A game filled with zombies made by Tecmo -- sounds like a recipe for success, right? Unfortunately, the demo we saw at E3 didn't inspire much confidence in the upcoming PSP exclusive. Conceptually, Undead Knights seems ripe for fun: imagine creating a zombie horde to tear apart your enemies and do your bidding. Instead, what we saw at E3 was an unpolished, uninspired brawler that doesn't take advantage of its unique premise or the PSP hardware.
After an impressive CG intro, we see a world that's ... brown. Most games nowadays have broken away from a monochromatic color scheme, but looks like Undead Knights didn't get the memo. The drab look just doesn't look very good on the PSP screen. A hulking figure takes the screen, and starts pummeling enemies with a sword. How does this invovle zombies? Well, you can go up for a finishing move, transforming your victim into a mindless zombie.
By mindless, we mean just that. The demonstrater was unable to showcase the effectiveness of these zombies. They can move around, lunging at enemies. However, this doesn't seem to add any tactical advantage to your warrior. After a little bit of time, zombies will expire, self-destructing. Certainly, this is an underwhelming realization of what the trailer presents as an epic power.
Undead Knights' shortcomings may come from its early state, its uninformed presenter, and/or a terribly flawed execution. We'd love to see dozens of enemies and zombies on screen clashing against each other in a tactical action game that gives importance to the zombies. It's cool to be a dude carrying a giant sword, but we'd love to see Tecmo transform this game from what currently stands as a generic brawler to something unique. While the E3 presentation didn't leave us impressed, we're confident that there's still a lot of potential to be mined from such an interesting premise.