Review by Tyler387

"Killer7-- an outstanding work of art that has yet to be surpassed."

Killer7 is an extremely odd and jaw-droppingly violent third-person action-adventure game filled to the brim with obscure monologues, political conspiracies, whacked-out characters, and memorable villains. Although the game certainly isn't for everyone, Killer7 manages to tell an incredibly moving tale and has, in my opinion, the absolute best story of any game yet conceived.

The graphics in Killer7 are of a cell-shaded style, which really helps distinguish the game as something original. The entire presentation is highly stylized, with brilliant colors that pop off of the screen. The character models and cutscenes in particular are very well done. The game doesn't push any boundaries in terms of graphical realism, but instead crafts a surreal environment come to life with an otherwordly appeal. Most of the levels take place in buildings, which could be considered somewhat boring. But after playing the game for only a short while, one realizes just how unique and appealing the graphics really are. The only complaint that I have is a small one--- some of the environmental textures are a bit pixelated.

This is where Killer7 sets itself apart as a game of limited appeal. The gameplay is essentially a mix of an on-rails shooter and an adventure game. Pushing up or down on the directional pad moves your character on a set path. Although this movement style definitely takes a little getting used to, in the end it actually works and makes you feel as if you know where you are going, even if you don't. Reaching a fork in the road gives you options to select which direction you wish to travel to. Although you can backtrack freely between areas, you do not have free, 3-dimensional movement.

By pressing the R1 button, you will go into a first-person view. From this view you can attack enemies as one of the game's many different personas. You can freely switch between these characters via the inventory screen. However, if one of your characters dies, you will have to play as another character or switch to your main persona, Garcian Smith, and find and revive the dead body of your lost comrade. This multiple-character system is one of the game's main selling points, as many puzzles require you to switch between the different characters and exploit their unique powers and abilities. Speaking of puzzles, Killer7 boasts a unique blend of them that feel challenging without being frustrating.

Your main opponents in the game are a set of weird, suicidal monsters known as Heaven Smiles. These beings are usually invisible and need to be scanned with the L1 button before they can be killed. If these beings reach you they will explode and based on the difficulty, do a certain amount of damage (usually a lot). Killer7 also features several boss battles. The unique thing about these battles is that each one is entirely different in style. Some bosses are regular dodge-and-shoot affairs, whereas others are more like minigames in which you must shoot at just the correct time in what is somewhat of a quick-time event. These boss battles are perhaps one of Killer7's greatest strengths, as each boss provides an interesting way of defeating them.

I feel that it is also necessary to state that this game is most definitely not for the faint of heart. There are few games that I feel could have gotten an AO (Adults Only) rating, and this game is one of them. Not only is the game filled with over-the-top bloody violence, but it is also host to gratuitous swearing as well as strong sexual content and extremely mature themes. This game is, in my opinion, one of the most disturbing games to have ever been created. There isn't a particular scene that evokes this (although there are PLENTY of scenes that will shock you), but the game as a whole, when played through, is extremely unnerving. That said, children probably should pass on this, not just for the graphic content but also because many of the game's themes and its complex story will go over their heads.

The main gripe that I have with this game (and the reason I gave it an 8/10) is that the core run-and-gun on-rails gameplay does get quite repetitive after a while. Many gamers will be put off by this. Even as an avid fan, I must admit that the game's scan and shoot gameplay style does grow quite old, even with new enemies and locations.

The second complaint that I have (this is also a major one) is the LONG loading times between rooms. Although fans of the game will be able to overlook this annoying feature, many action gamers will not.

STORY: 10/10
The story in Killer7 is absolutely the game's main selling point. If you're interested in a mind-bogglingly deep, philosophically unique tale that will make you talk, look no further. I will go so far as to say that Killer7's story is the best that has ever come out of a videogame. The reason I say this is because of how deep the storyline truly is. The game's plot is SO complex and SO philosophical, that it pretty much blows everything else out of the water. The only game that I feel is remotely close in terms of complexity is the Metal Gear Solid Series, although Killer7 is much more complex and confusing than that series in my opinion.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that Killer7 will redefine how you view politics, religion, and the world in general. The battle between the Killer7 assassins (the protagonists) and Kun Lan (the villain) may seem simple at the beginning, but after several playthoughs you'll realize just how complex the story is. I, in fact, have not completely figured everything out even after multiple playthoughs.

The music and sound in Killer7 is also very professional and well-done. The voice acting in particular is superb and really helps make the game's cutscenes a joy to watch. The music also helps evoke a particular mood, whether it be an action-y techno piece or a more mellow, quieter song. There really isn't a whole lot else to say-- the music and sound work in Killer7 completely satisfied me, especially the voice acting, which I consider some of the best I've ever heard.

Killer7 doesn't have a whole lot in terms of replay value. Although there are two endings, they both can be acheived in one playthough with correct saving. After beating the game, you can unlock a more difficult mode called Killer8 mode in which you play as an additional character. By completing this mode, you can unlock Hopper7, a very original reimagining of the first level. Despite not having a lot in terms of extras, Killer7's replay value comes in the sheer brilliance of the storytelling. You'll want to play through the game at least twice to be able to grasp the storyline and what it truly means. Also, this game can be purchased nowadays for as little as $5-10, so your value for your money is quite impressive.

OVERALL: 10/10 (not an average)

+Brilliant, thought-provoking storyline that will absolutely boggle your mind
+Beautiful, eye-popping cell-shaded graphics that are dripping with style
+Fantastic voice acting and sound
+Awesome boss battles
-Run-and-gun gameplay does get repetitive
-LONG load times.
-Game is not for everyone.

In the end, Killer7 distinguishes itself as perhaps the most unique and thought-provoking game to ever grace a console. The game does have a few flaws, but the pros of the game overshadow them so much that you'll probably not even care. Because of how cheap this game is, I would recommend everyone remotely interested buy it. 10/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/05/08

Game Release: Killer7 (US, 07/07/05)

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