Developer: GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE Inc.
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: NIS America
Genre: Rail Shooter
I did not have the pleasure of playing Killer7 when it was originally released for the Gamecube and PlayStation 2 back in 2005 (probably too busy listening to Crazy Frog on my iPod while poking people on Facebook or some crap like that). So I was excited to hear that the game would be making its way to PC, which gives me the chance to review it. After playing through the game, all I can say is…boy did I really miss out.
From the start, Killer7 is a wild experience that had me confused yet intrigued as I played through it. The game begins with a man named Garcian Smith, a member of the assassin group killer7, who is being tasked with eliminating targets that are held up in a building. It all seems pretty straightforward…until you actually step foot in the building. What follows is a nightmarish and overall trippy experience in which your friend Iwazaru, a ghost man in a bondage suit, informs you that the targets are laughing zombie-like creatures that run towards you and explode.
During the game, it’s explained that the members of killer7 are just physical manifestations of personalities of a single elderly man in a wheelchair named Harman Smith who exhibits “Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon” which allows him to physically transform into any of the members through the help of…televisions? There are also some weird anime angel girls, a talking head in a washing machine, and more!
If that wasn’t weird enough, the gameplay of Killer7 is a unique yet odd hybrid of a detective puzzle game and a pseudo rail shooter game. Your character moves by holding down a single button it’s also possible to turn around and head the opposite direction, which is unlike typical rail shooters. While you explore, you will hear creepy joker type laughter which indicates you need to enter shooter mode and scan the area to reveal invisible units (yea these guys are invisible). You then move your crosshairs and shoot away at the enemies to prevent them from getting too close to you or else they explode and damage your character.
It took some time to get used to the controls since the button indicators in all the tutorials are for an XBOX controller even though keyboard and mouse are supported, and the keyboard controls weren’t anything special. You can, however, open a prelauncher to remap the controls as you see fit, but this requires you to exit out of the game every time you want to map something as far as I can tell. I eventually got used to the controls after some time, and after a while, I was kicking ass and most importantly…dying less
There is an interesting mechanic that comes up when your character dies. Similar to Dark Souls and other “Souls” type games, when your character dies, you drop the souls (or in this case blood) that you collected and have to return to the spot of your death in order to recollect them. Where Killer7 differs is that when you die you leave behind a bloody brown paper bag and have to switch to Garcian Smith, the cleaner, in order to recover the bag. After recovering the paper bag, you head to the TV in your room and reanimate your corpse from the bag by rapidly pressing a button. While I found this mechanic interesting and fun when I first encountered it in the game, after a while it became a pain to retrace my way to my body and bring it all the way back to a room with a TV. There is also the added anxiety that comes about because if Garcian dies, you get a game over and have to continue from where you last saved the game which could have been a while back depending on when you had access to a room with a save point.
Killer7 also features other mechanics, such as, a character progression system through collecting blood from your enemies, which allows the player to power up stats and unlock skills, and puzzles that you have to solve in order to progress further in the game. Some of these puzzles require you to explore around for items and perform a variety of other tasks. There are a lot of different things going on in Killer7 and I found that aspect of the game enjoyable because I never knew what was waiting for me as I continued to play. It seemed like the creators of the game put in whatever they thought would be fun or cool which made every corner and NPC conversation exciting to discover.
Additionally, since this is a touched up version of the game, I feel should mention that the game looks great. Everything looks crisp and clean while still retaining the polygon graphics of the Gamecube and PlayStation 2. The art style and camera angles used in the game add a lot to its personality and overall I enjoyed the visuals as I played through the game.
In the end, it is difficult to fully explain what makes Killer7 so great, similar to how I find it difficult to explain what makes cult classic movies like Big Trouble in Little China enjoyable. Killer7 has a certain charm and personality that makes it a unique experience that really draws you in, and while it lacks the polish of other titles out there, I found myself enjoying the game because I could tell the creators enjoyed making it. If like me you missed your chance to play Killer7 when it was first released, I highly recommend you pick up this touched up version and experience it all for yourself.
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