Tag Archive: move

If only cute could be made to kill

Over the years, the handy virtual pet has offered many children the chance of owning a fantastic creature without having to clean up the mess. I remember when I was younger and I was suckered into the Tamagotchi craze. After a thrilling two hours, I was bored and gave it to my sister. A few hours more, she was bored and gave it to her best friend. And thus it continued, until half the neighborhood had a hand at raising this virtual creature that, because it wasn’t real, no one felt the need to be responsible for. And so now, many years later, we’ve seen this virtual-pet genre evolve to the point that we’ve got motion-control gimmick games that basically serve the same purpose. And so, with that, we’re looking at the second iteration of Sony’s virtual-pet time- and money-waster in EyePet & Friends.

The entire premise is that the player receives a creature that looks more like a Mogwai from Gremlins more than any real creature, and you earn points by playing with it or by playing against a friend and their Gizmo lookalike in various games. Honestly, the creatures are cute, but this game has as much appeal as a root canal. The only real positive is that at least if these critters get wet or eat after midnight, they don’t turn into horrific little monsters. If you’re planning on getting this for your children, don’t. Get a real pet, like a dog or a cat. It might make more of a mess, but your kids will thank you years down the road and might actually learn some responsibility from having to take care of the animal. All EyePet & Friends does is waste their time and offer the tiniest amount of entertainment value I think I’ve ever seen in a game.

On top of being absolutely pointless, the game actually also has a lot of technical flaws that make it even more of a gaming abomination. The responsiveness with the PS Move, which is required to play the game, is hit or miss, and you’ll often find yourself having to repeat the same simple motions over and over again just to get the creature to do a trick. Again, if I’m going to put this much time and effort into teaching something, I’d rather it be a real animal that’ll probably learn faster and respond better than these balls of fluff do on my TV.

And speaking of your TV, the entire “game world” is really just a reproduction of what the PS Eye sees with the critters superimposed over the image—but with what looks like a blue static filter over the screen the entire time. This filter ended up giving me a headache after a half hour, because even if you find a way to focus on your EyePet, they take up 10 percent of the screen at best. Sony was trying to bridge a gap between the real world and the fantasy world, but instead they should have just kept it in the fantasy world and actually provided some backgrounds to play with the creature in. Again, this is just another reason you should “keep it real.”

The worst part of the entire game, though, may come from the announcer who explains everything you can do with the EyePet. The man’s disturbingly unbridled enthusiasm for this virtual mongrel would put most game-show announcers to shame. Being forced to hear him explain every toy, activity, and feature of the EyePet made me want to jam pencils in my ears.

It has been a long time since I had such an abysmal gaming experience, and I cannot, in good faith, recommend this to anyone. Again, get your kid a real pet or watch as the money you spent on EyePet & Friends gets turned around by your kid as a traded-in game at a GameStop or Best Buy for something that might actually hold their interest for more than 15 minutes. This game doesn’t even deserve to be on the shelf and should start in the bargain bin—and that’s going easy on it. Bottom line: It doesn’t get worse than this, folks—at least I hope not.

SUMMARY: Like any other virtual pet: You’ll question why you even bothered in the first place.

  • THE GOOD: Creatures are cute as can be
  • THE BAD: Long load times and an announcer who makes you want to stab things in your ear
  • THE UGLY: Reminiscent of the Tamagotchi craze—and that’s not a good thing

SCORE: 1.0

A lifeless, zombified PS3 port

Back in 2009, an arcade classic was in desperate need of a makeover—and, of all places, it came from the Wii, surprisingly enough. The House of the Dead: Overkill served as a prequel for the immensely popular lightgun House of the Dead games and explained, sort of, both the origins of Agent G (the series’ main protagonist) and the zombie-causing formula he’s fought for 15 years—all wrapped in a ’70s B-movie setting with over-the-top voice acting, tons of sex and swearing, and cheesy moments galore. Looking to capitalize on that surprising success, Sega’s ported the game over to the PS3 with some upgrades in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle with a new audience.

Unfortunately, anyone who played through the original House of the Dead: Overkill will note Extended Cut for PS3 just feels…off. For as many problems that have been fixed from the original—like repetitive zombie skins and short game length—new ones seem to have cropped up. And the most glaring is way the game looks.

See, the poor graphics were actually part of the original’s charm. Throwing in a film grain to cover up the Wii’s weaker processing power was a masterstroke that helped give Overkill a B-movie look that fit perfectly with the depraved humor and unabashed, over-the-top moments. Bringing the game into full HD on the PS3 actually takes away from the original experience and shows that film grain and great graphics just don’t mix. But the visual changes don’t stop with the HD upgrade—Extended Cut also includes added 3D. Enemies chuck weapons in order to add a few 3D moments to the experience, but it feels forced and unnecessary the whole way through, and it’s just another knock on these new-and-“improved” visuals.

Another flaw comes with the controls, since most players don’t actually own a PS Move—and that’s how this game is meant to be played, with the Move serving as a makeshift lightgun to help re-create that arcade experience. If you don’t own a Move, the controls don’t translate to the DualShock, since you’ll more than likely try to overcompensate with the reticule and overshoot your target, making the game’s multiplier combos almost impossible. Looking back, the game worked so well for the Wii because the Wiimote’s essentially designed as a light gun to begin with.

Extended Cut includes two new levels that follow zombie-fighting stripper Varla Gunns when she’s not with Agent G and Isaac Washington, and those definitely add some replay value and extra humor—though the spotlight still shines on the relationship between Washington and G. These areas introduce new characters while also bridging what some might consider plot gaps—but I just think of them as part of the charm.

In the end, I can’t believe I actually found myself pining for the Wii version, as this PS3 incarnation found a way to use technology to suck out all the fun and charm of the original and deposit it in a steaming pile of disappointment on my living-room floor. If you’ve never played the original House of the Dead: Overkill and happen to own a Move, then this game might be worth checking out. Otherwise, I hope you’re ready to dust off your Wii—because I’d actually recommend that version, which you can probably find in the bargain bin these days, to get the better overall experience.

SUMMARY: It may sound preposterous, but you’d be better off checking out the far-better Wii version of this PS3 port.

  • THE GOOD: Two new levels extend the campy, on-rails romp
  • THE BAD: HD graphics with a film-grain effect is like a visual oxymoron
  • THE UGLY: The Mother boss in full 3D

SCORE: 6.0

Every now and then, people actually want to know what I think.