Killer 7 (GameCube) review
"Killer 7 is a game that I had my eye on since it was first announced. A highly stylized schizophrenic contract killer game from the guy who has had his hand in the better parts of the Resident Evil series? Yeah, it was always an exciting prospect. As development continued, it became apparent that the gameplay would be unconventional to say the least, and a lot of the gaming press got spooked and turned their backs on Killer 7 before even giving it a chance. As a reader of various publications th..."
Killer 7 is a game that I had my eye on since it was first announced. A highly stylized schizophrenic contract killer game from the guy who has had his hand in the better parts of the Resident Evil series? Yeah, it was always an exciting prospect. As development continued, it became apparent that the gameplay would be unconventional to say the least, and a lot of the gaming press got spooked and turned their backs on Killer 7 before even giving it a chance. As a reader of various publications that did just that, I was disheartened that Killer 7 may not have ended up being the masterpiece that it promised to be from the get-go. However, I should have just considered that the gaming press at large consists of a bunch of worthless fuckwits that tend to fear the very innovation that they constantly beg for. When the game actually came out, reviews were thoroughly mixed. The journalists that hated the game had no problem making the gameplay sound horribly lame, while the folks who praised Killer 7 had immense difficulty making the gameplay sound appealing. The reason for this is because the gameplay structure in Killer 7 brings about a very unique and perhaps initially confusing form of control, but it is actually very simple. Some have said that it is too simple, while others have whined about how difficult it is to get used to. A popular insult to Killer 7 is that the control itself is a largely irrelevant tool that exists in order to progress the stylized story.
I could spend all night yapping on and on about other people's (seemingly uneducated) opinions, but now I will get to my own.
When I started playing Killer 7, I was a bit daunted by the brand new type of gameplay style. To put it as simply as possible, you run around on an invisible track and shoot stuff. When attempting to write about the game myself, I immediately see why it is so easy for the naysayers to naysay and for the praisers to sound like retards. Ultimately, the gameplay just has to be experienced firsthand in order for it to make complete sense. No review that I had read beforehand had properly illustrated to me how the game is actually played, so I won't waste much time trying to make sense of it now. What I will say is that once I got the hang of things, I found the game's controls to be quite graceful and very comfortable. If I wanted to nitpick, I'd bitch about the lack of interaction with background objects, but I really cannot find it in myself to hold that against this type of game.
I also won't try to explain the story, beyond the fact that it is almost intoxicating in its presentation and it was very entertaining for me from beginning to end. Check your reality at the door and just dive in.
I was also very fond of the sound, most prominently the music and voice talent. The music ranges from industrial to classical to just plain undefinable, and the voices of the characters range from acceptable to downright impressive. Veteran voice artist Cam Clarke was my personal favorite voice in the game. You can tell that he really had fun with his character...
One rather questionable area of Killer 7 is the puzzles. Some of them are borderline brilliant (but never in a difficult way, unfortunately), others are pretty standard fare, and yet others just make you shrug and wonder what the point was. You obtain a new ring in each chapter, and the rings are generally used for very simple puzzles. I hesitate to call equipping the fire ring to light a candle a puzzle, but that is the kind of simple gamefiller that I refer to in the latter case of puzzle descriptions. There is one puzzle that requires you to fill a toilet with water from a sprinkler system so that you can flush the toilet and retrieve a crucial item from the lower floor of the building. Completely simple stuff (you trigger the sprinkler with the.... dum dum dum... fire ring), but somehow fucking intriguing. Upon further thought, I'd say that puzzles don't really get any more complicated than that, but they often get even more interesting in literal content. In other words, don't expect to hurt your brain trying to figure things out, but you may just be entertained by the rather unique methods of level progression.
As much as I adore the story and the general presentation, there are quite a few cases of clunky narrative. Some scenes end really abruptly or at awkward points in the dialogue, and there are times when event progression is not very thorough and gets a bit disjointed. All of this did not really detract from the ultimate experience for me, but there were definitely a few times when I found myself wishing for more of certain scenes and perhaps just a tad less of others.
While writing this review, I have secretly loathed getting to a point where I have to talk about the graphics. That seems to be the first thing any "proper" reviewer has done in describing Killer 7, but I didn't find the look of the game to be all that noteworthy. I mean, it looks fine and all, but I am well beyond the point where cellshaded graphics conjur a rise in my pants, and although the stylized feel of the game indeed is largely due to the graphics, I didn't spend a lot of time drooling over the look of the characters but rather what they were doing on the screen. In short: the graphics are good.
All in all, I loved Killer 7 and I will no doubt play through it at least a few more times during the span of my existence, partly thanks to the slightly adjusted unlockable version of the main game, appropriately called "Killer 8".
PS: The GameCube version has significantly faster loading times than the PS2 version.
Community review by atra_vortex (January 12, 2006)
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