Killer Is Dead was developed by Grasshoppers Manufacture. The last hack n’ slash they released was Lollipop Chainsaw which clearly did not live up to expectations or the hype, will Killer Is Dead fare the same? Read the review to find out!
Killer Is Dead is an overall fun game. The character designs are awesome and unique. Along with this, the game’s graphic style is also very unique and not something we’re used to seeing in games today. There is a few issues that I will bring up later with the game such as screen tearing etc.
The audio of Killer Is Dead is really well done. None of the soundtrack will annoy at you at all, so you won’t want to mute this area of the game at least.
As for voice acting, I did notice a quite a few recognizable voices there. This area was done really well. I played the game in English but you do have the choice to play using the Japanese voice actors too. But unlike some other games, the English dubs have been done really well here.
Like I have already said, the graphic style of this game is definitely unique, it’s a bit like the same company’s Killer7’s (these two games aren’t really related in any way despite having the same developer) style. The character designs are also really unique. You have a woman with.. how many arms? Which she holds a handgun in each hand? Yes, she definitely does come in handy in difficult parts of the game with this. Crazy samurai who is morphed with a tiger. A guy that basically just wears jewellery (getting a bit too unique here, but that’s Suda 51 for you). And the list goes on.
While the graphics are awesome looking, there is a small issue to this part and that is screen tearing and slight bits of lag. Although screen tearing didn’t seem to happen much to me, it was still really noticeable when it did happen. I seen more lag if anything, just parts where you would have thought a crash was about to happen but didn’t. Overall, these issues don’t affect the gameplay much but it is something you’ll definitely notice sooner or later into your game. I played this on PS3 but I have heard for a long time that it also happens on the Xbox 360 version as well.
Each of the stages look very unique to each other besides about a couple where you’ll revisit areas, there’s never a dull setting in the game though.
First off, the story starts off serious enough. Then it eventually does lose the plot. Not that that’s a bad thing. Not all games need mega-serious stories to be good. I actually quite enjoyed the story of this. It seemed a lot less random than Lollipop Chainsaw’s story, that was for sure. You play as Mondo Zappa who is an executioner for a company that gets requests from some strange customers to kill off dangerous people. Each episode is about a different request so there is no big overall enemy in this game for quite a while. The biggest enemy I guess for a while would be the wires which are the normal enemies you’ll fight as progressing through the episodes.
Overall, the story isn’t something you should look at when it comes to enjoying this game. Nearly any hack n’ slash games have stories like this. It’s a genre that doesn’t have to be focused on story to make a good game, you should look more at the gameplay if anything. I may have given the story a very generous rating, but it does have it’s funny moments at times and sometimes does have a plot. It really did feel like it had a separate story for each episode though at times. It also felt very anime styled so if you’re a fan of anime, you may enjoy the story of this game.
This would be where the game shines if nowhere else does. Unlike Lollipop Chainsaw which I mentioned was really simple, this actually takes a more advanced approach. It actually felt like it was on Platinum Games’ quality of hack n’ slash gameplay. There is only one small issue I have here with the game, if you’re the kind of person to just play through a game’s story and that’s just about all you do, then this is really short. The majority of episodes only last up to five to ten minutes. I wasn’t even rushing this game and still felt like I had completed my first play of story really fast. This was on Normal difficulty too.
Not saying that the game is super easy though. There was a few challenging moments in the game. You are learned the dodge and guard mechanics really fast into the game. You will be using them too, it isn’t just a mash attack button and win game. The bosses will take full advantage if you don’t bother to listen to what the game tells you.
As well as the sword, you also have about four different weapons which work on Mondo’s mechanic arm. You get the extra weapons for impressing Mondo’s Girls in the Gigolo Mode.. so yes, you are given a good reason to play that mode. Basically in this, it’s not hack n’ slash obviously, it’s stare at the girl when she isn’t looking mini-game. This area of the game maybe gets criticized a bit but seriously, the game’s got a 18/Mature rating; it can be there if it wants. It does get a bit repetitive after a while though, it’s fun enough the first couple of times when you’re learning but then it’s like, you’ve done this before, it’s getting old now. It’s also a mode where nearly all of your money would be going to when it comes to impressing the girls with gifts.
Some of the normal enemies can be downright annoying as well. There are those enemies that will shoot and stun you repeatedly, there was one time in the game where I kept recovering from being stunned to just getting stunned again. It was annoying and those enemies would definitely be the ones you’ll want to get rid of first.
You are given the option of either using Checkpoints or Mika Rescues if you ever happen to lose all your health. Checkpoints is something you’ll always have but of course, it reverts you back to your most recent checkpoint, any progress you made from that point would have been lost. While you only get 3 Mika Rescues (and do have the option to purchase more), where basically Mika comes in and recovers Mondo and then you can restart from the exact point you lost all health. It’s a bit like the Gold Orbs in the Devil May Cry series.
You also upgrade health and blood (this is basically your ammo and how much time you can spend in Adrenaline Rush mode), by leveling up. You pick up points each time you defeat an enemy and even more when you defeat an enemy with a special kill, although it is entirely your choice in what you have drop there, so say you want your health increased, you press triangle so that the enemy drops health points.
You also can upgrade Mondo’s skills, you can get some skills that will make the game really easy after a while such as health recovery and extra skills when it comes to evasion/guarding.
You can buy extra costumes which makes the game a bit too easy, so easy that you could maybe run through Very Hard difficulty and not have much of a problem. You can avoid these costumes if wanting to keep the challenge there though.
Each Episode and Mission gives you a rating, going as far up as AAA and I don’t think I ever seen the lowest rank.. But you are definitely informed in what areas you should improve in and all that.
The game also has challenges and side missions so there is a lot of stuff to do in this game despite it having a really short story, depending on your skill level in hack n’ slash games, you’ll probably not be done with this too soon.
So you’re probably wondering if it is worth it. Like I said, if you are someone who just play through a game’s story and nothing else, consider just giving it a rental, because it possibly won’t last more than 3-5 hours for you. But if you are a fan of doing everything a game has to offer, it’s definitely worth the purchase. Compared to the previous game this company made in this genre, Lollipop Chainsaw, I have to say I enjoyed this a lot and really do see myself going for the platinum (which means essentially doing everything in the game from the looks of the trophy list).
I also purchased the fan edition of the game so I will do a small review of that here, it came with the full soundtrack, a poster (folded though, but they had to fit it in the box someway I guess), an artbook (which seemed like it included everything, wasn’t just a few pages of art that you have probably already seen before), a Papercraft Diorama (which doesn’t come on the best quality of paper and I still haven’t built it yet) and finally, the Smooth Operator DLC pack which includes X-ray glasses for Gigolo Mode, a new girl for Gigolo Mode and an extra Episode to play through. Not the best special edition ever, but for the price I got it for, I’m not complaining, I got it for about the same price that the standard edition of the game goes for now.