Review by TheYithsRevenge

"News This Week - Man in wheelchair assassinates freaks, claims for MPD"

A new shot in a new direction from Capcom, a company we know for making Horror (Resident Evil), beat-em ups (Street Fighter), RPGs (Breath of Fire) and even shoot-em ups (Devil May Cry).

Well it's another shoot-em up with a more unusual slant to it than DMC. The story is set at a time when the nuclear weapons of the world shall be detonated into space as a peace resolution. However, a mysterious terrorist group called the Heaven's Smile plan to stop this. You play as a group of assassins called the Killer7, which are effectively rooted to one man with a split personality. Harman Smith, a 65-year old man bound to a wheelchair, is the world's greatest assassin. Now how can this be, aside from having a good leg rest for his rifle to keep steady? (Sorry, that might have been poor taste).

Well, his little split team deal with the missions primarily. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses which you will have to bear with, and also alternating between them to solve puzzles. The game involves having to mostly gun down Heave Smiles, colourful zombie-like enemies that lurch towards you to blow themselves up with you. You can either gun them down or hit their weak spot (which you have to learn to do eventually).

The graphics are the game's main strength. Colourful cel-shading in manga-style slants with a paint range and a set of suits you may have found common in the 1980's. It's definitely not a game for the epidemic-prone. The most artistic point of the game is killing an enemy, as they usually burst into a colourful explosion of blood. There is also the mixture of 3D and 2D cut-scenes to add a slightly more surreal feel to it all.

The gameplay is original at first, especially having different characters to control at any time to swap over with, due to their many differing abilities. However it does get annoyingly repetitive, as well as having numerous times to backtrack and face enemies all over again (they know how to regenerate, I tell you that!). There are also puzzles which are mainly not very challenging if you pay attention and have a clear head on them shoulders. The characters can even upgrade to an extent, by storing blood they absorb from enemies. The characters are as follows:

GARCIAN - He's only there to bring back anyone who died on the field. A cruddy silenced pistol is all he has but he is strong enough to take a few blows. If he dies, it's all over. Shame, he would be a cooler, slimmer Shaft if he wasn't such a pansy with a gun.
DAN - all-rounder, the average. Good power, average health, sarcastic for a bonus and a fast reloader. He's a preferred choice for most battles. You can tell he's hard, he has 5 o'clock shadow and a chin borrowed from Wolverine.
KAEDE - the only girl of the whole team, with two special things. One, she can disable barriers with a blood shower. Two, she has a scope to hit weak points better. But she is the weakest in health and has terrible reloading time. Sure, she wears that blood-stained prom dress, but she's really nice, I swear.
KEVIN - a mute albino man, he's actually one of the better choices. Using knives, he has no reload or recoil time and generally good with them. He also can go invisible, a very useful ability to sneak past enemies with. His health is average. Nice shades as well, you ever think of the Invisible Man? Well, Kevin doesn't wear bandages so this trick will work.
COYOTE - The more jittery equivalent of Dan, he has a little more power and good health with fast reloading, but his recoil is slow so you can get vulnerable between shots. He can jump to high places and pick locks. Another bad thing is his loud shirts. He must be the worst kind of thief ever to wear shirts that seem to have once been thin bedsheets from Hawaiian hotels. I bet he stole them himself.
CON - The kid, and my personal favourite even though he's not the best. He is extremely fast and has two pistols to shoot with. While his accuracy is a little off and his attacks are not that strong, he shoots fast and has the best reload time. Shame he's a kid and quite poor health. But hey, for a blind kid, he can shoot damn well better than most people I know, even though none of them have driving licenses.
MASK - the powerhouse. He has a lot of power in his grenade launchers but VERY slow, especially in reloading. However he does the best health of the team. You'll only want him for removing obstacles with his strength. Love the mask, it makes you think of a Batman villain, doesn't it? And before you ask, he never says "SsssssSMOKIIING!!!"

The music is nothing special in general but not annoying usually. As for sound effects, they're quite good with the insane laughs of the Heaven Smiles being the most repeated. It gets on your nerves but it will keep you on your toes. The voice acting is probably some of the best I have ever heard in a videogame, with a reputable cast of actors. They probably want to be in a pantomime show so it's good they show off their good acting again.

So I generally give it a 7/10. While its story, graphics and characters are very impressive (the story being quite deep and confusing and by the end of it, your eyes will grow a bit in surprise), the gameplay is repetitive and tends to be quite annoying a lot of the time. So if you can bear having to shoot enemies over and over again for seeing a very unusual story, then buy it, or even better, RENT it if you can. really, only the story is worth playing it for, if you like to think of a videogame as an expensive interactive short story.
As for replay value, it doesn't have any, unless you're one of those people that love to challenge themselves at much harder levels. I'm not, but if you are one, then good luck.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/27/05

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