Killer 7 Reader Review
First off, I want to apologise for the crap reviews I've been giving recently. I seemed to have fallen into the trap of writing generic rubbish and just describing games without any actuall emotional input. This is all about to change, and it is helped by the fact I start afresh with Capcom's Killer7.
First off, this is one of the freakiest and most gory games out there. It doesn't have shock tactics to scare, it's more mentally disturbing than anything else. And it's incredibly rude. The basic premise is that you play an assassin with multiple personalities, hired to carry out hits on specific people who have influence on the political standing of current affairs, and there are also others that need doing away with that are also interconnected with the story.
Missles have been launched and are heading towards Japan, but no-one knows who fired them. Recently a documentation was leaked that details how Japan is going to obtain world dominance subtly but ultimately by unseen forces. Your job is to figure out just what the hell is going on. Honestly, I couldn't for the life of me try to detail you the finished story because it is so incredibly deep, more so than anything else you will have ever played. Hidden meanings and ambiguity string the story along, providing you with more (explicit) questions than answers, although it is said by the developers that this is an open-ended game where they don't tell you what happens; it's what you think happened - there are enough clues to give you a fair understanding of what you've just affected.
In fact, I had to consult the internet for further details about what I had just played. It's all twisted and presented on so many different levels and viewpoints that only those that concentrate will comprehend. I suggest a second run trough as that usually brings up the extra information (and there's a reason to do so too, more on that later).
Killer7's stylistically simple nature in presentation either has you running in disgust or you welcoming it with open arms. More fool you for being a graphics whore as the style fits well with the explicit gore and blood that ensures - if it was any more realistic, I doubt that this game would have been made available for sale. There's an incredible amount of swearing too, with liberal uses of 'fuck' and 'shit' littered throughout the spoken conversations between the different characters. The freaky nature of the Heaven Smiles terrorists (your main enemies who were once humans but have been resurrected) and their kamikaze attack (they are walking bombs) are only seen after you have heard their shrieking laughter and scanned the room with your special visor (they are initially invisible). Until you get used to the gameplay, you're popping as many bullets as you can as they continue to stumble towards you. If you're quick thinking enough, you'll go for the legs to buy yourself a second or two as they fall over but continue crawling onwards. Dispatching limbs results in a long ribbon of blood, and if you don't do an 'instant kill' their death involves them leaking blood in streams from all over their body. Imagine that in more realistic graphics - there's only so much anyone can take, which is why this cell-shaded comic style allows you to stomach the game that little bit easier.
Look past the visuals and you'll have to contend with the unique control scheme. It make look free-roaming but it is very much on the rails with crossroad paths. A face button moves you forward, another turns you 180-degrees, the trigger goes into first-person for stationary shooting, a couple more activate 'charge shots' and a map. The left trigger activates the aforementioned 'scan visor', and the analogue stick is for aiming. It's incredibly simple, yet goes against everything you've already played. Furthermore, unless you learn to control the characters, you'll get increasingly frustrated at not being able to run away or aim quickly or whatever else that will help you survive. The mechanics provide you with everything you need to see you through comfortably, and there wasn't a single thing that I though obstructed your play.
You're introduced to Harman Smith and Garcian Smith, the former hired the latter. Garcian is someone who is able to contact the Killer7. You understand that the Killer7 is actually just one person but with multiple personalities, and that during gameplay you are able to switch to any of these personalities at a whim. This is necessary to get past the puzzles that hinder your progress. They are not anything major and it is clear that the developers are not using puzzles to extend the longevitity of the game because the (accessible) map of the level you play have guides/icons depicting that there is something that needs sovling at specific points (and also tells you which personality to use). This is consistent throughout the game and truly helps to keep the game flowing; all in all it is something that I think is well implemented and removes any blocks that hinder you seeing the story's resolution.
Each of the levels are incredibly well designed; even though there are areas/paths that the on-rails doesn't follow, you can always stop and have a look from a distance. Admittedly, they do look plain in fine detail, but the way in which the immediate area is setup and the furnishings positioned all provide a sense of reality. You can easily accept someone running around in an empty street with white-wash houses on either side, or that a railtrack runs across a small town, or the classis school corridor with lockers on either side and posters on the wall. It all feels real without needing the visual fidelity. This is partly why I love Killer7 so much; this and that your Killer7 can be fairly easily killed and that you need to look after each one individually (each have their own lifebar and special skillset which can be upgraded through the rather disturbing means of converting 'thick blood' gained from downed Heaven Smiles into vials for, which can only be assumed, consumption. Healing the Killer7 involve drinking smaller vials of 'thin blood').
This game is so twisted, so wrong, so disturbing, yet is portrayed in a reality that isn't far off from our own. It is what you could (or should) never think of doing, yet you do it to survive, to see the conclusion of just who this one-man killing machine is and why they came to be. Seriously, you should only take one level at a time to allow you to soak up the story and the consequences of your actions. Too much at once and it becomes a mindless race to the end. It's not difficult to see the game through, with tips to defeat bosses provided to those that actually care about the game and talk to the NPCs dotted around. They are also the story, for if you skip those conversations you might as well skip the entire game. The developers have succesfully integrated a superior and meaningfully deep story into the actual gameplay and not solely through cutscenes and the like. The whole experience of Killer7 is one that will not dilute through time; play it now or play it 20-years later, it'll provide the same emotional impact either way.
The foul nature Killer7 is a blight on the good name of gaming, yet it is the epitome of our favourite past-time, and even more so of grasshopper manufacture and Capcom.