Review by Discomaster
Strange style, but definately in a good way
Capcom, for many years, have been one of the greatest video game developers in history, striking with the infamous Mega Man series which spans dozens of games by today, the at-first controversial Biohazard (Resident Evil) survival horror game, and many other games that by today are classic. And now in 2005, released on 7/7 (go figure) is the new classic Killer7. Though it might not be a game for everyone, those who will like it will really enjoy the artistic style in the graphics and the noir-style story line.
The gameplay features 7 different characters that are the personalities of a crippled old assassin named Harman Smith. 6 of the characters can be switched at any given time during the game, and each has it's own strengths weaknesses, as well as abilities that come at handy quite frequently. The other character, Garcian Smith, is the seventh personality, but maintains a more compromising position, since if one of your other characters happens to die, you can go back to the last safe room to switch to another character, but Garcian can collect the heads of his fallen comrades so they can be revived. However, if Garcian falls, it's game over. But Garcian can only be chosen to use from a safe room unless the gameplay dictates otherwise as in certain situations that pertain to the storyline. The controls are very intuitive and easy to learn. However, moving around is not a matter of moving the control stick in the direction you wish to walk in, but your character moves on rails. You press the A button to move, B button to turn around, and the control stick to select a path to follow at junctions. Whenever an enemy is nearby, you have to switch to first-person view and scan the area for enemies and take them out by striking their weak points. Critical hits give you blood that you can use to create serum that can power up your characters. However, in each level you can only get a certain amount of serum. The gameplay is pretty much unique in all aspects, which makes it all the more interesting.
The voice acting in Killer7 is very well done. Each character in the game has a voice to go with it's distinct personality (except for a few that don't talk at all) and are very suiting. However, any ghost-like people talk in a weird muffled-mumbling that can be a bit annoying at times, but still fit the mood and atmosphere. During the conversations with these people, subtitles are offered so you can make out what they're saying (which is more than reasonable since it's almost completely incoherent). When enemies are nearby, you'll hear laughter, which is very creepy and also adds to the atmosphere. All other sound effects are typical and proficient.
This is where the game truly shines. The graphics are cell-shaded, but in a way that is at a very high artistic point. There is some lack of detail in a lot of places, but it'd almost be hard to imagine the style pulled off so well if it had been overblown with full textures. Everything has a very appealing look to it, from the atmospheres, to the characters, to the blood effects from destroying enemies. In fact, the latter effect is so satisfying it can make you want to kill enemies just to see it. Very cool indeed.
Killer7 is a fairly long game, and has three different difficulties (2 at start, the hardest unlocked later) and while it doesn't feature much in the way of unlockables, the story is so twisted that you'll probably have to play it a few times to begin to understand it anyway. No to mention the game is a joy to play, even just to backtrack through your favorite levels just for the fun of it.
A game has to be entertaining and not so frustrating to be considered a good game. Killer7 is a fine example of this. Many things about Killer7 will entertain you, and it's not overly frustrating either. However, the graphical style and the noir-style storyline are what holds this game together, and these things aren't exactly mainstream. So if you happen to have an open mind for either of these kinds of things, you probably will enjoy Killer7. If not, there may be hope, but you're much better off to give it a rental. It is a bit of an acquired taste.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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