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Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green Review
Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green is a zombie-themed FPS that fans of zombie movies will absolutely love. This is just 100% pure zombie killing action that zombie fans have been waiting seemingly forever for. If you are just looking for another shooter, this isn’t for you. But if you are a die-hard fan of the living dead, you need to check this one out.

Zombies = Good Times

Typically in reviews you aren’t supposed to address the other reviews out there for the particular product you are covering, but in this case I have to take issue with the bad rap Land of the Dead has gotten. It is slowly paced, none too pretty looking, and there are some issues with the gameplay, I’ll concede those points, but the whole package still adds up to the best zombie shooter yet and definitely not deserving of a horrid 1.9/10 score from a certain spot for game reviews.

Why is it slowly paced? Because these are freaking stumbling, bumbling, rumbling, George A. Romero-style zombies. The atmosphere created in the game is surprisingly good and perfectly captures all of the things that make zombie movies so fun to watch. Facing just one zombie at a time is an easy battle, but when there are ten of them all coming at you with more limping out of the shadows every second it is pretty darn thrilling. Wandering around the levels and hearing shuffling feet behind you or a door being bashed in or stepping around a corner into the waiting arms of a zombie are all things that will tickle zombie fans in all of the right places. Non-fans won’t appreciate all of this, but zombie freaks will eat it up.

Gameplay

As far as the core gameplay goes, Land of the Dead isn’t spectacular, but it doesn’t have to be. You have a selection of guns ranging from pistols to rifles and more as well as a huge number of melee weapons you pick up along the way such as hammers and shovels. The basic movement and shooting and all of that is just fine. One issue is that the game is supposed to use a location specific hit detection system but it doesn’t work all that good. Occasionally, you’ll be able to get off a brain splattering head shot, but other times you’ll think you hit the zombie in the head and it doesn’t even flinch. This is one very disappointing flaw because getting headshots is a big part of the Romero zombie mythos so having the hit detection so inconsistent makes the game not quite as faithful to the material as it should have been. With that said, however, the real joy of Land of the Dead is exploring the levels, digging through desks and cabinets for ammunition, and creeping around and trying not to be a zombie’s lunch. The shooting still manages to be satisfying even though it isn’t perfect so the game is quite fun if you are a fan.

Graphics and Sound

Graphically, Land of the Dead isn’t a pretty game, but it looks good enough. It still does a good job of creating a creepy atmosphere and the different levels you explore – houses and farms to a hospital and city streets (and nothing is better than blasting zombies in Main Street, USA). The textures are somewhat bland and some elements are repeated way too many times in some levels, but they look fine. The characters are OK looking and the zombies look pretty good as well. They got the slow stumbling walk of the zombies down pat so the animation is pretty good.

The sound is similarly lackluster but it still gets the job done. The music fits the theme of the game just fine and the moans and groans of the zombies are spot on. You won’t be too impressed with the voice acting, but the story of a farmer fighting his way through rural Pennsylvania to the city of Pittsburgh and the Fiddler’s Green tower featured in the movie isn’t that great to begin with so bad voice acting can’t really spoil the bad story.

Bottom Line

I can admit it. I’m biased and even a little blinded by my love of zombie and horror movies, but I know there are a lot of others like me out there that will like this game but are scared away by the sub-par reviews. It isn’t as good as it could have been (better hit detection and nicer presentation would have gone a long way here), but if you are a fan of zombie movies, I recommend Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green for a purchase. It is sort of hard to describe, but this game just captures the whole “fight for survival against impossible odds” feeling that makes zombie movies fun to watch. If, however, mass munching, splattering brains, and stumbling rotting corpses aren’t your thing, Land of the Dead obviously isn’t going to appeal to you. The game also features a decent-but-limited multiplayer mode and that combined with the lengthy single player game gives you a decent value for the $30 or less you can buy this game for. Buy it if you are a zombie fan.
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