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Review

Killer Is Dead Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Killer Is Dead is filled with Suda 51 eccentricity, but it struggles to stay relevant with inconsistent combat, a poorly told story, and some awkwardly sleazy moments.

'

Maybe it's because you spend most of the game chasing a bright pink moon. Or because you've got a bloodsucking bionic arm attached to your torso. Or maybe it's because there are unicorns. And rainbows. Regardless, the fact remains that at no point during Killer Is Dead do you have even the slightest clue about what's going on; it's a disjointed mess of anime cliches, self-deprecating interludes, and the kind of outrageous jiggle-physics and awkward sexism that would make even the biggest Dead or Alive fan blush.

There is some fun to be had here, though, buried beneath the layers of anime nonsense, stark visuals, and button-mashing hack-and-slash action, but you have to disengage the better part of your brain to experience it--and even then, it's not entirely worth it. Killer Is Dead stars Mondo, a sword-swinging, emotionally tortured assassin with a sharp suit and a penchant for stealing blood to power his oversized gun arm. He's joined by an entirely forgettable array of characters at a government agency set up to execute bad guys in exchange for big wads of cash.

That's about as much sense as you're likely to get out of the story, because from there, it really goes off the deep end. By episode three, you'll have fought a scantily clad man on the dark side of the moon, chopped the head off a minigun-toting serial killer, and fought a giant woman-spider mutation in a topsy-turvy mansion inspired by Alice in Wonderland. By the time the end credits roll, you'll have encountered rainbow-covered unicorns and spilt the blood of hundreds upon hundreds of foes, but you'll barely be any closer to understanding why, with abrupt cutscenes raising far more questions than they answer.

Still, there are some nice touches sprinkled in here and there. For instance, Mondo is more than happy to break the fourth wall and extol the virtues of big environments in action games, or wonder if the last level boss is going to be as difficult as it should be. It's a reminder that, despite the gloomy setting, Killer Is Dead doesn't take itself too seriously.

It's a shame such inventiveness hasn't made its way into the combat, which despite instructing you to do otherwise, quickly devolves into a frenzy of button mashing. Part of the problem lies with combos failing to register a lot of the time, with the more complicated attacks offering little benefit over spamming standard sword slashes against foes. Then there's the upgrade system, which lets you unlock new abilities, such as faster attacks, with moon crystals collected during each mission. Frustratingly, you can't unlock many of these until you're way past the halfway point of the game, meaning you have to spend a good chunk of time enduring slow, awkward combat until things get a little more interesting and fun.

It all boils down to a lack of refinement, the sort of thing that makes a 20-hit combo in DmC look and feel as smooth as silk and the witch-time dodges of Bayonetta flow effortlessly from the fingers. Similar effects are attempted here. You can, for instance, activate a garish black-and-white slow-motion attack by dodging enemy attacks at the last second, but the visual cues for doing so are weak at best. And even when you do activate it, all you can do is hammer the attack button as fast as possible, rather than mix things up with different combos.

Mondo is armed with a gun, too, but disappointingly, using it switches to an over-the-shoulder viewpoint and reticle aiming; it functions much more as a secondary weapon, rather than something to slide smoothly into existing combos. The only time you make use of it is against irritating drones and snipers that you can't get up close and personal with, and those guys don't even make an appearance until much later in the game.

Most of the time you're fighting spritely bad guys armed with batons, hulking great beasts that charge towards you, and swift ninjas and samurai with impressive sword skills. And yet, despite their differences, the way you dispatch them is largely the same throughout: launch a few attacks, quickly dodge out of the way, and land a few more. This quickly becomes tiresome. Outside of a few doors to unlock and crates to smash, there's little variety to these levels either, so you're stuck running from A to B and watching a confusing cutscene at the end of them.

Side quests come in the form of challenges, such as having to fight your way up an elevator shaft filled with enemies or having to kill a massive beast without taking any damage. While many of these are unlocked as you complete standard missions, some of them require you to find the sultry-voiced, sexually charged, and disturbingly bouncy nurse Scarlett. And while the sight of her riding around on a phallic syringe is probably enough filth for one game, Gigolo missions go one step further. In these interludes, you're asked to woo potential partners in an oddly placed minigame, taking mental snapshots of (at least somewhat sensibly dressed) women and their bits to build up the guts to give them gifts and earn their love.

It's difficult to feel anything but seedy after these missions, and they sit uncomfortably alongside the otherwise dark, noir tone of the game. While you could skip them, you miss out on rewards like new attachments for your gun arm. These attachments aren't essential, but having the ability to freeze enemies, for example, does give you the upper hand during later missions, particularly if you're playing on the harder difficulty. Not that the game is all that challenging, but completing it does at least unlock an extra hard mode, along with more costumes and a few new powers.

That mode isn't enough to make you want to play through the game again, though, and the scoring system is inconsistent enough to render the online leaderboards largely irrelevant too. Truth be told, there's little here that makes Killer Is Dead relevant, unless you have a voyeuristic curiosity about Japanese games and culture: it simply can't hold its own against its far more entertaining contemporaries. It's too immature, too confusing, and far too unrefined to be anything more than a strange, mildly amusing distraction.

'
The Good
Striking visuals
The Bad
Hugely confusing story
Unrefined combat
Uncomfortably seedy in places
Some screen-tearing issues
5
Mediocre
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587 comments
good_sk8er7
good_sk8er7

I disagree with everything in this review. I love this game and recommend it to everyone. I am honestly flabbergasted by this review.

Oh and also, can you guys keep your social/political opinions out of your reviews? This is a gaming website about games and your opinion on such issues has literally nothing to do with my decision to purchase something. Seriously it's unprofessional, try to be a little more objective.

good_sk8er7
good_sk8er7

I disagree completely with this review. KID is a great game. The story might be hard to follow, but it's there, just not spoon fed. The combat is spectacular, especially on the two higher difficulties. As far as presentation goes I would consider this game a work of art. I don't understand how anyone could knowingly choose to play a suda51 game and be upset by half naked women, gore and the like. That's just kinda his thing. Why the balls are people so easily offended these days? An artist has the right to freedom of expression. I promise, someday we won't have freedom of speech or expression anymore because everyone is so obsessed with being PC.

Honestly I love KID. I was actually really surprised how much I liked it. This has become one of my favorites. Bought it a couple weeks ago from amazon. They still had launch copies with the art book and soundtrack. If you can get a hold of this package I highly recommend it. It's definitely worth it.

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

To start, how is combat unrefined? I pulled off everything I wanted with ease... only times I died was when I was either unaware or got a little greedy with the larger enemies, and some bosses while figuring them out. Only thing I could criticize about the combat was the lack of lock-on, but even then I was just fine with awareness, not being blind and owning a pair of hands.


In regards to "uncomfortably seedy, first... LOL. Second, you should know what you're going into with a Suda51 game. Its got skimpy clothing, blood/gore, and sex scenes. No more than your usual GTA game, something you chose as one of your top ten games of 2013. Is it just a certain KIND of seediness that you disagree with? Or, does it pan out just fine in a big blockbuster title like GTAIV, but not something like Killer Is Dead?


Honestly, Mark Walton, I can't even take your opinion seriously... its quite obvious how you like your action games considering you gave DmC: Devil May Cry an 8, versus KID a 5 - easy, button mash to win, little to no sexual content and a predictable story presented to you on a silver platter.


Sad that GameSpot only seems to enjoy CoD, GTA, AC and other cookie cutter games, as well as the easy ones like DmC.

dogwitch1
dogwitch1

love the dev studio but tried to play no more heroes on ps3 and was awful. only game i never like from dev

jesot
jesot

"I don't like anime, so this game sucks" -professional game reviewer.

Holy cripes, man.  If it's not CoD, AC, or GTA, Gamespot just doesn't know what to do anymore.  What's wrong with having some completely out there and fucked up shit in a game?  The game, visually, looks like it should have that sort of thing.  It looks and sounds like it's a really well-put-together piece of media.  I just can't trust this review.

Securator
Securator

Hmph...The reviewer probably didnt take into account that some games are meant to be played only after you're stoned...if there was a list of great 'high' games, this would right there on the top with every wwe or suda51 game made....

jleek1992xx
jleek1992xx

I was considering buying this Game but from what it seems i will leave it thank you.

finalfantasy94
finalfantasy94

wow my opinion greatly differs from this dude. Also the whole gigolo thing isint as bad imo. If you seen any japan media like anime its something your just use to and just got a chuckle out of me cause how silly it is.

Glongold
Glongold

Only saw gameplay footage but the action looks dead on. Sounds like this game has a weak story but if its enough to get you into the doing satisfying kills then it can't be that bad. Could be an enjoyable 7/10.

GregoryBastards
GregoryBastards

Goddammit all these gamespot reviewers are sounding the same now.

Games like these and people like suda51 are the only things saving the games from becoming an interactive version of Hollywood.

We need eccentrecity or in five years are controllers would just be guns.

rnswlf
rnswlf

Hey how about Suda's new game LILY BERGAMO. Badass powerful female lead all the way. 

diablonn
diablonn

Such high hopes...might still play it tho

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

For those of you who are defending this game's weak storyline on the basis that GS doesn't get Suda's artistic expression, you're wrong. Suda never intended to make KID into a Weaboo eroticism. KID originally was supposed to have a clean deep story of Mondo being a family man surviving to protect them but Suda's boss ordered him to sexualize and add gigolo to the game and as a result fucked up the story and the game's original vision. With this fact GS is correct at pointing out that it's story not making sense and gigolo mode because it was actually shoehorned in.

http://youtu.be/ugR504ntN2U

SirBullworth
SirBullworth

I  beat Killer is dead around 2:18pm today and saw my state's total play time 32:56:56 rewards $36,892,353 their are some boss's you would think to be hard but are really easy even the last boss was love the theme song they played from the trailer I actually really enjoyed the game  might not be everyones cup of tea but give it a chance weather when the price drops or in a month or two


ILuvGameSpot123
ILuvGameSpot123

I won't judge Gamespot for the review because I've never played this game so I can't guarantee its quality, but since there's been a lot of Gamespot reviews that judged the Suda51 games as mediocre to straight up bad, I can't help but think these people aren't the target demographic, and tbh I think GS is having trouble recognizing a good game when it's not made for them. E.g. Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw were two really niche tongue-in-cheek games, but it's easy to dislike a game when you're just missing the point (although they gave SotD a 7,5, I'll give them that). Anyways, I'd say the reviews of Suda51 games on this website are wildly based upon the things they don't really get, and judging by the amount of people claiming the game's really good IF YOU'RE INTO IT (mark my words), I guess I could easily be right.

mathi4s
mathi4s

This is a great example of how hard it is to make a review sometimes and how every review is subjective in some way. This game is quirky and some people like it and some don't. Well, offcourse the makers aimed for quirky. No doubt about it. But, is it now really a reason praise the game? I mean, a developer studio could aim for contraproductive goals like ugly graphics or bad story and such things. Should we praise their game, then when they meet their goals? It's a question that is not so easily answerable. It depends on the reviewer. If he doesn't like the game then he doesn't like it. Being quirky is not gameplay, graphics, story, sorytelling or other officially accepted "measurable" components of a game. So its value/negative_value is very much open for interpretation.

Warsilver
Warsilver

This game actually sucks though, I really don't understand why people are trying to defend it...

mkraush
mkraush

You can't expect the plebs at any major review site to appreciate Suda51.  These are the people that think Bioshock and GTA4 are absolutely incredible games.  

TheQing
TheQing

Article I wrote on how eroticism and murder intertwine and clash in Killer is Dead, producing a complex, if understated experience:

http://globegander.tumblr.com/post/5...in-grasshopper

I wrote this essay some time ago in early August based on my experiences with the import version of the game. Originally, I simply wished to explore some its overall themes albeit in a rather comprehensive and lengthy fashion. However, set within the context of being released so closely and concerning subject matter of considerable consternation to the less favorable reviews of Killer Is Dead, it has incidentally become, with little to no alteration to the original material, a defense of the game's creative and structural decisions. To summarize, it explores the thematic significance of the Gigolo Missions, how they help establish Mondo's character arc, and the manner in which the game's story isn't so much simple as it is understated.

These are the impressions and conclusions I drew from playing the game and hopefully it provides an intriguing and fresh perspective on it for you apart from the more cynical criticisms out there.

Kratier
Kratier

next time you see an attractive male portrayed in a video game you should call it sleazy as well. unless you know, you're a hypocrite

GasFeelGood
GasFeelGood

I was under the impression that i was supposed to be reading a professional review, but all i see is a review that swims more in subjective opinions rather try to be objective.


Your interpretation on sexism is irrelevant  mr. Mark and is an opinion, your political opinions you keep to yourself and outside of video game reviews. There are blogs for such things. Personally i don't see how sexualization of  characters makes it as if people hate women or are discriminatory against them, that is more of an assumption and a very fallacious opinion and so is the OPINION that objectification is inherently bad and inherently leads to hating women. It is stupid from my point of view and forced binary thought.

People can sexualize characters and write them well as the same time. How characters are written is what matters rather than their looks.

If anyone ends up looking sexist here it is you mr. Mark for assuming that people can't see beyond ass and breasts or that these stand in the way of personality, character, writing, etc.

  Saying something is sexism from an aesthetic point of view is a fallacy and idiotic.


Atalalama
Atalalama

Gee, what next, Game Splot?  Gonna go back in time and start down-rating No More Heroes, Bayonetta, and every other game ever made that includes females in a 'genderless' light?  Did you even PLAY the Gigolo Missions?  They are parody & comedic by nature and design, NOT intended to be "zOMG SEX HIDE THE CHILDREN AND GRAB YER SHOTGUNS NO WAIT THEY'RE TOO PHALLIC!!!"

It's gotten to the point anymore that ANY time a "professional game reviewer" (ie: Panders to what's Socially Fashionable of The Hour, Blathers Gender-Fascism, and/or Comes with a Creamy Undercoating of Purityranical Tropes) slams a game for "degrading women" in some imaginary way, I go out and buy it.

I can HARDLY wait to see GS's review of Grand Theft Auto V, giving the games less than an 7.0/10 for treating women as nothing more than sex objects in degrading and demeaning ways.  Oh wait, you won't.  After all, Saints Row IV is far worse in the "misogyny" department than Killer is Dead, but not ONCE did misogyny come up in that review.

Double standard much?  Or do you just know where your extra pay is coming from to bite that hand?

Jackanapes.

By the way, here's how Rockstar treats women in GTAV: http://www.clinicadelplay.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Grand-Theft-Auto-V-Golf.jpg

How ya gonna defend that one, Game Splot?  It's suddenly "ironic and comedic", or "an integral aspect to the story/narrative?"  I'm gonna need something greater than hup-waders is you do, cause that $@*% would be WAY too deep.

Drilbit777
Drilbit777

Hmmm maybe I'll just wait for a price drop. 

psuedospike
psuedospike

Looks like someone is pandering to his girlfriend...

Fooforaw
Fooforaw

Friendly reminder that there is sexual humor,

and then there's pornography.

Learn the difference, people.

VoidSECT
VoidSECT

Well i decided to risk it and bought the game, so far i'm having  a blast seriously, art style, music and sound effects are GREAT, gameplay have some flaws but nothing  game breaking...i strongly recommend this game if you liked No More Heroes and Shadow of the Damned.

HandslikeSand
HandslikeSand

Killer is Dead is pretty bad. It's made up of the worst parts from Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw.The H.U.D. and combat for starters, but I do give it some credit for being pretty with its visuals until the camera becomes garbage during battle.

rnswlf
rnswlf

And hey marky mark...since when is a game too "seedy"? You sound really stupid making a statement like that. You've given high scores to games that feature some of the most wanton violence available throughout the medium...but a few scantily clad dressed women make you cringe? You're a jackass.

SirBullworth
SirBullworth

I got this game for ps3 at eb-games on  it's launch date Aug, 27 what I can say about it is the execution controls are  crappy when your told to press R1 and square they don't  show you if you have to press both at the same time or hold square then press R1 this has made be have to re fight   bosses just as their about to die at least 6 times or more until the buttons response the right way + the shooting should have a lock on system for ur arm oh and the screen does not shake when u use your sword.

Thorgallll
Thorgallll

No this game doesnt rock at all. I am a big Suda fan, but after Lollypop this game is another weak presentation. A  6 would be fine too but I understand the 5 it got, I got some bugs too. I bought a costume. 10 milion bucks. And no costume...

dani3po
dani3po

@Drkr_Zen Sexual content has nothing to do with misogyny, women like sex too. Whoever wrote the review is not complaining that there is sex in the game, but that is presented in a creepy and sexist way and makes the player  some kind of pervert.

And DMC is far better than KID, in fact it has 85 in Metacritic, KID has 64.

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

@GregoryBastards  GameSpot is probably fine with that... if everything was CoD, they'd just throw out 9s and 10s everywhere.

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

@Kiaininja  I'm still fine with how it turned out, honestly. Some of us, like our stories served to us on a silver platter, some of us don't care as long as the combat is good. 


And, that right there, is one of the main reasons for action games declining in quality over the years... too much demand for an RPG-caliber story. Its why Revengeance, anything Grasshopper/Suda51, among other things, like Asura's Wrath, are so panned by critics. 


And, we end up getting games like DmC in its place, where DMC used to be so good 'cuz it focused on gameplay. 


That's why I think developers like Platinum Games, Grasshopper, and a few others, are top tier in my book. They focus more on gameplay than story... which is what an action game is all about - action. 

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

@ILuvGameSpot123  Well, if its anything to go by... Mark Walton gave Killer is Dead a 5, versus DmC: Devil May Cry an 8. So, its pretty obvious where HIS targeted demographic is - easy action game with predictable story.

jesot
jesot

@mathi4s  GameSpot reviews lately are completely subjective, though.  There used to be standards of objectivity.


It just comes off as someone who doesn't like anime being assigned a really "out-there" anime.

jesot
jesot

@Warsilver  I don't think people are defending the game as much as they're criticizing the way it was reviewed.  With complete prejudice against a genre.  He just goes on and on about how the story wasn't normal.  He spent the whole time complaining about how ridiculous the game was when that seems like the whole point of the game is to be a ridiculous anime-style experience.

The perspective of the reviewer and lack of objectivity is what I see people lashing out at.

GasFeelGood
GasFeelGood

@Warsilver Defending a game and calling out a reviewer on doing a crap job are 2 different things.

People are tired of seeing Internet Feminists forcing opinions as facts and pushing the politicizing of what is imaginary entertainment. This has turned into a cult and this crap operates like organized religion now.

We want to play games and discuss games, not pseudo-intellectual philosophizing political and social crap that has no significance whatsoever.

There is no place for subjective political opinion in professional reviews.

rnswlf
rnswlf

@SirBullworth Uhhh figure it out? It's press and hold R1...then press square. You can also choose your target with the joystick while holding R1 before pressing square...works just fine! Also, all you have to do is be at the right distance from a boss when the R1 execution prompt comes up for it to work...it makes perfect sense.

rnswlf
rnswlf

@Thorgallll Suda barely had any involvement with "Lollypop" ( it's spelled Lollipop) compared to his other games. I didn't like it either. And if you play the side mission Weight Limit on hard, you can earn a million dollars per turn, at only about 3 minutes per round...so not that big a deal.

KillaShinobi
KillaShinobi

@GasFeelGood They are like Nazis except not intelligent enough to get everyone in on their cause but surely misguided.

KillaShinobi
KillaShinobi

@psuedospike @Warsilver It does indeed suck, suda51's worst in fact but it doesn't suck as much as people are making it seem. It is a fun game, sure there are a few technical issues but not enough to stop you from playing, the story is "confusing" because you have to pay attention and be open minded, a game shouldn't lose points because the person playing it is brain dead, it may be an unrefined work of art but it is a work of art none the less and there is a good amount of content despite the short main story.  The game deserves a 7/10 AT LEAST

SirBullworth
SirBullworth

@rnswlfI just fought a boss on episode 11 I had to make sure the blood was full for those buttons to work newbie mistake on my part I've enjoyed the experience now that I know what to do thanks for ur comment. 

rnswlf
rnswlf

@SirBullworth @rnswlf No problem, and I didn't mean to come off sounding rude. Right, I also should have mentioned that you need at least 1 bar full to initiate the R1 moves.

Killer Is Dead More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    Killer Is Dead is a title from the demented mind of celebrated game creator, SUDA51, serving as a spiritual successor to his previous cult favorites, No More Heroes and Killer 7.
    7.1
    Average User RatingOut of 138 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Killer Is Dead
    Developed by:
    Grasshopper Manufacture
    Published by:
    Deep Silver, Xseed Games, Kadokawa Shoten
    Genres:
    Open-World, Adventure, Action, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes