Review by fireemblemomega
"Shut up, Valens."
Lollipop Chainsaw was yet another niche game released by Grasshopper Manufacture, bringing to the fore a way to sell sex along with the, possibly gruesome, fascination with zombie killing. However, does this game stand up as an Action/RPG that can withstand the scrutiny it has fallen under?
Gameplay is relatively simple and is all included in the first stage of the game, where Juliet Starling, the heroine, is late to school and encounters her former classmates as zombies! The prologue gives a very well thought out tutorial, giving the player everything he/she needs to know whenever a new task comes up and emulates the need to use said move/power at that very point in time. A great example of this would be when Juliet encounters Torso Zombies for the first time and the game brings up a tutorial that shows the player using the A button (X for PS3) to use a sweeping, low attack to hit the buggers. The game also shows that if she uses B (dodge, circle in PS3), she can do a homing attack in which the player mashes the A/X button to rend the zombie in two for an instant kill. While the Prologue does a very good job on chronicling the use of each button, the one function not explained and thus detracted from the experience, is the explanation of answering Juliet's phone. To do said thing, the player must enter his/her menu and actually select the new phone message. The interruption to the flow of this game manages to disrupt an almost smooth ride otherwise. There are also shops scattered throughout the game, giving Juliet new moves, more stats and also unlockable costumes, music and art, all of which cost Platinum medals on the latter three items that can only be obtained for 500 Zombie Medals for 1 Platinum Medal at shop or when she does a Sparkle Hunt. Sparkle Hunting occurs when the player kills three or more zombies at once. The more zombies that are killed in one combo, the more medals and Platinum Medals she gets.
In some areas, QTE will show up to have the player press a certain button or set of buttons. An example of this is when Juliet attaches Nick's head to a headless zombie to have him wreck something blocking her way to the next area, in which the player will play a sort of Simon Says game to get Nick to move forward with the body. Unfortunately, some of the cases where the player screws up actually renders the Game Over screen to show up and will usually cause frustration as most checkpoints are nowhere near such an area.
The final bit that might be a detraction from the game are timed areas. Sometimes, a "You will die if you don't leave this place" area will show up and unless the player has fast reflexes, that Game Over screen can show up quite a few times.
The player is scored based on how well he/she collected Zombie Medals in the level (currency), how many zombies died, how many zombies were Sparkle Hunted (a fancy way of saying how many were killed in threes or more) and the time it took to complete said level, as well as loss of score due to deaths. If a player beats Juliet's father's score, then a new costume, among other things, is opened up in the shop. This creates a sort of challenge to the player, as the rewards are sweet for beating her dad's score.
Most of the graphics are akin to a comic book's graphics. This effect gives the whole game an almost spirited feel to it as though Juliet was telling the story in such a book. While there aren't exactly many differences between zombies, nor environments, the scenery itself certainly isn't dull and will at least not annoy the player playing this game.
Juliet herself embodies the near impossible for an 18 year old girl/woman. She is stunning and will definitely show off in some areas of the game automatically, making her something of fan service as well. Her looks give her the feeling that she fits (nearly) the stereotypical cheerleader, minus the zombie hunting part of course.
The music of the game is usually something that isn't quite white noise, but isn't annoying either. There's nothing incredibly remarkable about the sounds of the game, but there are some 60s 70s and 80s music clips filled in the game (most notably, "You Spin Me Right Round.") The effects of Juliet's chainsaw will leave little to what happens to whatever she hacks apart with it, keeping true to what a chainsaw would most likely sound like rending zombies into pieces. Her little sounds of surprise when she is damaged might detract slightly here, as it's only a sound of "Oh" and not something that is a little more realistic when she is hurt.
The best part about this game is the DLC or at least the lack of paying for it. The developers left the content unlockable in-game but also left the option out for people who wish to spend a little cash to see Juliet in all sorts of costumes, from cheerleader clothing, to bikinis, to maid outfits, players can have it all for free or faster for not free.
The rankings gives this game a little more life and competitive feel. Players can go head to head with others around the world for the bragging rights of who is either fastest, scores the most points or gains the most medals. This also gives die-hard gamers a chance to flex their muscles and gives another depth to the game. Sadly, if someone cannot connect to XBL or PSN, this detracts slightly as the game loses replayability here.
Very High with PSN/XBL due to Rankings and choosing of Hard and Very Hard modes.
Without PSN/XBL Moderate
Interesting Fact: For those who played Gladius, the voice actor for Valens and Nick sound very similar so it's possible he did voice acting for this game, hence the tagline.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/05/12
Game Release: Lollipop Chainsaw (US, 06/12/12)
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