Review by Killer7Ambience

Reviewed: 11/14/05

Killer7 - Sheer Brilliance, Start to Finish


When I first read about Killer7, the reviews made the game sound like a fluke. Not being able to move freely? Impossible-to-understand plot? Linear gameplay? Well, it takes one to know one. I watched the videos for this game, looked at screens and read a little more about this game before I knew I had to have it. From first sight, it looked like the best shooter since Perfect Dark, but after playing it, I can tell you, it is the best shooter since Goldeneye 007.

Capcom redefined what a shooter has come to be with this game. Switching between seven different personas, each with their own key characteristics is something neither many nor I have ever done before. Having predefined routes is something I know nobody has done before. You ask, “How could a game possibly be worthwhile if you can’t even run freely?” Heh, genuine question; I’d love to explain it to you. It all relates back to the innovation Capcom is bringing to the video game world. This is Killer7. This is incredibility at its best.

Killer7’s plot begins easily understandable, that is, until you play it. Then you’ll start your flurry of questions, believe me. The world (yes, believe it or not, this game actually takes place on Earth) is at peace, with all terror threats at bay. But, as most games would prefer to have it, that does not last. A clan of reappearing zombie-like creatures is creating chaos all over and has intention to corrupt the United Nations Peace Organization. These creatures, oddly enough names heaven smiles, are the kind you see in your nightmares. These are the evil people you’ve feared about as a child. These are the enemies that you have always imagined coming from the sky and abducting human kind. Their bodies are lined with bombs, and they let out a nauseating cry…or laugh…yes…better defined as a laugh. They come in all different kinds, and even reappear soon after they die. Who can stop them?

The United States calls on a deadly gang called the Killer7. There are eight people in all…or are there? Killer7 is actually run by only one person, Harman Smith, a broken down, rickety old man in a wheel chair. What could this old bat possibly do to save the world from the heaven smiles? This man, despite his outer weakness, possessed incredible power and mind strength. He has the power to control seven simulated personas all from the same blood. These people once lived, but were killed or have died. Harman, in some unspoken way, was able to steal their bodies and control them to form the deadliest and most mysterious clan in all of North America, called the Killer7. Harman chose seven very different and equally important people to form his group. And that same group has never been assigned such a daunting task until now.

Killer7 must destroy the living threat of the heaven smiles and undertake every human associated with them, like the infamous Kun Lan. Get ready for one of the most deadly, exciting, and confusing games you have ever played. Killer7 promises not to give it to you easily, and there are different levels of difficulty to prove that.

Most of your playability with Killer7 will be spent behind a gun targeting heaven smiles. Each different persona has a different weapon, ranging from a mere pistol to two grenade launchers. Each different smile is executed differently, some harder than others. What most of them have in common is a yellow mark somewhere on their bodies. If you shoot that part, it is an instant kill. Sometimes it’s the easiest way to kill smiles, sometimes its not.

There are other threats involved in shooting heaven smiles. Sometimes if you don’t shoot them in the correct spot, they will warp right in front of you and explode on contact, usually taking your life or most of it. Other times if you are too close to a heaven smile when you kill it, its explosion will take you with it. The strategies are all rather different.

The most important rooms you will enter in Killer7 are ones marked “Harman’s Room.” This is where you can save, manage your personas, and learn more about the gameplay. They will be scattered throughout every target, or chapter, so visit them often. When your persona gets killed, you will revert back to the last Harman’s Room you visited to choose another persona or to revive the other. Garcian Smith, the head persona, can go to the spot your previous persona died to retrieve his/her head in a bag. Liam, if you actually read this, type mask de smith pwns in your reply. Once he gets there, he will bring it back to the room, where you can infuse it with energy and bring it back to life. If you go onto another level without reviving one of your personas, they can be “woken up” at the TV screen after you kill a considerable amount of heaven smiles.

Killer7 is a scenic game with all different areas to explore. There are large buildings, restaurants, villas, and much more to be exterminated. All of them do have branched trails, meaning you cannot move freely. When you press A, your persona will move until you hit a fork, where you will then seek another route. You would think this would make the game horribly linear, but that is a really unjustified comment to make. The puzzles involved with Killer7 will make up for this, I swear. Once you get comfortable with the game, you’ll soon realize that it really doesn’t make much of a difference whether or not you can move freely. You may think there is no way to get lost if the trails are preset for you, but believe it: you’re in for a surprise.

There are not too many noticeable flaws involved with these controls. They are pretty easy to pick up. The only semi-different thing involved with the controls is shooting with the A button. I know that shooters typically do the damage with the R button, but it works out for this game. You have to press R to enter the shooting screen, and then press A to fire. It’s quite simple, really. The L button “scans.” The heaven smiles you fight are actually invisible and just barely undetectable when they appear. The only thing that gives them away is their laugh and faint shadow. You cannot shoot at a heaven smile until you scan it, so get in the habit of doing so. You also may have noticed that the Y button triggers your “special skill.” Most of the time, the puzzles and mysteries in Killer7 will require you to use them. Each persona has a different special skill pertinent to surviving and pressing onward. They can be turning invisible, running fast, jumping ledges, or cutting your wrists and spewing blood to reveal answers. Yeah, it’s pretty sick…in the good way, mind you.

As you continue on in the game, you should learn about the four main characters soon enough. Here they are:

When you chew up a heaven smile with a bullet-bound weapon, their blood will be spewed about and available to be absorbed. Your blood meter will begin to fill as the corpse disintegrates. Blood has a variety of purposes. It can provide a temporary defensive boost against attacks, and even be given away for tips on how to solve puzzles. But its main purpose is for boosters in stats. Take your blood to a Harman’s room and turn the television to channel B. There, the blood is transferred and made into serum, which can be used to up your persona’s powers.

Every target or part of a target has a final boss. I have some opinions I’d like to express about these battles, but that would make this review biased, so I am leaving them out. These battles are *cough* rather easy to beat. Usually it will just be a shootout involving timing or position of shot. Once the battle is completed, the part of the target will be complete, and you will be able to move. Majestic cutscenes will dazzle your eyes as a reward for beating the battle. These cutscenes can be gory or have something to do with the plot turning - usually both. Don’t skip them, as they are important to listen to.

Items are a must with this game. The most important items are the rings you can acquire. The rings possess the powers of different elements, and can help in key situations. Water, Stamina, and Time are just three of the many rings to be acquired. There are a lot of rings indeed, but they are all retrieved from one person…or…what was left of them. Her name is Suzie. The only part of her body she has left is her head. You will find Suzie in very strange places, such as a gas station, shelf, or treasure chest. She will tell you a sad story of her life, and then fork over the ring. She is not the only one moping in this game. You will meet a lot of human ghosts that talk about the terrors of the smiles and how you must defeat them. They pose no real significance to the plot, but it certainly adds to the tension.

With all the specifications aside, the big picture is that this gameplay will keep you hooked and interested as long as you allow it. It’s serious fun letting the plots unfold, ravel up, and unfold again solving puzzles and mysteries along the way. The controversy wrapped in this gameplay from all your favorite reviews is pure paranoia. I give the gameplay for Killer7 a 9.5/10.

If you were a little hostile when you experienced the gameplay, it’s understandable. But if you have any complaints toward the graphics, I’m sorry, but you’re a fool. When you first hear the words “cel shaded” you’re probably thinking about Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker. Well, move over Link, there’s a new boss in town. The graphics for Killer7 are just mind-boggling. Watching the cutscene animations is simply astounding. The screenshots you look at appear to be choppy, but aren’t all screens like that? You’re getting top-of-the-line quality with these graphics. That simply cannot be debated.

Cinematics are untouchable, but sometimes in the heat of battle players will notice poor graphics, with some effort, of course. Zooming in with Keade’s scope can reveal some of the imperfections associated with the graphics and sometimes panels on the wall and other things will appear choppy or bland. The camera views can also be a bother at times. You could enter a room dripping with heaven smiles and have the camera set backward toward you. It’s little things like that which can ruin the heat of battle for you. Other times you could be approaching a door with your joystick set in that direction and be ready to open it when the camera view changes and you end up taking a different route as a result. Most of the time camera views are set at ground level, behind or to the side of you, which I don’t necessarily agree with, but only adds to the complexity and difference this game has over others.

The graphics for Killer7 are just too hard to ignore. The style, crystal clear viewability and every other little detail which makes people used to standard games cry just dazzles me. I cannot recall ever playing a game with graphics anything like this. If you are at all disappointed with anything about this game, the graphics are not it. The perfection of the graphics reflects on the score. 10/10. Hands down.

As if this game could not be anymore different than the rest, there is more! The music for Killer7 is simply like no other. And I mean that; no other game has songs like this one does. Heck, no other track in the game sounds like another. The entire soundtrack has no symmetric value whatsoever. Traditional shooter music is like an action movie compacted onto a music disk: its jumpy, fast paced, and full throttle. Sure, it would be easy to think of those traits as the only way to have it for a shooter (especially one this bizarre), but you really have to listen in-depth to understand how well the music for Killer7 works. There is probably less than five tracks with a fast tempo or tense mood to it. Killer7 consists of techno, orchestra, angelic, rock, rhythmic, country and even pop. It’s very hard to understand why Grasshopper Manufacturers would take such a risk that could potentially ruin the game, but think about the game in general. How many risks have they already taken? It makes perfect sense.

The best equation I can think of concerning the music is compared to how heaven smiles laugh when they die. It’s the exact opposite of what you would expect from someone gushing blood/collapsing into a burning flame. The music is the exact opposite of what you would expect from a game this intense and deep. See? …wait, you don’t? Oh well, I tried.

The audio sound effects you’ll hear in this game are incredible. You may jump out of your seat right away when starting the game: when pressing start, your eyes will pop at the grimacing sound of a heaven smile’s devilish laugh. The sounds heaven smiles make are all the same, with different frequencies: ear piercingly high, subtle and normal, and Barry White low. These sounds are distributed about the smiles depending on their characteristics. Expect a low sound from a giant smile and Roseanne-singing-the-national-anthem-at-Dodger-Stadium-high sound from a smaller one (I really need to stop with these analogies.)

The other sound effects dominate their class as well. All the gun sounds are incredibly realistic and sounds like walking and opening doors are equally believable. The only sound I cannot associate with realism is Kevin’s knives, which sound more like a metal slingshot than anything. Be assured, however, that this sub genre of Killer7 may be the only one traditional in the entire game.

Whether or not the soundtrack is a musically interpretation of Die Hard, Killer7’s audio is extremely well harmonized. I can recommend this soundtrack to anyone open minded and looking for something unexpected. In other words: myself. The music reels a solid 9/10.

Seeing as I have not played Killer7 more than once, I wouldn’t be able to accurately tell you about the replay value. I would assume it’s rather low. Right now, I do not have much will or intent on playing it again, despite the open door which the hard mode offers. Hard mode showcases no hints, less life, and more killing: everything you need to succeed in life. You would probably have to enjoy the game to a freakish extent to have any drive to play this again, and I do not say that to be negative at all. And because I have not played Killer7 more than once to experience it, I will not rate the replay value.

Gameplay – 9.5/10

Graphics – 10/10

Audio – 9/10

Total (not an averaged number) 9.8

Closing Comments:

So as you can see, I was one of few that truly loved Killer7 and appreciated it for the outlandish spectacle. Never before have I ever seen a game so split in terms of opinion. You either love it or loathe it; there is no in-between. I am still wondering how this could be, but I’m beginning to think it’s just none of my business. Some people are too stubborn to see the inner beauty of the games they play. They expect every moment of the game to have an escape timer, blood, flashing lights and drama. I think what Capcom accomplished with this game was a big help in breaking the stereotype of shooter games. Unfortunately, people did not interpret what this game did to video games the way Capcom and myself did. Killer7 was a work of art. Buy this game tomorrow to experience it for yourself.

I usually get attached to the games I buy, seeing as I don’t get around to playing many in a year’s time. I don’t mean to say that I am biased toward every game I’ve played, but that maybe the total hype and attention I gave to this game was too much to handle. This may not be a bad thing. It took me an incredibly long time to beat this game, not because of its difficulty or anything like that, but because I am a very slow player. I never play a game for more than an hour at a time. This was definitely my personal game of the year so far. Last year, it was Paper Mario 2 which wowed me, and I have been patiently awaited that feeling of adrenaline to return to me. It did. Killer7 is a pure winner people, I urge you to play it and get lost in the ecstasy it delivers.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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