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Review

Lollipop Chainsaw Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: June 18, 2012
  • PS3

Lollipop Chainsaw is cheery and obscene, but it doesn't hit its marks consistently enough to be more than a passing amusement.

Juliet isn't having the best birthday. Sure, she's a chirpy, fresh-faced, popular 18-year-old cheerleader with a perfect body and a loving family, but her handsomely chiseled boyfriend has turned into a zombie, and things just aren't looking up. But Juliet's nothing if not resourceful, so she does what any right-thinking teenager would: she cuts off his head with a chainsaw, performs a bit of black magic, and ties his still-sentient head around her waist.

Clearly, you aren't supposed to take Lollipop Chainsaw seriously. You play as the sucker-loving Juliet, who, like the rest of her family, happens to be a zombie hunter. As luck would have it, her hometown is having a bit of trouble with the undead, and it's up to her and her chainsaw to slice and dice her way through her high school, across a baseball field, and through other mundane locales rendered all askew by vibrant neon-colored graphics and a general disregard for social propriety.

Just how improper is Lollipop Chainsaw? The opening cutscene features a just-18 Juliet welcoming you to her bedroom while the camera lovingly caresses her bare torso. She complains that she's getting fat from sucking on too many lollipops, though she has a physique women of any age would envy. Later, a high school classmate, saved from a zombie attack, happily calls out that he'll pleasure himself to thoughts of Juliet that night; elsewhere, a zombie-fied football player growls that he'll--well--let's just say the activity involves Juliet's noggin lodged somewhere you don't expect a noggin to comfortably fit.

Meanwhile, the screen explodes with pink hearts, yellow stars, and a million other bedazzlements, amping up the "cheerleader" theme just as Lollipop Chainsaw amps up its "sexual imagery" theme. Cheery pop tunes like Toni Basil's "Mickey" and "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" from Dead or Alive brighten the tone, too. With such touches, the game makes a clear attempt to take the pure pandering of Onechanbara (another game about scantily clad zombie killers) and twist it into something cheeky rather than downright crude. The first hour, however, takes these themes to the limits without doing much to outright parody them, which can be mightily uncomfortable. Eye-opening remarks about Juliet's breasts and anorexia references have shock value, but many of these early "jokes" are hardly clever.

The best way to a classmate's heart is through his stomach. And spleen. And duodenum.

Lollipop Chainsaw remains tasteless from beginning to end, but eventually, "funny" joins "dirty," and the game dredges up some real wit. When Juliet's rock-and-roll dad enters the picture, he and bodyless boyfriend Nick exchange some playful banter; their dialogue might involve a certain use of Nick's tongue, but it has the familiar touch of a protective father grilling his daughter's beau. It's the clash of the absurd and the authentic that makes this silly scene so funny. Exchanges between Nick and Juliet about his head-only state also tend to be hysterical, because they contrast Nick's mournful attitude about the loss of his body with Juliet's perpetual optimism. Even if the sexual drivel makes you feel uncomfortable, pop culture references ("I got that Katy Perry song stuck in my head. What a terrible way to die!") and surreal exclamations ("It is fun! It almost helps me forget that all my friends are dead!") can get you giggling.

The erratic quality of the writing carries over into other design elements too, though let it be said that on a basic level, Lollipop Chainsaw is fun to play. Your basic attacks are a pom-pom pummel that can stun undead freaks, a slower-but-solid chainsaw slice, and a downthrust that carves up zombies crawling along the ground. These attacks--along with an overhead leap--can be combined in various ways, and you buy more combos with the currency that showers down on you like pennies from heaven during battle. On normal difficulty, Lollipop Chainsaw isn't that much of a challenge, and the combo system doesn't have the depth of, say, Bayonetta or Ninja Gaiden. But this isn't Dynasty Warriors with zombies, either: various enemies explode, toss volatile canisters, and generally make nuisances of themselves, so you can't just rely on your standard chainsaw move in every encounter.

According to Juliet, these sparkles come from 'awesome.' Indeed.

A simple combat system like this can fall into a rut, however. Lollipop Chainsaw doesn't entirely avoid repetition, but it does a commendable job of keeping it at bay in the later hours. Battles are broken up by any number of ridiculous moments: driving a combine over fields of creeps; sticking Nick's head on zombies and watching him dance as you perform a series of timed button presses; and shooting boulders from the top of a school bus with your powerhouse of a ranged weapon. One video game-themed chapter offers one surprise after another, playing with your expectations while mixing up the visual style in fun and vibrant ways.

The overall structure isn't so surprising: the game leads you down a set path, opening new doors when you kill the predetermined number of meanies and concluding chapters with foul-mouthed boss characters. These multistage boss fights are entertaining, though--long enough to keep you invested in the fight, but not so long as to get monotonous. Like the rest of the game, boss battles aren't that hard, but they keep you on the move. One such boss is a giant Viking with an electric axe. He splits in two, lower and upper body attacking separately; returns as a giant head that eats his own legs; and spews lasers at you from his mouth. (According to this demon's character bio, his hobbies include disemboweling, drinking blood, and balancing a ball on his nose.)

Study hall may never be the same.

And so Lollipop Chainsaw is enjoyable, but it isn't carefully assembled in the way of the best action games. The camera, for example, tends to get stuck in tight environments and doesn't move fluidly at even the best of times. Collision doesn't work properly; you can clearly make contact with an enemy yet do no damage, or do damage even when no clear contact is made. Quick-time events are often sloppy, the scene ending when the button press is still in progress, or the game not providing proper visual cues that one prompt has ended and the next (using the same button) has begun. Then there's the auto-aim on your ranged attachment, which annoyingly snaps to the closest enemy regardless of which way you might actually be facing.

There are other such foibles, a mix of loose details and awkwardly executed fundamental mechanics. They don't keep you from enjoying Lollipop Chainsaw, but there's no mistaking it for an action classic. Once you purchase a sizable repertoire of moves, you might have a shot at a good place on the online leaderboards. Actually, Lollipop Chainsaw is built for return visits: the game lasts for five hours or so, pushing you to chase high scores and buy enough combos to earn a fabulous end-level grade. If you do return, Juliet will be at your side, cheering you on while bemoaning her big fat butt. But like many strong personalities, she--like the whole of Lollipop Chainsaw--can grate your nerves. The game has lots of spunk, for sure, but it's ultimately no deeper than its vacuous star.

The Good
Some funny jokes and references
Frequent gameplay excursions mix up the pace
Fun boss battles
The Bad
Too often crude without being clever
Control and camera quirks
Combat lacks depth and finesse
6.5
Fair
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Discussion

2 comments
Rod90
Rod90

They couldn't have chosen a worst reviewer for this game.

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

I'm currently enjoying it. Flawed - yes; Fun - Hell yes!

AL-FIFI
AL-FIFI

حللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللللوه

Sisse1Player
Sisse1Player

I love this game, but i hate Zombie Baseball.

skrewler
skrewler

I agree with this review.  The game is pretty underwhelming.. I might have liked it when I was 14.

 

Coop would have really saved this game.  Too bad..

Jimbowesker
Jimbowesker

Why don't u guys give VanOrd a break everybody has games that they either really like or really dislike more than others despite what other people think about it. This is Van Ord's review why don't we leave it at! He didn't write this review to match what you guys think about the game. This is HIS thoughts. Just saying

ash162
ash162

s***w the reviews i m getting this..

ausgamer529
ausgamer529

I personaly loved this game and i anything it deserves a 7.5 or atmost a 8 

but from my perspective  one review of a game is not enough and that is why I perfer player writen reviews . 

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

dear GS......plllllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeee consider reviewing this game again....it deserves more than a 6.5.........

megakick
megakick

REVIEWS are BIAS. I look for technical issues.

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

dont believe the ratings.....this game is WAY more fun and much MUCH better than Shadows of the Damned, the last Suda 51 game.....get this one....u wont be disappointed....

Anthrizacks
Anthrizacks

Couldn't agree more, @kordy6 . So many games get slack for being repetitive, yet AAA titles that are WAY more repetitive (at least in my opinion) get high scores because of their esteem. Some examples of extremely repetitive games (where the repetition continues throughout the series, e.g. there is no development): Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, *Insert Rockstar game here,* Halo (one of my favorite series ever), Mario (again). Nearly every game that exists is technically asking you to do the same thing over and over again, it's simply a matter of what you prefer to be doing again and again, and I prefer this type of game (Lollipop) to most. But using "repetition" as a detractor is a cop out. It's prevalent throughout the entire industry.

kordy6
kordy6

my main point was i just cant believe the score that say a max payne gets (and yes i am a massive rockstar fan) compared to good competent games that absolutely get savaged.

so what i am saying is max payne 9/10??  when games such as sniper elitev2 and lollipop are just as good if not better and they get a poor rating.

is it because its a rockstar release and gamespot and other top sites dont want to offend..............  I SAY YES!!!!

 

P.S.  shalashaska88,  max payne is a competent made game, but i would rather have a game with a few little bugs that succeeds in a more varied and exciting gameplay than cover and shoot!!

 

 

adroge1
adroge1

When reading the "review" it read to me like a blog entry in many spots. I see lots of statements without any real backing, or evidence... and my experience is completely the opposite.

 

The camera for example, there is a button used to "lock on" to targets. I didn't personally have any camera problems in any tight spaces/corners of rooms, etc..., and to even mention this if it's not something you see on a regular basis I think is completely wrong. To me this sounds like he's looking for a reason not to like the game.

 

Collision detection a problem? I don't agree with this either. After playing the game twice, I haven't noticed this at all. I've had no problems hitting what I intended. One thing I have noticed is that with some down attacks, if the BLADE of the chainsaw doesn't hit the zombie, then the zombie doesn't get hurt. Is that what he means? If so, this is not something worth mentioning. This too sounds like he's looking for a reason not to like the game.

 

The game lacks depth and finesse? Seriously? Sounds like he didn't understand what type of game he's playing. What's he looking for 10 hit combos like Tekken, or 100 hit combos like SkullGirls? Zombies that take 20 hits to kill that will drag out each battle forever?

 

I had no problem with the writing, or humor either. I found it to be entertaining and funny throughout the whole game. People should have the sense to realize when a game isn't their cup of tea and step aside. You won't see me reviewing Disney movies.

 

/rant

 

I just don't think the review is accurate.

bonander
bonander

I can't really argue with the review, but I did get a kick out this game.  But then, I am at least 1/4 a perv.  I had pretty low expectations for this game so I didn't pre-order, but I did end up getting it at launch when I went to pick up Gravity Rush, and found out they only had 4 available for non-pre-orders.  I don't regret getting it at all.  It was way better than I thought it'd be.  The story, though ultra ridiculous, was also so incredibly funny.  I just loved Juliet (not in the pervy way... well, maybe a little).  She is such a fun protagonist.  Tara Strong did a fantastic job (as always).  But I do tend to love the bubbly-types ( I also liked Vanelle from FF13... sorry).  This is one of the few games where I play through again and again because I enjoyed the story so much.  The gameplay is okay.  It's a beat-em up, so it is what you'd expect.  Each stage does offer up something different to change up the repetition.  If you're a fan of B-movies and enjoy beat-em up's (and aren't offended by crude sexual humor) you'd probably enjoy this game.  Now after talking about it, I think I'm going to go play it again.

VintAge68
VintAge68

So only the soundtrack does good in this game? 6.5 seems still far too high considering the bad scores other fairly fair games get on GS...

Powerwalk
Powerwalk

I have noticed zombies have got super popular again out of the blue.

kordy6
kordy6

i understand the game might be a bit repetetive.

 

but xcan i ask one question?........how does one of the most over hyped underwhelming and REPETETIVE games of the year get a rating of 9/10.......YES max payne i am talking to you. sure... multiplayer may be cool but cover and shoot no way deserves a 9/10 on single player.

i agree.... no consistency!!!!

grokh
grokh

great game, I liked shadows of the damned  better . But both are great games worth getting.

kongii29
kongii29

The game is fun. I got the Platinum Trophy on Sunday, and it was worth the $45 that I paid for it. I do hope for some dlc content such as a new mode like an arena mode from God Hand. That would be sweet but If there are plans for a LC2 then that will not happen. SUDA51 and the other companies do not need to pay attention to the meta-critics. Keep doing what you do I've enjoyed all of SUDA51 and Grasshopper Manufacture games, and any other companies' games related to them.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

Sure is a lot of hate in some of these comments.

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

If you guys are complaining about Vanord not being the target audience, then why the hell did he give Catherine (a game that rocks me in all the wrong places) an 8.5? Some people are so stupid and obsessed with boobs and super sexualized chicks that they forget to do some research before posting butthurt things. You like the game? Go ahead. Don't justify your purchase by attacking the reviewer. 

sicness277
sicness277

It's comical to see people rip the reviewer claiming that he simply does not understand the game when this same reviewer praised No More Heroes. 

BloodMist
BloodMist

It's like a Britney Spears music video, fun to ogle at for about five minutes, before you realize there's absolutely no depth to be seen, heard, or experienced.That's the kind of game you get when that's all most people buy.

VKM7md
VKM7md

fuck u gamespot. you just compared some lollipop crap to gravity rush! I'm moving to IGN

Rioichi21Cooper
Rioichi21Cooper

This game is like marmite, you either love it or hate it guys. Plus isn't the guy who did this review not exactly the target audience??

digi-demon
digi-demon

Yet again a game mauled for the most obvious reasons.

Yet again a game is being reviewed by someone who isn't really the publishers target audience.  

Imo Mr VanOrd aught to stick to reviewing RPG's.

gix47
gix47

lol, so i get it now, Gamespot hates any game they deem sexy, so much for being neutral..

fun game,lots of laugh, very enjoyable,much better then Onechanbara imo. the game itself i will add plays a lot like No More Heros, as always now, just ignore the crappy review and buy the game.

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

Suda 51 is overrated. The reason why Shadows of The Damned was awesome was because of Mikami and Yamaoka's music. Next. Mikami's new game with Bethesda! Now that is something to get excited for.

Gusz2
Gusz2

nothing but the spected...

Outatomomega
Outatomomega

I was hoping this to be like Shadows of the Damned or No More Heroes, such a disappointment. 

FashionFreak
FashionFreak

Should have have been a $20 PSN/XBLA title.

CloudXentar
CloudXentar

It's a love it or hate it game. But let's be honest, the level of content just isn't worth the starting price.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

 @fanaticsm Hey now, there's no reason to insult Shadows of the Damned. Both games are pretty darn fun, and stand out in a sea of risk-averse titles.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

 @kordy6 As far as I could read the review doesn't say it's repetitive. Much to the contrary, it states "Frequent gameplay excursions mix up the pace" as one of its strengths. And I agree - this is by far the LEAST repetitive beat'em up I've played.

 

We get zombie basketball, zombie baseball, chainsaw dash (a sort of slalom circuit with the chainsaw), Nick Tickets, the parts where you must guide Nick in a headless zombie body using QTEs, the chainsaw blaster for some shooting fun, the whole stage on an arcade with four levels based on 80's classics, a plethora of zombie types (policemen, explosive, fire, fat, farmer, flying, using gas masks and so on, each with its own pattern and tactic), the part where you must kill zombies quickly to avoid total weight exceeding the limit, a couple of moments where you need to survive until a timer runs out, the parts where Juliet gets help from family members, the whole final stage, parts where you need to protect something from incoming zombies, parts where you need to cut the pillars down while exploding zombies come at you... I could go on and on. And all this on a game that can be finished in 7 to 9 hours.

 

Anyone who said this game is repetitive either didn't play it at all or is utterly incapable of discerning shit from chocolate. That's a fact. 

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

 @kordy6 Read the review. It's not just repetition. The controls are sluggish, there are camera problems, there is a lack of depth in the combat. At least Max Payne 3 mixes it up with incredible set pieces. And Even if repetition is strong in Max Payne 3, it is executed so well as the shooting mechanics feel great and it was presented really well. Lollipop Chainsaw's is mechanics are loose and feel like a chore at times. The raunchy jokes are inconsistent, sometimes witty, sometimes just plain crass and stupid. You want raunchy and witty in a game? Play Catherine. 

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

 @gix47 Uh dude, look at the Metacritic score. Seems to be the same across the board. And do remember that they gave Bayonetta, (a very sexy game in my opinion *ahem*), a freaking 9. Because it was awesome. The slightly raunchier Catherine, got a solid 8.5. It's not about a game being sexy, it's a game with sluggish mechanics. 

digi-demon
digi-demon

 @gix47 I tend to read the reviews on this site but its obvious 99% of the reviews are bought :P  

Kaiinel
Kaiinel

 @gix47 

>Too often crude without being clever 

>Control and camera quirks

>Combat lacks depth and finesse.

 

Those seem like valid reasons to me!

SlimeSwayze
SlimeSwayze

 @gix47 But the game doesn't appeal to me.  Suda 51 has simply gone downhill with every game he's made since Killer 7, and this game appears to be the most shallow title he's churned out so far.  That's cool if you like it, but keep in mind that some people have higher expectations and/pr standards. 

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

 @shalashaska88 Suda51 is one of the only directors that I make it a point to play everything he makes. So far, I've only been disappointed once -- No More Heroes 2. Lollipop Chainsaw is another fun and memorable game. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

sciafb
sciafb

 @Outatomomega It is like NMH, just different and more polished. This review sucks, play the game yourself

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

 @TomMcShea no insults....i liked Shadows of the Damned but i LOVED this one......Shadows of the Damned was waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too weird......this one is still in the boundaries of weirdness..... :P

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

 @shalashaska88 Anyone who says Catherine is "raunchy" automatically loses any credibility. That game is anything *but* "raunchy". Just because it's about a love triangle with a sexy blonde involved it doesn't mean it has any arousal-worthy content. Much to the contrary - it's a master piece on how to deal with mature content without being *raunchy* whatsoever. It's more of a horror story than a *raunchy* one.

 

gix47 is right, it only needs an addedum: GameSpot (and almost all journos) couldn't stand Lollipop Chainsaw because it's sexy in ways the politically correct mindset can't accept. Bayonetta received good scores *despite* this because it's a freaking beat'em up classic, gameplay honed to heights of perfection, and even then there are lots and lots of articles bashing its more outrageous, sexy content still. Lollipop Chainsaw just wasn't good enough so they couldn't ignore Juliet, but it is still good enough to merit more than 6.

 

Also, anyone who hates the politically correct mindset should play this game now. It flies in the face of all that bullshit, laughing hard at these PC idiots' expense.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

 @Kaiinel They would if they applied to this game.

 

The camera does have its moments, but nothing more than you'd find in pretty much any successful beat'em up in the market. Save for God of War ALL of them gave their moments where the camera doesn't help. As long as it's easy to fix these by moving a little to side or locking on a target, these are of no real concern. Lollipop is one of those cases. The camera never prevented me from doing what I wanted to.

 

I could go on and on about how many games on war scenarios are way more crude than this, but it's hopeless. The politically correct mindset is taking hold in the gaming field, and it prevented many people from noticing this game was made to push these very buttons, and hard. Juliet is a great 'fuck you' to shallow, misguided feminism (the kind that denies sexuality to women), and you can slay docile zombie animals for coins. I'm not surprised the game is being called 'crude'. That's it's intention, to root out the politically correct nazis and have a laugh at their naivete in life.

 

And the supposed lack of finesse is only true if you equate "depth" to "number of combos". God of War is a fantastic series, but from the second game onward it turned into a genre staple the idea that you should fill the game with a lot of combos the player won't ever need to use. Lollipop Chainsaw strikes a good middle ground. It's also directed at score attack gameplay, made to be replayed so you can keep unlocking combos and extras and chain them for more points. Its combat "lacks depth" in the same sense the Normal difficulty of Diablo III "lacks depth" - it was designed for you to breeze through and then play it again, this time for real and to discover what it can really do.

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

 @TomMcShea I politely disagree. I think he has cool weird bizarre ideas for his games, but the mechanics of his games just don't appeal to me, (even Killer 7, which I didn't like the whole rail style control scheme, which is unique and stylish to some, but cumbersome to me). 

y3ivan
y3ivan

 @sciafb more like a lesser perverted version of NMH. Maybe they should named it NMH: Highschool edition. The gameplay itself is rather familiar.

skrewler
skrewler

 @RealFabioSooner Who exactly are these politically correct people you speak of?  You're countering an argument nobody made.  Also, the game is being criticized as being unfunny not because it's raunchy/crude, but because it seriously wasn't funny (save for a few times), they didn't execute well.  And, dude, in todays standards, I wouldn't even consider Lollipop Chainsaw edgy.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

 @y3ivan Only on the surface. It actually uses a very different combat logic as NMH has blocking, counter-attacking and other stuff borrowed from more traditional beat'em up formulas. Lollipop Chainsaw focuses on the acrobatic abilities of Juliet, stunning the targets, leapfrogging them and jumping around to avoid the zombie horde's attack.

 

It's also WAY more polished then NMH in any aspect you want to look at it: better lock-on, more combos, more intuitive combat, better visuals, better cutscenes, more cohesive bosses and so on. Thanks to that it's a tad less insane, sure, but all coins have two sides...

Lollipop Chainsaw More Info

  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Lollipop Chainsaw is an all-new third person action game featuring a killer heroine with a chainsaw that fights to stop zombies from taking over.
    7.4
    Average User RatingOut of 587 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Lollipop Chainsaw
    Developed by:
    Grasshopper Manufacture
    Published by:
    Kadokawa Shoten, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
    Genres:
    Action
    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, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language