Killer Is Dead Review
Gochi Suda, a.k.a. Suda 51 is known for innovative and memorable games like No More Heroes and Killer 7 and have been known for awesome gameplay and stellar graphics, but is Suda 51′s latest entry a match for games in its genre, or does it drown in a pool of gore?
Killer Is Dead is a game which presents similarities to DmC: Devil May Cry, but also has vast differences from a Capcom juggernaut franchise like DMC and even surpasses it.
You play as Mondo, a contract-for-hire assassin who works for the Bryan Execution Firm. The firm is contacted by various people to execute targets for a price, all while battling his own amnesia. What’s different about Mondo is that while he operates with a Japanese katana, he also has a useful mechanical arm for a weapon.
With most Suda 51 games, presentation, no matter what system a game’s on, surpasses and uses the hardware to its limit. Killer Is Dead is no surprise or contrast here. Whether it’s battling inside an Alice In Wonderland-like environment trying to rescue Alice or battling a 240 foot world eater on top of a rooftop or even your own dreams, the environments and levels within the game do a good job of keeping you on your toes visually.
While some said there was some screen tearing in gameplay, I didn’t notice any whatsoever. The presentation is at its peak while watching the game’s cutscenes. It reminds you of watching an anime that took a left turn to bizarro world while it holds its graphical flair, but with hardly any clue as to what the main story arc points to, kind of like the anime Ergo Proxy.
The major characters and bosses themselves look creatively stunning. Mondo and his team, with the exception of Mika, who is nothing more than a whiny bitch, and that’s putting it mildly, are badasses. The bosses like Giant Head, Victor and Dolly are designed level-specific and look like something out of a bad nightmare, especially Giant Head, who’s 240 feet tall.
While gameplay is similar to other hack and slash games, Killer Is Dead does some things differently that others like it do not.
First off, while you as the player can choose to only use Mondo’s sword throughout the entire game, it proves beneficial to use his mechanical arm, to which can have various weapons like a freeze gun and a drill attached to it, depending on various circumstances.
Mondo’s health and blood can be upgraded by finding green and red crystals respectively and do so by exploring the areas and killing enemies. Also, if Mondo has enough moon crystals, which can also be found in-game, he can upgrade his abilities with his mechanical arm and katana respectively and purchase new katana moves or power up his weapons on his arm.
A constant amount of blood is useful to Mondo to use the weapons attached to his arm. and can be found in three ways. First, Mondo can destroy certain objects in a level like boxes and so on. Secondly, Mondo can just hack his way through enemies to obtain blood, and finally, while it’s the most taxing, but is also useful, Mondo can explore the levels to find Scarlett, an American nurse, who can be found throughout the game to refill Mondo’s blood gauge when he needs to, and also unlocks “Scarlett Challenge” mini-games that give Mondo an opportunity to obtain guts, which he uses to seduce women.
While Killer Is Dead offers side missions that take place within environments of the main story levels, one of the most fun elements of the game is seducing women. As stated above, Mondo must acquire guts to seduce various women throughout the game, and this is done via the Scarlett Challenges. Challenges range from not getting hit to defeating a certain type of enemy in a given time. Guts goes towards Mondo, and the money earned in the game’s levels goes towards buying gifts for women, which Mondo can use to win a woman’s heart.
Finding out what a particular woman likes is done with a special pair of glasses given to Mondo by Scarlett early in the game, and are used in these “gigolo missions.” While some reviewers pegged this mini-game as borderline sexist, I thought it was pretty fun to do, especially if a woman caught Mondo staring at her with the glasses on, she would dump the wine on him, thus failing the mission. If Mondo succeeds, he wins her heart and passes the mission.
While Killer Is Dead does have similarities to DmC: Devil May Cry, the differences and especially replay value Killer Is Dead offers, because you can replay the missions as many times as you want, it surpasses games within the genre, and receives my stamp of approval. It’s graphical output is stunning and will take you on a ride with a complex story that leaves you asking questions even after the final boss.
Verdict: Buy It