Review by Xeo

Reviewed: 07/12/05

Capcom scores a critical shot with Killer7

Killer7 has been on the radar for a good few years now. When you initially hear of it, you don't really know what to think or expect. When word came in of how the game actually played out, it turned a chunk of gamers away with it's unique movement mechanics, and complicated plot. However if one could look deeper, and keep an open mind, they just might end up finding one very special game. The last of the Capcom 5, which ended up being shortened to the Capcom 4. A handful of games that were originally supposed to be exclusively for the Nintendo Gamecube. Well a lot's changed since that whole thing first came around, but here's the last of the handful regardless. And at the heels of Resident Evil 4 it would have been a tough spot to fit into. But Capcom has succeeded in my eyes. And maybe after reading this, and playing it for yourself you'll agree.

Gameplay:
The meat of the game, and one of it's best features, but also one of it's worst, depending on the judge. Gameplay is rather unique in this game, and comparing it to any other genre is actually difficult to do. At it's core it's a shooter, but also an adventure game, even with a few RPG elements. But that's not what's important, what is, is how these things all work together. The biggest turn off for some gamers initially was the mentioning of the "On Rails" movement controls. While this description is somewhat accurate, it's also actually not. Your movement is limited to a set path, which you hold a single button to proceed through.

However unlike other games with movement handled in this manner you aren't limited to movement only as the computer takes you. Instead you hold the A button to run forward along your path, but you are able to stop fully, simply by releasing the button. As well as being able to turn around to back track with the press of the B button. This in itself automatically gives more freedom than a standard "On Rails" movement scheme. And of course there are branching paths, which you take with the flick of the analog stick in the direction of the choice indicated on screen.

While this all sounds fairly simple, it actually plays out well, and makes the confused wandering of fully 3D movement obsolete. It works very well to the games benefit. Now the shooting, the most fun, and most interactive part of the gameplay. By holding the R trigger you bring up your characters projectile weapon of choice and go into a first person aiming mode. Here you are able to aim your weapon freely and unleash an attack via the A button. Also fairly simple sounding at first, but ultimately satisfying.

Your enemies are strange monster like creatures that are essentially invisible to the naked eye. But with the help of a ring that your chief, Garcian wields, you are able to scan your surroundings to make these beings visible. When in first person view, a click of the L trigger will make an area scan. once your enemies are visible you can put them down. Dropping enemies earns you two types of blood, Thick and Thin. Thick blood used to upgrade each of your characters stats, ranging from attacking power to attacking speed and more. And the Thin blood has a few purposes, one of which is to heal a wounded character, and the other to use the character's unique abilities, for example, Dan Smiths charged shot.
You'll learn early on that not only does nailing an enemy's critical spot take them out quickly, but it also nets a decent chunk of blood to be gained.

Overtime you'll gain new abilities for characters after leveling them up, making the dispatching of your enemies that much easier. The combat in this game is handled well, with the controls spot on. It hardly ever feels forced, or like a chore. You'll take satisfaction in cutting down a group of foes as they come dangerously close to exploding in your face. Overall, although odd at first, with time the controls and overall gameplay flow work very well in this game, and become a very enjoyable experience.

Story:
Most especially from the outset of the game the story will seem so abstract you'll most likely not even try to understand it. But there certainly is a story here, and it's a rather complex one, leaving a lot of questions unanswered even at it's conclusion. In 1998 peace was brought across the globe. As the years passed, the great powers of the world began to pursue activities in keeping this peace. Suppressing terrorism, knocking out most all forms of war bringing materials and activities. By 2003 nuclear energy was banned, all radioactive materials were disposed of and all intercontinental missiles were eliminated. Nearly every threat to the worlds newfound peace were removed. An act of terrorism however disrupted this plan. With a new evil beginning to rear it's ugly head, the great powers called upon the Killer7. A group of assassins capable of eliminating this new threat to the world, now known as Heaven smile.

This is of course were you come in, controlling the members of the Killer7. And this is actually this title's best feature in my opinion. These seven individuals that make up your team each feel unique and special, and each have their part in moving this story along.

Graphics & Sound:
Rather you truly appreciate them or not, there's no denying from the outset that this game screams style. It uses a cel shading engine that brings it's world and unique characters to life. Style is abundant, from the rendering of these characters and their world to the way they themselves move and attack. The graphics don't initially come off as superb, but add style to every new locale.

Sounds are equally impressive, from the characters one liners, to the insane cackle signifying that a Heaven Smile is around you. Gunshots do there part well, sounding realistic enough. The voice acting here is simply top notch. And though most of the dialogue from NPCs is spoken in an odd gibberish, when characters do actually speak their lines are delivered professionally. Never sounding forced, and almost always fitting to the character who is speaking them. The music is also a nice touch, it's refreshingly unique and always sets the appropriate mood for the locale they're playing in. Overall the graphical aspects as well as sounds do more than shine in Killer7.

Playtime & Replayability:
As with most any game average play time will of course vary. But the estimated length of Killer7 is around 10-20 hours roughly, usually somewhere in between. The game does span two discs, and is by no means short. Though not long, you'll still get a solid session from the game. You can unlock an additional mode after completing the game, Killer8 mode. And there are a couple of ending, two I believe. Of course there are also multiple difficulty settings. I feel most people that enjoy the game enough to finish it once will probably still enjoy it for a bit afterwards, especially in playing through the unlocked Killer8 mode. Although not overflowing with replay value, the game does still offer a decent amount of it.

Final Verdict:
As mentioned before, so long as you know what you're getting into, and keep an open mind you would probably enjoy Killer7. It has however been called a "love it or hate it" game. And that fact is mostly true. You'll either enjoy this game, or simply not. There most likely won't be much of an in between opinion here. But for what it's worth, it's a truly unique experience than does many things right. I feel justified in saying the game is easily worth a purchase. But if nothing else at least a rental to experience what it has to offer. It's certainly a refreshing taste that stands to be very satisfying if you can get into it. I'd like to personally recommend the game to anyone wanting something cool, and unique. You most likely won't be disappointed.
I give Killer7 a well deserving 10/10.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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