Eat Lead is the story of an 80's video game action hero appropriately named Matt Hazard. Hazard is a guy with a gun and a catchphrase, doomed to star in video gaming's most ridiculous cliches, from space marines to zombies. After a long and arduous career of hits and duds, Matt finds himself in a new game, but someone out there is hacking in and wants him dead.
Eat Lead is a third person shooter riddled with cowboys, Russian soldiers and robotic hot chicks gunning for you, Matt Hazard. The game itself is pretty straightforward with most all objectives being literally "shoot everything that moves". The levels themselves have a nice variety, from chinese restaurants to giant yachts. The gameplay itself isn't revolutionary in every way, however the cover mechanic is nice and works well. The added ability to simply press a button and run to new cover is especially nice. The combat is the meat of Eat Lead, as you'll be shooting everything from point A to point B. The weapons available all handle differently and add a bit of depth to the overall experience. The ice and fire superpowers feel a little tacked on but are nice to have regardless, even if they don't make a ton of sense (not that they are meant to). Melee kills are cool, especially with the Hazard pick-ups and Shield Master pick-ups, which allow you to either make Matt extremely powerful or entirely invulnerable. It should be noted that there is an absence of blood in this game, being replaced by a nifty de-rez effect to fit into the game's hacking story. Even cover that gets destroyed de-rezs revealing a hole in cyberspace. The game's achievements/trophys are clever and always entertain the player. A great example is pausing the game, "Hey come back here!"
The gameplay is solid, even if it doesn't hold a candle to Gears of War or other top tier third-person shooters, but Eat Lead's true charm lies in it's comedy and thats where Eat Lead shines. Matt's old 80's catch phrase is so generic and ridiculous that it actually makes you laugh. Dialogue between Matt and his virtual eyes in the sky QA is funny at times and Matt's old gaming buddies are a riot. Bill the Wizard is exceptional in his William Shatner/RPG personality and Master Chef also deserves noting. And while the objectives are somewhat stale and obvious, Matt always makes it worth your time by spouting a hilarious line about how this particular part of the game might suck. A long boring elevator ride is a good example of this, in where Matt says, "Oh stop complaining, if you had anything better to do you wouldn't be playing a game."
While Eat Lead might not be the best game in the world, it is a fun way to blow off some steam, and the games ability to pick fun at itself and gaming as a whole (who hasn't wanted to blow up game testers?), and it's clever achievements/trophies are a good fun way to spend an afternoon. So give Eat Lead a try if your feeling adventurous, you won't regret it. And don't forget, "IT'S HAZARD TIME!!!"
Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is brought to you by D3 Publishing and Vicious Cycle. It runs on the Vicious Engine. It's available now on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It gets a solid SEVEN HAZARDS OUT OF TEN!