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E3 2016 – Let It Die Hands-On Preview – Fight to Survive (PS4)

E3 2016 was a show that felt more spread out than past years. EA held an entirely separate event called EA PLAY, and several publishers held appointments outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center, at nearby hotels. Such was the case for Let It Die (previously known as Lily Bergamo), as publisher GungHo Online Entertainment invited us to take a few minutes away from the craziness that is E3 to play the zaniness that is Suda51’s latest creation.

Head Out to Dive In

Located in an unassuming hotel a few minutes’ walk from the convention center, Suda51 and crew were holed up inside a room, no doubt with appointments booked solid throughout the day. I was allowed to play the game and talk to Suda51 with help from a translator, to learn some more about Let It Die.

Let It Die controls in a similar manner to Dark Souls III, where each shoulder button is mapped to a hand on your character. Enemies are also fairly powerful, and can kill you pretty quickly. However, Let It Die takes place in the near future, after unfortunate events at the Olympics in Japan led to some sort of spore-infused outbreak. Now, starting with nothing but a gas mask and underwear, you are tasked with surviving and hopefully obtaining more information about how to save the world.

Free for All

At its core, Let It Die is a hack-n-slash action game, which just so happens to also be free-to-play. The entire game will be playable without cost, though naturally there will be premium items, which can be cosmetic but can also be things such as experience multipliers, or continues for when you die (and you will die).

With a name like Let It Die, you’d imagine that death is a key component of the game, and you’d be right. Not only is the game free-to-play, it is also online, which is where your characters go once they die. Outside of continues, once your character dies that’s the end of them in your game. However, that character can appear in other players’ games, and will become an enemy for them to defeat. In this way, your death has a purpose — to strengthen other players. This is the extent of multiplayer in Let It Die, asynchronous, interpretive combat. Each time you die, you start again in the world in nothing but your underwear and gas mask, for reasons that are apparently explained to you by your guide, Death, who is a skateboard-riding skeleton with an attitude.

A Different Feeling

As players roam about in the world, they’ll find various items such as pants, jackets, and weapons. You can carry up to three weapons per hand, equipping one at a time, cycling through them by using the directional pad. There are also mushrooms and other consumable items, such as frogs, are used by swiping and pressing the touchpad on the DualShock 4 controller.

Let It Die isn’t quite as over the top as Producer Suda51’s earlier games. It feels more grounded, and not as hyper-stylized as his games are known for, if only a little (Death says hi!). Of course, with a sarcastic grim reaper as your guide, things can still get pretty wacky. Combat is visceral and defeating enemies is rewarding – often literally as they occasionally drop items and weapons. There is little doubt that fans of Suda51 will be disappointed with the final product that Let It Die becomes. While Let It Die has no solid release date as of this writing, the current plan is later this year.