Late to the game…Killer 7 Review

Hi, I’m Reece and I’ll be reviewing some old games because sometimes you just miss out on great games when they initially come out. This time its the bizarre game that first catapulted writer and developer Suda51 to stardom in the gaming community

First off, in the interests of full disclosure, I bloody love Suda51. As someone who considers himself an “auteur” of the gaming industry, hes somewhat committed to providing an artistic statement to go alongside usually very stylised and, at times, complex narratives. Which is wonderful for someone who enjoys playing games for their plots, even if it does sacrifice some of the gameplay. Which in a nutshell, describes Killer 7 quite well.

The game revolves around the group of killers who all possess the same body, the titular ‘Killer 7’. Set in the distant future after the destruction of most of the worlds nuclear arsenal, the Killer 7, who are lead by the wheelchair bound Harman Smith, are recruited to stop a terrorist organisation called the ‘Heavens Smiles’, virus infected people who are possessed of the desire to kill all those around them, forming a untraceable network of suicide bombers. Slowly through gameplay you find out more about the past of the group and uncover a secret war that has been waged between Japan and America ever since the ceasefire. In case this sounds almost normal, I’m really, really simplifying things.

In game the story is doled out from various sources, both from a gods eye point of view and information imparted to you by past victims of the group or from scattered memos that appear through the levels. Its a pretty riveting story all told and the unique presentation means that you won’t be unraveling the exact happenings until you have thought it through a few times at least.

One thing. This game is adult. Very adult. Blood flies across the screen as if the makers are afraid theres going to be a shortage soon, characters utter swearwords ever few sentences and later on in the game the themes become quite disturbing (lets just say the anime schoolgirl trope is taken to its natural conclusion).

This is a normal scene. For this game anyway. Image courtesy of IGN

Gameplay itself will probably be the thing that most disappoints, as much like his fellow creator Hideo Kojima tends to do, Suda51 clearly spent most of his time focusing on crafting the various storyline and art elements leaving him little time to made deep and involving gameplay. Each level has you visiting various locations on earth following clues or answering challenges issued by prominent members of society (though how everyone seems to know about a super secretive group of killers is anyone’s guess). You travel around levels on preset paths, which allows for the camera to give off plenty of stylised shots of things, switching to a first person view when you come to shooting up Heaven’s Smiles before they can deliver their explosive payload. Killing each Heaven’s Smile gives you thick and thin blood. The former you refine into ‘bullets’ on the TV that functions as your save point (yes, really) which are used to upgrade the various personalty’s abilities and the latter acts as a way to replenish health should you come off worse for wear in an encounter.

Paths do branch off to allow for a little bit of puzzle play (though its mostly take A item to B location) and parts of the levels do require you to switch personalities to solve different puzzles. For the most part gameplay is stylish enough to keep you going and the boss fights are so bizzare its worth persevering just to get to them.

Yes, you are fighting the Power Rangers. If you get bored you can always fight an angel with an anti tank rifle instead.

Yes, you are fighting the Power Rangers. If you get bored you can always fight an angel with an anti tank rifle instead.

All in all, I can’t help but love Killer 7 because its so offbeat and willfully bizzare that it becomes charming and I’ve still to see another game top it in sheer, joyfully creative weirdness. At the same time, I can see why all those points would turn off people off, especially those who are used to the more standard FPS game. Its certainly not something for the your kids to play, unless they were brought up on Dada and splatter films.

However, as its such a unique experience I’m going to give it a Recommended . Suda 51s style has never been so focused since, but if you have enjoyed any of his other games (such as No More Heroes), or just feel like being able to contribute when all the arty games people start talking, give it a go.

As its last generation, its probably cheaper to buy it than than renting a new game too, so what is there to lose apart for a fiver?

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