Review by Saneasylum89
"Just because it's unique doesn't make it good"
The word of the review is "Arbitrary".
It's easy to see how this game got made. The concept is very unique, the art style and music are awesome, the story is intriguing and other compliments. However, this is one of those games that overeaches and falls flat on it's face in the process. it's not altogether bad, and it's the kind of experience you won't find anywhere else, but it's hard to use the word "good" to describe it.
Killer 7 was created by Goichi Suda AKA Suda 51, the same guy who made No More Heroes. But if you're reading this, the odds are very high you already knew that. Most people (including myself) played No More Heroes, loved it to death, and wanted more. However, if you were looking for more NMH in Killer 7, you won't find it. Killer 7 has a similar look and loves blood just as much as its' big brother does, but they are far from cut from the same cloth.
Visuals: Killer 7 sports a unique cell-shaded anime style all it's own. Characters are bright, colorful, vibrant and unique. Even NPCs manage to stay interesting with bizarre costumes and visual flair. You might not like all of them, but you'll never forget who is who. Locations are creative and show off some cool visual effects, guaranteeing you'll never confuse two. From a government building to a remote mountain mansion to the streets of the Dominican Republic. Enemy models are pretty stupid though. There are different enemy types, but the majority of them all look like humanoid reptiles in designer colors. Enemies who try to break this mold either end up wearing armor, have some exaggerated feature, or stray so far that they end up looking even stupider than the humanoid reptiles. Cutscenes look great, but they are few and will come in at very random times. For example, at one point in the game you will be offered a puzzle in which you have to unlock a door. Once you do, you will get a 10 second cutscene of a female bartender shooting the breeze with you. It all seems quite arbitrary. However, to it's credit, you will never tire of the effect of blood coming out of your enemies. Bear in mind that if you can't stomach the sight of blood, then this game IS NOT for you.
Sound: The music is usually pretty memorable. Some tracks are really catchy and well written, boss themes are appropriately dramatic and the game knows when to not use music in order to set up suspense. Voice acting is usually pretty good. You'll hear some very convincing lines from just about everybody, as well as some lines that can only be described as "badass". The haunting laughter of your enemies (which you will hear a lot, but we'll get to that soon) will not be soon forgotten. It will stay with you every time you hear a bump in the night. Your heroes all get bits and pieces of dialogue, but the individual instant kill quotes will quickly bother you, although they do offer each character a bit of personality. All non-major characters (meaning no voice actors) speak in a weird scratchy whisper, which is fun to listen to because they will often say something funny on top of the written dialogue (Ex, When one character was talking the subtitles referred to a villian as "a messed up dude" while the scratchy whisper voice called him a "crazy f#cker")
Story: The story is all about being as shocking as possible, and quickly pays the price. The game claims to have a deep, compelling story about politics, black market deals, and warfare. However, the game throws so many bizarre elements at you you will literally be thinking "WTF?!" so often that you may well miss the story entirely. The main characters are the Killer 7, a group of 7 assassins who all inhabit the same body and have something to do with an old cripple named Harman Smith. The Killer 7 are as follows: The leader Garcian, well-rounded Dan, Kaede the sniper(and the only female), Ex-Luchador Mask, Blind prodigy Con, badboy Coyote, and the unspoken knife-wielding weirdo Kevin. You will be aided on your quest to...shoot stuff by (among other things) the decapitated head of a female teenage serial killer, the ghost of the first person you ever killed, a guy who will flip you off if you ask for his help (He'll still help you, he's just gonna keep flipping you off while he does), and the single most annoying character I have ever met in a video game. Worst than Peach, Navi, Issun, and just about anybody else. His name is Iwazaru (Although his real name is about 10 words long, multicultural to the point of absurdity and totally unfunny) and although he is the most annoying, talking to any character is cumbersome due to the fact that you can;t speed up the dialogue coupled with the fact that 80% of everything they say is totally useless. You'll hear a few times about about Japan trying to rule the world or something, but after a while you really stop caring. You'll be left with more question than answers by the conclusion, but it feels cheap rather than well thought out.
Gameplay: Finally, the part I've been waiting for. The easiest way to describe the game play would be "challenging for all the wrong reasons" From a distance, the gameplay looks odd, and to tell the truth, it is really clunky. By pushing one button, your character will move forward on rails. When you hear an enemy laugh, you hold R1 to go into first person mode and press L1 to scan the area for enemies (as they are invisible to your naked eyes) then aim your cursor and shoot with x. If all that sounds complicated to you, then you've got the right idea. The cursor moves very slowly, and the fact that most of the guns have recoil (and to be fair realistic gun recoil is a good thing) makes it that much harder to actually hit your enemies where you had intended to. Considering that you can instant kill most enemies by hitting a glowing spot on their bodies, this a huge problem. I don't mean you won't be able to, but you're gonna need plenty of time to set up your shot.
I would also like to add that Killer 7 has the most brutal consequence for dying in any game I have ever played. If you die while playing as Garcian, the game is immediately over. Due to the fact that Garcian has an awful weapon and cannot be upgraded like the rest, you will almost never use him. Any time any of the other assassins die, you will be sent back to the character select screen in the last save point you visited. The character who was killed will no longer be selectable. If you do want to get them back, Then you have to pick Garcian and go back to wherever that character died and pick up a brown paper bag which will allow them to come back to life. Keep in mind that Garcian has a wimpy weapon that can't be upgraded, once you go back to recover your dead friend's body whatever killed you the first time will still be there, and that once Garcian dies you have to restart the whole mission. Also, you can change to any character from the pause screen in exachange for a little in game currency, with the exception of Garcian. Once you pick him, you're stuck with him until your friend is alive or you are dead, and that's simply no fun You're likely to get so frustrated by having one of you characters die that you will simply leave them dead and continue on with the level. And once you do that, you'd better pray to God that you won't need them again. Realizing that one of your dead assassins is mandatory to complete a puzzle or kill an enemy is by far the most frustrating thing about this game, and seriously hindered my enjoyment of it, and likely yours as well.
The final thing I want to talk about is the puzzles. Simply put, they are awful and this game would have been at least a 6 if not for them. They're not like Resident Evil puzzles where you might have to collect items or solve an environmental puzzle. They come in two flavors, arbitrary and nonsensical. Each character (except Dan) has a special ability used in solving puzzles. You'll also be given rings with special powers for the same reason. Coyote's ability to jump to high places or Mask breaking through obstacles makes sense enough. Kaede slashing her wrists to destroy barriers (Gruesome!) or Con being able to crouch to enter "Children's doors" does not. Even when it is logical, it's still totally arbitrary and requires no though process at all. Having to collect "Soul Shells" to pay a toll in order to fight the final boss also makes no sense, and requires more backtracking than most people have patience for. The ring puzzles are pretty simple to figure out, but it doesn't make them any less annoying. For example, using the Time Ring to reconstitute a broken desk makes sense, but the fact that you can't open the drawer to get the Soul Shell while the desk is broken is totally illogical. The puzzles all apply to an arbitrary paint-by-numbers approach that really makes you wish they hadn't been included.
So there you have it. Killer 7 is a game with great style and unique gameplay, but suffers from a confusing storyline and flawed execution. This game would have worked much better as a movie, now that I think about it. The only things about it that are really great lie outside the gameplay, which is odd to say about a video game but that's how I feel about it. It almost seems like the game isn't really sure what it's trying to do most of the time, leaving the player to pick up the pieces of a sloppy mess that could have been an instant classic. Sadly, it's much too lacking.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 02/03/10
Game Release: Killer7 (US, 07/07/05)
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