Review by DeathCelestial

"A truly genius and brilliant piece of quirky gaming"

Introduction

killer7 is an original, quirky, and at times, horrific, game that was very much anticipated and either praised, hated, or in most cases, ignored. For such an impressive and new game, the immediate criticism or the fact that it passed over the heads of the general mainstream gaming populous was quite saddening for those who enjoyed it, yet maybe that is what makes the game what it is – a game that only the dedicated and truly intrigued will enjoy and perhaps complete.

Story - 10/10

The story is perhaps killer7's strongest attribute. Granted, at the start narrow-minded players may be instantly put off by the lack of information as to what this is all about, but as the game progresses, you become more involved in this puzzling yet gradually growing storyline, until (almost) everything is brought together in the superb ending.

From the start, all you know is that you are playing as the killer7, a group of assassins that are seemingly all the same person through apparent schizophrenia. Kun Lan, a terrorist leader, has unleashes abominations known only as the ‘Heaven Smile'. These are zombies of varying appearance, size and shape, but all are the owner of a creepy laugh that is often the only warning to one that is present.

The Heaven Smile are gradually breeding, multiplying, and bringing a true regime of terror to a once-peaceful world. The only thing that can stop them is the killer7. This is where you come in.

From this, it sounds relatively basic survival-horror sort of thing with a straightforward story, but it's most certainly not. The climax is one of the greatest and most spine-tingling, yet also open-ended conclusions in history that leaves every player to draw their own conclusions in this mind-blowing epic. It also plays host to one of the quite simply coolest scenes between lead personality Garcian Smith and a man known as Benjamin Keane – a russian roulette duel brilliantly played out - while another scene, possibly one of the most disturbing in videogame history, shows just what a man will do to get revenge. It all forms part of this game's amazing, sometimes confusing, sometimes brilliant story.

Graphics - 9/10

killer7 has interesting anime style graphics that add a touch of quirkiness and originality to an already strange game. They are clear and detailed, and while the environments may at times feel bland, the general effect is a classy yet at the same time rough one that many games can look up to for inspiration. The weather effects and cut-scenes are particularly notable for their elegance, while the blood is a ‘let-yourself-go' sort of blood, as it sprays everywhere from the slaughtered Heaven Smile.

Sound - 10/10

Let's start with the voice actors. These people are brilliant, and there is not one line that seems cheesy in the entire game. In particular, Dan Smith, Harman Smith, and Kun Lan are all excellently played and brilliantly portray their characters' personality, be it being badass, mysterious, or plain mad.

The sound effects, such as the strange guitar sounds played as a puzzle is encountered and solved, all add to the quirkiness, and there is nothing that seems particularly out of place – everything is as realistic as possible.

The music is also excellent – from the tension building techno-beat when travelling through the Vinculum Gate (a tune that on more than one occasion, I have stopped simply to listen to it) to the catchy country tune you will play to when travelling through Ulmeyda Intercity, there's never a song that will make you want to switch on your own music.

It's impossible to go through the sound section without mentioning the voices of the Remnant Psyches (some would call them ghosts, but that isn't all of it), whose speech is do distorted and modified to an extreme extent it really does give the game a more creepy feel. Have you ever spoken to a guy in a gimp suit who speaks near-complete gibberish? You can in killer7.

Longevity - 9/10

killer7 is of average length, and its decent enough to give more than one playthrough, especially if you were unsure of the story first time around. There are also two new modes that can be unlocked that add extra depth and give you an incentive to play again – one of those modes contains an interesting new character.

The levels are never too long, and save points are placed well, often before an end-of-level boss, which obviously reduces the infuriating ‘I can't believe I'll have to do all that level again' factor.

Overall in the Longevity department, killer7 will take a week or two to complete, and may well keep you coming back for more. But that's probably only because of the amazing story.

Gameplay - 10/10

Aside from the story, the main thing that makes killer7 one of the most original games conceived is the gameplay itself. Choosing from one of six (sometimes seven) characters to play through the level with (although you can change between them whenever you want), you traverse pre-set paths (although there are many routes you can take). The paths you take are neither free roaming, but not completely-one-track linear either – you are free to enter certain buildings and go down a different road as you please.

You must completely explore the level, all the while killing Heaven Smile, who, if they get close to you, emit a mad laugh and grab you and explode. To do this, you need to bring out the gun(s) of whatever character you have chosen – ranging from grenade launchers of Mask De Smith to a sniper rifle for Kaede Smith – then press L1 to scan the landscape and reveal Heaven Smile, then shoot like hell or aim for their weak point (if they have one) for a one-shot-kill. The only clue you have to their presence, as at first they are invisible, are the giggles they often let out uncontrollably. This makes for tense, quick-fire gameplay that will certainly keep you on your toes.

You must solve various puzzles and travel through almost the whole level to collect Soul Shells, which then grant you access to the Vinculum Gate, where you will partake in a showdown with an evolved form of Heaven Smile, and then face the end of level boss, always relevant to the story.

This means you will need good reaction times, intelligence, and often most importantly, a cool head to get through this game. And the end of level bosses can be another story – it's quite a trial to get through the boss to Ulmeyda Intercity without your heart racing to a particularly high pace.

Conclusion - Overall 10/10

This game is definitely worth buying, as long as you have an open mind and think you can stand some of the frankly horrific situations this game can put you in. The story is warped, confusing, yet pure brilliance while the gameplay demands that you persevere or be killed by the suicidal maniacs known as the Heaven Smile. It's a videogame that is horrific, at times confusing, but ultimately, it's brilliant for those who accept it, and memorable for those who complete it.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/28/06


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