Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddlers 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 isnt 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 arent 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, Ill 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 wont appreciate all of this, but zombie freaks will eat it up.
As far as the core gameplay goes, Land of the Dead isnt spectacular, but it doesnt 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 doesnt work all that good. Occasionally, youll be able to get off a brain splattering head shot, but other times youll think you hit the zombie in the head and it doesnt 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 zombies lunch. The shooting still manages to be satisfying even though it isnt perfect so the game is quite fun if you are a fan.
Graphics and Sound
Graphically, Land of the Dead isnt 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 wont 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 Fiddlers Green tower featured in the movie isnt that great to begin with so bad voice acting cant really spoil the bad story.
I can admit it. Im 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 isnt 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 Fiddlers 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 arent your thing, Land of the Dead obviously isnt 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.