Hi all! The second ever Game of the Week is here!
Last week, we looked at one of the most influential RPG's of all time. This week...
This week, we dive into something quite different.
Today's Game of the Week takes us down into the weird, wild, wacky, wonderful world of game developer Suda 51.
If you're like me, Killer7 was your first foray into the twisted mind that is Suda 51 and his co-workers at Grasshopper Manufacture. Published by Capcom in 2005, Killer7 followed the exploits of an assassin for hire named Harman Smith. Harman is an old, wheelchair-bound man, but (stay with me) he sends multiple aspects of his mind to do his bidding. In other words, physical manifestations of his many personalities. Seven of them.
Garcian Smith is Harman's right-hand man, and typically the liaison between Harman and clients, as well as the go-between for Harman and his personalities.
Dan Smith is your typical tough guy, with a revolver.
Coyote Smith is a Puerto Rican, also packing a revolver.
KAEDE Smith is Japanese-American, equipped with a bloody dress, a pistol, and bare feet.
Kevin Smith is a strong, silent albino with knives.
Con Smith is a short Chinese-American with twin handguns and a penchant for speed.
And, last but certainly not least, MASK de Smith, the Mexican masked luchador wielding two grenade launchers.
You play as all of them, switching between each of them as you see fit, using each of their abilities (MASK de Smith can destroy certain walls, Con Smith is super-fast, etc) to solve various puzzles and defeat the terrorist organization known as Heaven Smile. Smiles (for short), the main enemy force of sorts, start off as zombie like creatures, invisible to the naked eye. They shortly evolve into a variety of enemy types.
Smiles are essentially walking bombs. They approach the player character, detonating when they get close, laughing all the way.
The game was met with confusion from the critics of the day. Most of this can be attributed to the unconventional gameplay.
Essentially, Killer7 is an on-rails game, though not quite a rail-shooter. You hold a button, and your character runs. Another button turns you around. Often, you come across junctions, where you can choose a direction to run in. Periodically, you'll hear the telltale laughter of a Smile-at which point, you hold a shoulder button to aim, press another button to "scan" the area, revealing the Smiles to you, then finally pushing the trigger to fire, hopefully hitting their weak point, spilling tons of blood, which you can use to upgrade your characters stats and fuel their special abilities.
Another point, contributing to Killer7's niche status is the "nonlinear" storytelling. Not that the game is free roaming (it most certainly isn't) but the story is presented in such a way that can be interpreted in any number of ways.
It's a complex tale; one which is simply presented to you, leaving you to fill in the gaps. Sometimes, with your own imagination.
The story, and atmosphere, is why I highly recommend playing (or replaying) Killer7. You can ask five different people what a scene meant, and you'd likely get five different answers. Not to mention, of course, the super-stylized look of the cel-shaded graphics you can see in the screenshots. This is above all, a game for people who like interpretive storytelling, anime, and film noir.
On the other hand, it's really not a game for people who don't like a little weirdness in their games.
Because Killer7 isn't a little weird. It's a LOT weird.
Over the course of the game, you'll fight an anime schoolgirl with a machine gun, shoot an immortal Korean man with an armor-piercing rifle (and watch him catch the bullet) witness an atomic bomb blast, fight two nearly headless businessmen, and fight a thinly veiled Power Rangers-spoof team.
And you won't even be halfway done.
It's a trip.
It's also not for the faint of heart, as Killer7 is certainly gory, but also goes to some dark places. Places traditional video games rarely go today, and basically never did in 2005.
But for those of you who play (or played) it, hopefully you're as fond of it as me. Hopefully you can look past the bonkers gameplay and enjoy it for what it is: more or less an interactive movie, but a dark, thoroughly engrossing one at that.
Next week, we fuse Pokemon with a Resident Evil-style camera and see what happens!