Charming, but Boring
While this title tries to be a pastiche on gaming past and present, what it ends up being is a relatively boring game with cute little quirks that lose their humor due to the simple fact that the game is still a 3rd person cover shooter.
You play as the has-been action character Matt Hazard who has ended up doing whatever games he can to stay on the good side of his company after his own attempts at diversifying. After a quick tutorial on the gaming mechanics on an otherwise derivative game, a monkey wrench is thrown in in the form of ever-changing scenery and bad guys as someone or something "hacks" into the game in order to do away with Matt once and for all. It's up to Matt and his pal QA to help Matt's parodical friends (Master Chef, among others) and get to the bottom of this.
Where this equation goes wrong is that despite the game's sense of humor about other games, this one still plays as a stale, boring shooter. For what is to be a humorous game, many of the enemies are in fact rather formidable if you're not careful. The cover system is easily exploitable (a la Kill.Switch) so that coming out of cover isn't even necessary much of the time. But the difficulty level would likely have been better off farther down the slope so that the humor can be better appreciated.
Games such as the Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy all tried a similar attempt to make fun of being aware that the are part of a video game, perhaps the first two to greater success. But perhaps Eat Lead took itself a bit too seriously. Many of the jokes were rather derivative such as an Austrian-accented action hero or a crack at JRPGs. Unfortunately, the jokes in the dialogue only redeem the title so much, as gameplay drags on in a vastly boring manner until completion. The relatively funnier moments such as a befuddled MMORPG character or the self-aware mission objects are fleeting.
This game is hard to recommend to play for enjoyment purposes, but one could potentially find some fun in watching the game and appreciating Will Arnett and Neil Patrick Harris given rather decent performances despite their meager times in the gaming industry.