Another article up at Lowpings, on User-Created Classes in TF2!
BONUS: Those into meta-humour should check out the action at the gaming.reddit link, where the exact assholes I'm talking about come in to vote the piece down and write essays about how awesome they are!
Design-wise, House of the Dead: Overkill might as well have been House of the Dead: Luke edition. They said "Let's make it louder, stupider, make fun of the stupid plots and add a level where you kill clowns" - it's like they stole my subconscious for planning meetings, and if this is what it's doing now they can keep it. My dreams aren't this good.
But I only enjoy it this much because I knew it wouldn't be a light gun game before I started. I love the Wii, god bless it's cute little market dominance, but it just doesn't have light gun games - it has interactive coloring books. Move the marker over the right area and if it's the correct color, press. The Wiimote simply isn't sensitive enough for light gunning and until the Wii Motionplus arrives (and either lives up to the hype or is burned at the stake) it never will be. It's not a precision tool, it's a flailometer, which is why every Wii "gun" game has the crosshair on by default with the "no sights" switch hidden deep in the setup menus, right beside Rock and Roll Racing's "Music Off" and Mortal Kombat's "No gore, I'm here for the finely balanced gameplay" option.
This wouldn't be so bad but for the combo system - keep shooting accurately and you get told you're awesome, basically, and if that doesn't sound like much then thanks for reading despite never playing gun games.
The combo bare takes up quarter of the HUD and will drive players absolutely insane, because you cannot shoot accurately. Here's a hint, SEGA: when it's physically impossible to shoot straight on the console, don't design the game to draw constant attention to the fact! It's like a Jaguar game where you lose points for seeing polygons, or a Sega CD titled "FMV Is Actually Crap, Isn't It?" The only way to rack up combos is to shoot slowly and carefully, and if you're doing anything House-of-the-Dead-y slowly or carefully, get the hell off and let someone play it properly.
There's a problem for non-score-obsessives too. Here's how the Wii Zapper works:
And here's how the Overkill designer uses it:
And you can't redefine that - motion sensors and accelerometers, but you can't redefine the "actual but-tons", like you could on everything back to the MSX. I'm all for "Gunning down mutated horrors" gameplay, but not when I'm roleplaying the programmer's self-hatred over how his power was too stupid for Professor X.
Again, none of this would be so bad but for SEGA taking the piss: they know how to make games that don't need fine aim - it was called House of the Dead 3, fully 25% of the entire series had shotguns with such a spread you could fire it in a barn and not be sure which wall you'd hit. They know how to reload too - for 4 they built special hardware into the guns to reload when you shake them. DOES THIS SOUND IN ANY WAY FAMILIAR? The ONE chance any designer, ever, had to put a "shake to do something" feature into the Wii and it wouldn't be stupid pandering, and they fucked it up. And fucked up your finger joints with it.