Killer is Dead Review

Over the past 20 years, Suda 51 has been known for making some of the industries most absurd, yet original games. From No More Heroes, that has us playing as Manchild Otaku, Travis Touchdown; as he makes his way up the assassination ranks with his katana-styled Lightsaber. All the way to the latest fan favorite, the stereotypical-blonde, cheerleading bombshell, Juliet Starling, in Lollypop Chainsaw. As we ‘celebrate’ her 18th Birthday by chainsaw-ing our way through hordes of zombies, to save the world from utter darkness. So how about the Killer is Dead, the latest original title in the Grasshopper Manufacture portfolio. Is Mondo Zappa the latest cosplayers dream, or just another ‘Garcia Hotspur’? If your asking who this is, exactly the point.

Killer is Dead has us playing as Mondo Zappa, a 35-year-old assassin who finds himself working for Brian Execution Firm, an undercover organization headed by the half-cyborg Brian Roses. The firm sends Zappa across the near-future earth, where space tourism and cybernetics are no longer unusual, and where Zappa is tasked with executing a series of criminals, which range from Kidnappers, all the way up to a giant. The story, like other Suda games can be a bit forgettable, with most of the story missions seeming like they having nothing to do with the main plot. Also as you get in further into the story, you will unlock side missions; these are usually set in areas from the story, that have you killing multiple enemies, either finding them from around a set area, to shooting so many waves of enemies, before they reach a certain point. These can be fun at times but is nothing special except that it gives you more opportunity to receive more money that lets you unlock revives, objects that help level up your health and energy bar, unlockable costumes that will come available once you complete certain requirements in the game, also presents that you can give to ‘beauties’ during gigolo missions.

The controls are quite simple, the square/ X button is your sword strikes, triangle/ Y button is your punch attack, circle/ B button is your guard and dodge and X/A button is you jump and action button. Your Leveling up system works in 2 ways, one is by collecting objects from creates, and enemies (wires), these will increase your health bar and Blood bar, the blood bar is your energy bar, which you will use when using your cybernetic weapons, or when your force everything to slow down by pressing the R1/ RB button. The other way is by upgrading your weapons and skills, these range from using blood to regain health, to improving your weapons and unlocking other sword skills that you might not even notice your doing half the time. So its not that difficult to control, but then when it comes to action/ hack and slash games, they are usually not that difficult to control.

The gameplay can be split in to 2 areas, the ‘Gigolo missions’ which we will get to later on, and the story and side missions, which like most games from the mind of Suda, will have you bashing the same button over and over again throughout most of the game. But if you actually sit back and learn some of the other controls, you will have ways to stun your enemies with your fists and a dodge system that rewards you well, giving you opportunities to continue your hit streak that will let you do visually fancier sword strikes, or if you dodge just at the last minute, the whole game seems to slow down and gives you a opportunity, not only do multiple hits on an enemy, but also lets you increase you hit streak even further. Though these do look brilliant, in the end it will seem like you will be doing the same thing over and over again. Which after a while it can get quite repetitive, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if best part of the game you will be fighting hordes of enemies.

But then there is your cybernetic hand that can be turned into one of 4 weapons, a drill, that you will more then likely only use to explore places behind walls that highlight that they can be broken, and 3 different guns, a rapid fire that you will use to clear annoying gun firing enemies from places you cannot reach with your sword, a power blast and a freeze blast that you might use once just to see what they do and then probably not use again, unless required to in Scarlett challenges. Also its not like it is difficult to get hold of these cybernetic add-ons, as it seemed that before the 4th chapter, you will have all the weapons.

Next we go to the ‘other’ half of the game, the gigolo missions, now if your not sure what these missions are, they are missions that will have you chatting and checking out a ‘beauty’ (this is the actual word they use in the game), giving you opportunity to what seems like, make love with them. To do this you have to get your guts up to a certain amount till you are indicated that you can give the beauty a gift. This is where your money you collect throughout your missions will be spent, as to get the opportunity to spend the night with these beauties. You need to buy presents for them, some will work better on one girl then the other, but in the end every item will increase the heart gauge at the bottom of the screen. So to increase your gut amount, you have to pretty much glare at one of 3 places on the beauty’s body, either the head/face, which will do nothing to creep her out, if anything it will also make her look away for a bit to give you opportunity to look at one of the other 2 areas of her body, her breasts and her legs,. These are the areas where you will obviously get most of your ‘guts’ from, but if the ‘beauty’ see you staring in either of these areas, the less interested she will be, lose her interest too much or you take too long to get her heart gauge to max, you fail and if you have given her a gift that will not be returned either.

These missions can be a bit awkward to play, not for how its controlled but more for what you are doing in the game, it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact this is where you get most of your cybernetic weapons, but if you are in it for the full ‘experience’ of these missions, then I would highly advise getting the Scarlett glasses from Scarlett, to get these it is simple, all you have to do is fill up your guts bar by completing some of her challenges. To get these challenges you first have to find her throughout the story, she is usually hiding in crates and objects, or behind walls, so if you can smash it, do smash it, not just for the challenges, but also for the fact she will refill your blood meter. So once you have a challenge, you will be given an amount of guts depending on how difficult the challenge is, once you reach 1000 guts, you will be given an opertunty to do a ‘Scarlett Challenge’. This is just a cut scene, that will make you realize that it is just another girl in the gigolo missions. So what is so special about these glasses? They will give you the ability to know what presents will fill the heart gauge up faster… oh and will show the beauty in her underwear.

The gigolo missions can be quite fun and is a great way to unwind from the constant button mashing from the rest of the game, but it can be a bit annoying, once you have successfully completed a gigolo mission, it will lock untillater on in the game, this will be notified by the ‘beauty’ tying to communicate to you either when your with the other beauty, or in the middle of a mission. It can be very distracting, and can ruin the flow of the gameplay at times as, when they communicate during a mission, Mondo stops from running around to walking at a steady pace. This may seem like a minor problem but, when you have done all 3 cut scene I that beauties mission, and all you want to do is complete the game. Last thing you want is her phoning you like some kind of stalker girlfriend.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The games is really fun and what there is of the story, though confusing at times, is funny. There is a few bad points to the game, like I wish there was more to do, either more missions, or even more beauties in the gigolo missions. Also, even with Scarlett’s Challenges and all the side missions, there is barely anything that will make you continue to play the game once you have completed the story and maybe all the cut scenes for each of the beauties in the game. If you are a fan of Suda 51’s work then it is a highly recommended buy, if you have never played any of Suda 51’s games, buy it if you like games like DmC or Bayonetta, though the game does not match them in quality, it is fun and worthy of having a go… just maybe not when your family is around, the Gigolo missions can get a bit adult rated without any nudity. Plus if you like the game then you have others out there worthy of playing too.

6.5/10

Payday 2 Review

Time to get the old gang back together and put on those creepy, yet familiar masks. as we get ready to play Payday 2, the newest chapter in Overkill’s Payday series. Just like the previous Payday, you play as one member of a 4-men team, taking on a mission from choice of a few different types, that can take from 1 to 7 virtual days. Your main mission, just like the first game is to gain as much money as you possibly can, with most of the money you earn from successful missions, going to you ‘overseas account’. Letting you have a small percentage of the money available to you to spend on upgrades, new mask designs that you can customize , also all the weapons and tools you use during your other heists.

So how does the game play? Well, just like the first Payday, single player mode does have a few problems. One in particular being that all the mission types you play with others online, are in single player. Now that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, until you realise that, though the AI players are good for helping you back up when you are down, they really leave you doing pretty much everything.

This is mainly noticeable when you are doing missions that have you steal a number of bags worth of jewels or money, with Online or offline multiplayer, you will have all 4 of you being able to help get the stolen goods to the van; single player will have you making several trips back and forth instead. It is kind of disappointing here since this was the main issue with the single player in Payday: the Heist, yet actually stepping back a bit from it, it seems to be less of a problem and more of a challenge that the game developers might of not purposely meant to put in the game.

As mentioned though, it is Multiplayer where the game shows its best moments, and as always, the game is only as good as the people your playing with. You have a map of the area you are in, with 10s of markers on the map, showing up and disappearing after a certain amount of time has passed by. Now there are a few things that don’t seem to be explained in the game. One being the dots underneath the game type you hover over. The white dots symbolize how many days that mission plays through, not (as I had thought) how difficult the game is. The difficulty is clearly written with the details of the mission, and also shows if there is anyone who has taken the heist yet, also how many are already there.

The graphics look beautiful outside in the streets, inside the buildings your robbing though look a bit bland, now it is understood that the gameplay makes up for most of the little problems, but it is hard not the notice the rushed design work in the building when your the one who is keeping an eye on the drill your using to break into a room or safe. But then again, with so much going on around you that seems to escalate the longer you take, it is still just one of those little issues that really don’t ruining the experience at all. Also with a better customization menus that also includes an option that lets you customize your mask, though this would of been a lot better if you could create your own mask and not use templates you unlock as you play through missions, also a card game at the end of a successful mission that lets you pick from 3 cards, these will give you either cash you can spend, mask customization parts or parts to modify your weapons.

Final Verdict

Payday 2 is a brilliant game that you can easily jump into for a quick match. Though the singleplayer can be seen as either a challenge or a bad use of AI, it is still a great game that you should pick up and will have a great online experience with friends.

7.5/10

 

Jack Keane 2 Review

In 2008, Deck 13 released it’s English Localized version of Jack Keane, a Point and Click PC game that even though came out during an era that the genre was on it’s last legs; still managed to get Critical Acclaim for it’s familiar gameplay and more importantly its relevant humor, that would still be understood to this day. So it wasn’t a surprise that, with the help of Nordic Games, Deck 13 would bring out a sequel to the Jack Keane Series, named Jack Keane: the fire within. So now with a bit of a fan base behind Jack Keane, has The Fire Within lived up to the praise the last gained, or is this just another One-hit wonder?

Jack Keane 2, has us start in Shanghai in the late 1800s, just before the turn of the century. We meet up with Jack who is imprisoned, with his cellmate, a Shaman who is teaching Jack the secrets of a mysterious treasure. With the help of old friends like the beautiful Amanda, and some new ones like the elegant city-lady Eve and the brilliant engineer Carl, we have our adventurers travel to places like Shanghai, Hamburg and Africa. In the search for the pieces of the key to the mysterious treasures within, while being tracked down by the greedy and conniving Dr. Umbati.

Well First, when it comes to point and click games, I was never a fan of them, that was until I played Jack Keane: the fire Within. Now it isn’t the gameplay that got my interest. Compared to other point and click games that I have played, there is better ones out there, the controls can be a little unresponsive at times, with moments in the game having me clicked the same object multiple times before there is an interaction with said object. Also there was many moments when I was wandering around with no idea what I was supposed to do next, a better indication system or a way for the player to get some idea of what they are supposed to do next could of helped. But then these were a few little issues that came across while playing. So what got me interested in this game, simply it was the humor and the story itself. From parodies of known moments in films and video games., to silly descriptions of objects that can be clicked on.

Final Thought

Now it is nice to see another great game in a classic genre that does definitely need something new, though unlike another recently released game of the same genre, that uses the aid of a popular brand of books that was turned into a highly popular tv series; It feels that Jack Keane 2 might be one of those gems that will be over looked. Not because of it being under advertised, but more to the fact that now-a-days, unique point and click adventure games are no where near as popular as other genres. But then, if there is ever any time when someone does want to play a game away from the main titles out there, I would recommend giving Jack Keane 2 a go, there might be a few tiny bugs but compared to how funny and absorbing the story is the game is worth a go.

7/10

Poker Night 2 Review

XBOX 360 VERSION USED TO REVIEW

 

Seems like it is time for another poker Night at the Inventory, this time bringing us 4 new players to the table from the world of TV, Games and Movies. We have Brock Samson from the Venture Bros. TV series; Ash Williams from the Army of Darkness movies; Sam from Sam and Max, with Max hanging around in the background; then there is the quirky, yet annoyingly adorable, Claptrap from the Borderlands series. But don’t worry these are not the only well-known characters in this game, we have Mad Moxxi working the bar and a special dealer for this version of Poker Night, from the Portal series, GLaDOS.

The game has 2 different games you can play, Texas hold ’em and Omaha, but then it’s not the game modes that attracts people to this game but the entertaining conversations the players, GLaDOS and other supporting characters have throughout the games, my favourite being the interaction of Claptrap flirting with GLaDOS. the bad point is after so long, conversations do start to repeat themselves, but then after playing for so long you would expect something like this to happen.

The game does have a few extra good points, mainly if you have Borderlands 2. Just like the first Poker Night, you can have the opportunities to win Bounty items from your opponents, if you complete certain tasks then win a tournament, but these items are not just rewards you get for in the game, but they have some special rewards, for example, if you have the xbox 360 version (the version this review is based on), you get not only an item for your Borderlands 2 character, but a special Avatar item aswell. But then you have to complete the 3 randomly selected goals first which can range from something as easy as coming in 4th or better in a tournament, to winning a showdown with 2 or more characters. This idea would have been a bit better if there was an option to let you randomise the goals again, especially when your stuck on a certain goal.

This takes me to the Inventory coins, that can be won by playing tournaments, if you win you get 100 of them, and if you don’t but are not first to go you get 20, first to go and you get 10. These can be used to unlock new card styles, chip styles and felt styles; all based on the 5 different series each of the characters are from, Borderlands, Sam and Max, Venture Bros., Army of Darkness and Portal. If you use all 3 styles from the same series, not only does the styles of the cards, chips and table change; but so does the theme of the room your playing in. This also brings a special animation for the first player to bust out, that matches the theme of the room, for example, the borderlands room has ‘Steve’, Claptrap’s Minion, shooting the eliminated player with a rocket that produces confetti. The coins can also be used to buy drinks for the other players, this is supposed to make it easier for you to read there ‘poker faces’, but i have not noticed the difference myself.

This is a fun game to play, and it does make you feel like your just playing a game of poker with some friends. There is a few problems, like the difficult goals and the conversations sometimes repeating. But for 800 MS points, it is worth it, not only for the items you can win for your borderlands character and avatar, but for the funny animations and conversation that each character has between them, also calling you the silent player does make you feel more involved.

 

7.5/10

F1 Race Stars Review

Ever wondered what it would be like if you take one of the most popular racing tournaments in the world, then paste it roughly over a Mario Kart template. Well you don’t have to, welcome to F1 Race Stars, Codemasters answer to Formula one if it was accidentally shrunk in the wash. Bringing bobble-headed characters designed of all the f1 drivers, crazy race tracks based around the host cities of the season, and funny animations that after the first few races can get a bit repetitive. But does this seem a bit of a cheap cash-in on Codemasters F1 licence, or is it some sweet fan-service? Looking at this game, it is a great idea on a sport that does take itself very seriously, but it’s hard not to look at it, and think that it is just another attempt for F1 to make money in a genre, mainly taken over by Mario Kart. Then again it is still fun to play, and that is what is important in a game, if you’re not having fun then it is not worth playing.

F1 Race Stars has more than just simple lap racing. Bringing other modes; Elimination races, where after a certain amount of time the driver in last place is eliminated, winner is last one racing; Refuel, like a normal race, but you having to keep collecting fuel tanks that are on track to keep your fuel meter up, too many and your car will go slower, run out of fuel your out of the race; Trophy Chase, where you collect trophies that are on the track, if you are damaged you drop trophies; Pole position, a bit like a King of the Hill style of play, but you gain points if you are in pole position (1st, 2nd or 3rd) higher up faster you gain points; Slalom, you have to drive through gates that are on the track to score points, chain coloured gates together to gain bonus points; Exhibition, where you gain points on badges you earn in race, you earn badges by many things from hitting another driver with a bubble, to managing to chain boosts, higher up you are in the race, the more points you gain; then finally their is Sector Snatch, where you have to set the fastest time between the flagged sectors on the track.There isn’t just different types of races in the game, but also 30 Championships you can race in that use the game types that were mentioned. Also you can modify races from flipping the track, to having the driver in 1st place have there controls reversed, allowing you to add up to 3 different modifiers to an event.

The graphics are beautiful to look at too, using cartoons of popular racers, from Jenson Button to the current world Champion, Sebastian Vettel. Also Codemaster has added 4 other characters to choose from, forming 2 fictitious teams, the all-Girl team of Jessica Chekker and Ruby Power, and a boy and Girl team of Kira Hoshihara and Josh Merit. Also you have a choice from 11 out of the 20 official events, from Italy as you swerve across the ancient aqueducts; to the USA as you wall-ride on the Canyon Dam. All looking beautiful and all to designed to what represents each country.

Even though this is a great game and it is a lot of fun for up to 4 players, in the end there is still better party racing games out there, including Little Big Planet Karting to the obvious Mario Kart series. But if you get a chance to play this game, even as a rent, try it because, even though it’s obviously more F1 merchandise, it’s still a good game.

6/10

Reviewed with the Playstation 3 version

For The Community, By the Community