All the bizarre storytelling with a message can only go so far when shooting stuff doesn't feel great
Well playing through this game sure was something. I’m not really sure if it was a good playing game but it certainly has a ton of style. Along with a freaking crazy story that does make some sense by the end. It features the deadly Killer 7. Seven deadly killers than never fail a hit once they get a new job. Lead by the wheelchair bound Harman Smith their latest hit has to do with a terrorist organization named Heaven Smile. They turn their members into laughing demons that only have one goal to blow up anyone they see.
Upfront the main gimmick this game uses is the fact the player can turn into any member of the K7. Each of the Smiths has a ability that lets them overcome certain obstacles. For example Masked De Smith can use his luchador skills to smash or blow through any cracked walls. Which requires some constant switching later on in the game. Which breaks up the action a bit to much since I have to wait a while each time I change over to someone else.
Each character has a different weapon that can be used to wipe out all the heaven smile enemies. Most are different styles of pistols other than some knives and some grenade launchers. Being accurate is important since every enemy has a weak point that’ll offer up more blood that can then be used to upgrade one of the 7. The main way the game adds some variety is constantly introducing some new threat that will challenge your FPS skills.
Plus this isn’t your run of the mill FPS. When running around as one of the killers it is from a third person viewpoint. Stopping and pressing R1 goes into FPS mode. Movement is not possible and if you back out the only option is to run back the way you came. Since the entire game is on rails. It isn’t possible to travel down any paths that aren’t laid out for you. Not quite sure what they were thinking with that one but it is unique. Thus being accurate when shooting is super important. Maybe a bit to much later on during some of the boss battles that almost require more than what the PS2 controller can do. Trying to shoot a really fast foe is super annoying. Really made me wonder if I was enjoying playing this at the midpoint.
With the gameplay being kinda repetitive the main reason I kept going was the insane storyline. Between the crazy suicide demons and the US threatening to blow up Japan it is almost never boring. The choice to use cel shading makes the grim world look quite bright and colorful. Additionally use of unique animated cutscenes for certain levels made a lasting impression compared to the rest.
Yet a mix of the bizarre and the stylish only goes so far. By the time I got to the carnival section I was pretty close to putting down the game. Not that it was boring it just kept going on with no real change. All the minor puzzles are super simple so they don’t even break up the action any. Really makes me think this would have been a better anime than a game. So it isn’t really a game I can recommend playing. Unless your just a fan of Suda’s brand of storytelling. At least with No More Heroes I enjoyed the brawling sections in between boss fights. Yet here I was not a fan of the gameplay.