
Performance Mode ON (lower fidelity)
Remake does offer a “Performance Mode” that can be activated from the Options menu. This ups the framerate significantly, however it does make the game take a bit of a graphical hit. An example of this can be found in the lighting. It might be a bit tougher to see in screenshots, but in motion you can clearly see a downgrade in the game's lighting system when Performance Mode is turned on. This is something that could probably be overlooked by many if they are just looking to play the game in a more smooth fashion. Regardless, nothing really stood out as detrimental to the experience. 

On the audio front, things are actually pretty fantastic. I really enjoyed the creepy/Halloween-y tunes on the main menu. The zombie moans and shooting sounds were great. The voice work is kind of cheesy, but if you’ve ever played a game in the series (maybe sans Overkill, which was very aware of the “serious” yet cheesy tone the other games set), you are going to feel right at home. 

I’m kind of torn on The House of the Dead: Remake. I was a huge fan of House of the Dead 2 on the Dreamcast and Overkill on the Wii. I really enjoy the pick up and play nature of the genre, and I think that aspect of the series is nailed here in this remake. It is, however, hard not to mention that the controls can feel a bit off at times, especially when things are getting crazy on screen. Not only that, but lack of online for leaderboards and multiplayer are a bit of a let down. Still, if these are some thing that you can get over, I think there is still quite a bit of fun to be had with Remake. But let’s turn things over to you. Did you pick up The House of the Dead: Remake on the Switch? What do you think of it? Are you excited to see the House of the Dead 2 Remake? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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