Suda 51 has become known for really pushing the envelope when it comes to outrageous themes and crazy presentation values, so I had no idea what to expect when XSEED took me behind closed doors to check out his new title, Killer is Dead. The game may remind a lot of people of Killer 7, but after sitting down to view the demo, I can safely say this is much much better.
The demo level I was shown was Episode 7 in the game, taking place in Kyoto, Japan. Killer is Dead plays much like a television drama, with 13 episodes in total. Each episode has its own agenda and atmosphere, but I was told they all tie together in the end. The story centers around Mondo Zappa, an executioner for hire who resides in the Bryan Execution Agency, which is located in the underbelly of the world, where people with unnatural powers reside.
Missions in the game are given to you through a client giving you a mission to take out someone. When our mission was started, you could immediately see just how stylized this game is. It has a beautiful art to it unlike anything I have seen, with the environments and enemies really popping.
The game is very similar to past Suda titles like Lollipop Chainsaw, where you are given a mission in a level and must kill everything in the level and then the boss at the end. To do this, you will fight with your bionic left arm and katana. The arm can have four different weapon types; Drill, Freeze, Cannon, and Shooter. They all have their very specific uses and the animations with each being extremely tight.
Combat is fairly straight forward as you can slash enemies with your katana, use your bionic arm to hit them if farther off, or try to time your dodge to pull off an epic counter attack. The combat works very similar to another Suda 51 game, Shadows of the Damned. During battle you will need to fill up your blood gauge through killing enemies, which then improves the rate of fire with your weapon and makes it more powerful.
Boss battles are where the combat really gets interesting, with each boss being very unique and each battle being a two part battle. Our demo showed us a boss named Hamadayama, a Yakuza who is running rampant with a tiger tattoo that has taken form alongside him. The battle begins with just him fighting you, but after enough damage was inflicted, his tattoo comes alive out of his back to help. Other bosses are just as interesting, including a music producer who steals his clients’ talents. It is this kind of insane randomness that really makes this game shine.
You are not alone in your travels either as there are a few other people in your agency that show up throughout levels to help you along. Mika, a young girl you saved one day, will come to you when you are dead to revive you. However it only works if you have a Mika ticket, otherwise she is far too busy to come to you aid.
Of course no Japanese game would be complete without a completely random mode that just screams Japanese. Killer is Dead has a mode called “Gigolo” mode, which is basically like a mini dating sim. In this mode, you head to a bar and basically hit on ladies there. Meet a lady and talk to her, looking down at her body when she doesn’t notice, filling up your Gut gauge and giving you the ability to then give her gifts. Give her the right gift and she will go home with you for the night; let her catch you staring at her body and you may go home with a slap. Giving her gifts and taking her home will unlock bonuses in the regular game, so it is not a mandatory mode to take part in, but it has some serious perks.
Killer is Dead is a game that is sure to wow gamers with its high amount of style and epic boss battles. The TV-like episodes is a really cool idea and the story is one that should have a high amount of comedy. My only worry is that the gameplay might start to get a bit repetitive, but the boss battles and enemies specific to your location should solve that problem.
The game will be releasing on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with no release date in store.