Thoughts On: Killer is Dead

As you can tell from my reviews and my mentioning them every time I review one of their games, I really like Suda 51’s game developing company, Grasshopper Manufacture. As I have said in the past, I like how they are making their own unique spin on the action genre while everyone else is trying to make a guy with a gun, and make the multiplayer beat out Call of Duty and Battlefield’s multiplayer community. I know their games are probably more flawed than I want to admit, but I think they deserve kudos for staying fresh and having a unique stake in the action game genre. I wanted to do a Thoughts On about their upcoming game, Killer is Dead because, well, it has everything I really do like about their games, but it also brings to mind my fears that their past games’ faults will be in this title also. What do I mean by that? Well, there is usually a pattern in how Suda 51 games are made, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let us get started with my thoughts on, Killer is Dead.

From what we have gotten so far, Killer is Dead’s story stars a guy named Mondo Zappa, which to be honest, is a cool name. He is basically a hit man who takes jobs from this company known as the Bryan Execution Firm to take down criminals that are, for a lack of a better term, causing havoc. It is up to him to take down these criminals, and from what recent trailers have shown, an alien invasion also happens in this world of cybernetic implants and lunar tourism. As you can probably tell, the story is going to be filled with memorable characters and the story as a whole will be absurd and a bit over the top, which is what I like about the games from Suda 51. The characters are pretty likable and memorable, even when the story gets so over the top and crazy. From what the trailers have shown and what Suda 51 has said about the game, the story seems to be a bit darker and more mature than their last game Lollipop Chainsaw, but still has that flashy Suda 51 flair with its characters.

The gameplay is, of course, a hack-and-slash action game where you control Mondo, and fight through smaller baddies to get to the bigger baddies. You have your usual hack-and-slash moves and can counter or block attacks with the, um, block button, and a dodge roll to get out of harm’s way. A recent article has explained that if you pull off different executioner moves, you get different stat increases. The more obvious part that stands out about Mondo is his cybernetic arm that can change into a gun, drill, and many other weapons to use on the enemies. Now, one of the more “interesting” side objectives in Killer is Dead are, and I am not kidding when I say this, the “Gigolo Missions”. These are missions where you go out on a date with the many female characters you meet in the game, and, well, make them fall in love with you. There are also side objectives that will earn some extra swag for Mondo and some cash to upgrade himself. It seems like it’s going to be a game more akin to games like No More Heroes since Mondo can also use wrestling moves like Travis Touchdown from the No More Heroes franchise. It looks like this will be an interesting experience, and I can’t wait to see how all the gameplay mechanics mix together.

Now, one of the highlights of the game that we have seen so far is the great art direction. I love the cel-shaded look and film noir feel of the game. It reminds me a bit of Sin City if it was made in Japan. One of my favorite parts of the presentation and art style so far is the main character Mondo’s design. I love how he carries around a sword and his robotic arm while wearing a salary man suit. The art style is always a strong point in Suda’s company’s games and it isn’t any different here.

So, any worries before release? Well, I hope the controls are better this time around for this game. I love Suda 51 games because of how unique they are, but man, do the controls bring down the game at points. No More Heroes 2 had this issue and Lollipop Chainsaw’s tank controls turned off many a gamer until they knew how the combat and scoring system worked. It just seems like it’s a reoccurring theme with his games where the controls are a bit wonky at certain times. I also hope there is a better amount of replay value than in the last games. Sure, if the game is fun to play through, that is good enough, but when you are paying 60 bucks for a game that last 5 or so hours, you do need something to keep the player coming back.

So, as you can probably tell, I am excited about this game. I always look forward to Suda 51 games since it breaks up whatever is coming out during that time with a little flair of the unusual and interesting. It comes out later this year in the US by XSEED, who is becoming very popular right now, and well, I would say if you aren’t looking forward to the next Call of Duty or Battlefield, which will be coming out around this game’s release, check it out. I think it’s fun to see what Suda 51 has cooking, and this one will be yet another cult classic title from the very interesting and talented game designer.