catalystx's Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard (Xbox 360) review

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Can a cliche ridden game jokingly be any good?

Don't be fooled by the title, Matt Hazard is a new video game character. One riddled with all the clichés you'd expect in a video game that pokes fun at video game clichés. The only problem is by poking fun through it's incredibly dumb AI and ridiculously trivial and repetitive gameplay you get a game that is rife with those clichés… in a bad way.

The story in Eat Lead is probably its strongest feature. You play a fictional video game character that is finally making his return to video games after years of hiatus. Soon he finds out that this game was really a plot to have his character killed off because the new company owner Wellesley couldn't beat any of Matt Hazard's games when he was a kid.

You'll encounter some definitely funny chuckle moments throughout the story as they deliver funny lines and introduce humorous (yet occasionally annoying) characters that Matt needs to assist. The voices of Will Arnett, Neil Patrick Harris, and the supporting cast were done quite well, but the character of Wellesley was so lame it didn't do much good with NPH.

Eat Lead plays like any other third person shooter on the market nowadays. Its got a Gears of War style cover system, which works but moving between and around cover is overcomplicated and somewhat unpractical. Instead of swiftly rolling over cover, you'll slowly move over cover, being completely exposed to fire and likely will be killed in the process. Overall the cover system is sub par.

You'll also encounter very little variety in the gameplay. It's the same thing over and over again: run into room, kill everyone, trigger another wave of baddies, kill everyone, and run into the next room. Occasionally you'll fight a boss, which will either be somewhat interesting, or a quick time event. For the most part the boss fights are more frustrating than fun. Basically for the 8 hours it'll take you to complete the game, all you do is the same repetition to a sickening level. This is one of the few games I have played where after about 3 hours in I had seen everything and was already very tired of the game.

Graphics are also quite unimpressive; all the environments are bland and boring. The same goes for the enemies, there is no variety at all and you'll encounter the same 6 or 7 enemy variations constantly throughout the game. The character models of Matt Hazard and Wellesley are the only ones that seemed to get any attention, the rest were just lazily put together. The music is half decent, but you’ll hear the same 2 minute loops quite a bit during your adventure. Presentation in Eat Lead is generally quite disappointing.

If you can stand repetitive gameplay, you'll get some enjoyment out of Eat Lead's story and one-liners. The achievements/trophies are easy to get for minimal time invested, but the game itself is pretty awful on a design and technical level. I know the developers made clichéd gameplay so you would laugh at it, but instead playing it just irritated me. There is no multiplayer either, so replayability is incredibly limited and there isn’t much there to draw you back in…

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