Killer is Dead

It’s slick, stylish and slightly perverted. Goichi Suda, aka Suda51, has followed up on his insanely over the top and over sexualised Lollipop Chainsaw with the absolutely bizarre Killer is Dead. Never have I seen game in which I can pick up girls and kill demons at practically the same time. I’m just glad I didn’t use the wrong sword in the wrong place.

Killer is Dead is one of the many entries in the Suda51’s long list of absolutely unique titles and was developed by Grasshopper Manufacture (headed by Goichi Suda). This may actually in fact be the last game developed by them as well, considering they were acquired by GungHo Online Entertainment recently.

Described as the dark side to the previously mentioned Lollipop Chainsaw, Killer is Dead is most certainly ominous and seems to be averse to disclosing much beyond the central character’s name – Mondo. It’s hard to really give an interpretation of story after rattling your brain for hours trying to decipher what is laid in front you but the gist of the story is that Mondo is a monster hunter of sorts with a troubled past. The almost ironic aura about him is heavily influenced by brooding Japanese characters and I was never quite sure of his motives. Yet I still found the puzzle of plot-line both impenetrable and alluring. It’s far from perfect but there is an interesting premise buried among some utter nonsense. Oh, and there is something about killing monsters for an agency. I got that bit.

Nothing is perfectly executed but there is a lot of charm about Killer is Dead.

Thankfully, for what Killer is Dead lacks in plot it makes up for in visual style, as expected with all of Suda51’s games. It looks beautiful and there are plenty of awe-inspiring shots where the moonlit backdrop compliments the furious slashes of lunatics before it. There were definitely points where I wished the gameplay would just slow down so I could take in the beauty of the mission in which you have to fight a tiger and some really cool Samurai cyborg ninjas. There is a great variety of different boss types and enemies that look unique but familiar. It definitely oozes the levels of cool you would expect from Suda51.

Akira Yamaoka has also returned as one of the many composers following up his previously exceptional soundtracks on Grasshopper Manufacture, Ltd. titles. There is a lot to fall in love with on the soundtrack and there are some amazing beats to bop along to while you fight bosses or even just chill out in the loading screen. There is a great variety and at points you lose yourself in the entire atmosphere of a scene with the immersion of the soundtrack and heart racing action.

At it’s core Killer is Dead is a hack and slash game full of flavour. Nothing is perfectly executed but there is a lot of charm about Killer is Dead. With only two dedicated attack buttons you can mash out some pretty gnarly combos. Obviously for more dedicated hack and slash fans there is a great depth to timing and enemy patterns to exploit, and effectively using guard breaks and perfectly timed attacks racks up higher scores and earns you more experience points to buy new skills. Once you have a fully built character there are great deal of ways to implement guard breaks into stylish cleaves that split your opponents down the centre but the lack of a dedicated lock button becomes irritating when you have to control the camera with your right analogue stick which can be fidgety when cornered.

Although there is definitely an elephant in the digital room that needs to be addressed. Y’know the one with the double D’s that barely fit in to the rather skimpy outfit that I forced them to wear? It’s is all summed up in the gigolo side mission in which you learn more about the lady in question by staring lovingly at her engorged tits. I think the only thing I ever learned from this technique was just how good a punch she had, but then again I’m not a suave Asian assassin with a robotic arm. The intensity of such objectification of woman is enough to put anyone at unease. That isn’t even including the fetish outfits I got as DLC and the additional ability to see through clothes with my downloadable X-ray specs. It’s all just a bit too much, even for me, and I loved Lollipop Chainsaw.

The main issue with Killer is Dead is that for all the style and impressive visuals it gets right there is something equally as wrong. It’s most certainly a Marmite game in which you will need to overcome a few issues before you can really enjoy it. And for those who do love it there are loads of different odds and ends to do between missions as well as different difficulties and leaderboards to boot. It’s the kind of game that, if you like it, you will lose weeks to it.






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