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Killer is Dead (Video Game Review)

By : Kenny King on Saturday, August 31, 2013 | 8:21 PM

Killer is Dead is the newest work from the Suda 51 company that has brought the world some of the most unique and entertaining action titles ever including No More Heroes, Killer7, and most recently, Lollipop Chainsaw. Where these titles offered up fun experiences that relied on great combat and a polished storyline, Killer is Dead offers a game that is marred by a poor presentation and several gross design choices. Killer is Dead offers some fun, if repetitive, combat scenarios and some nice art design that will encourage some players to pick up the new title, but gamers looking for an action fix would be better served picking up one of the studio's better releases or other hack and slash gems such as DmC: Devil May Cry or Bayonetta.

Killer is Dead's problems begin with the game's storyline that plays out like too many ideas rolled into a single storyline and characters that are so bizarre and unbelievable that it's near impossible to feel any sort of emotional attraction or attachment to. The player takes on the role of the cybernetic assassin and neighborhood pervert Mondo Zappa, as he attempts to complete hits on the galaxy's most dangerous criminals and seduce every overly attractive woman he encounters. The game's storyline lasts about as long as a typical game from this genre at about 6 hours not counting all of the side quests, but poor character development and voice acting combined with poor placement of loading screens make Killer is Dead a game that attempts to have a good storyline and some emotional scenes but still manages to fail to make that connection with the gamer time and again.

Combat in Killer is Dead is fine for the most part, but it definitely doesn't do anything new for the genre. Most enemies throughout the game can be taken out by mashing through the same combos over and over, but there are some more complex combos thrown in the mix in an attempt to break up the game's monotony. Few boss encounters in the game require much more than a mixture of melee and ranged attacks and some well timed dodges however. Mondo only receives a few different weapons throughout the game including his trusty katana blade and a "firearm" arm, so combat rarely gets too complicated or exciting, though there are a few Final Judgment kills activated with a full combo meter that can make executing enemies look awesome.

There are 12 different contract missions included in Killer is Dead of varying lengths and difficulties that offer up some pretty unique worlds including fairy tales come to life and magical worlds filled with unicorns, but there are numerous side missions included in the game as well. One special type of side quest are the Gigolo missions that require the player to seduce an attractive female character for some fun times in the bedroom, and more importantly, an additional weapon. Unlike other games such as Catherine, Killer is Dead doesn't execute these missions in a realistic fashion, and they can be sort of off putting and even gross at times in the way Mondo handles his women. The point of each Gigolo mission is to get an eye full of each lady's lady parts without her catching the player staring. Once the player's horny meter has been filled, Gigolo glasses can be equipped to see through the female's clothes to her underwear for even more points. A lavish gift is then given to the woman at the end of the date to see if she is shallow enough to sleep with the guy she just met for a present. The bizarre take on dating is surely a strange one, but unfortunately, it's a requirement in order to unlock all of the weapons in the game.



While combat can be a bore and other design choices can be even more dreadful, Killer is Dead has a really nice art style that blends colorful palettes of cel-shaded characters and environments with some unique ideas that makes the worlds of Killer is Dead all its own. Unfortunately, the still shots of Killer is Dead look a lot better than the actual game in motion, as it tends to suffer from stutters, frame drops, screen tears and other problems numerous times throughout missions. Sub-par voice acting also takes away from the experience to help make the game's strange characters even less authentic, and while it's cool to hear characters say Killer is Dead during some of the early dialogue, it loses its magic after the hundredth time you heard it in a single playthough. Killer is Dead's soundtrack doesn't add much to strengthen the game's poor presentation either.

Ultimately, Killer is Dead is a game that produces some positives but is constantly dragged down by other questionable design choices. The game isn't completely terrible, but only the most devoted fan of the action genre will be able to get their money's worth out of this title. Suda 51 is a company known for the bizarre, but sometimes that works against it as much as for it, and Killer is Dead is a prime example of what happens when a low budget presentation combines with a strange storyline and world to create a game on a select audience will be able to enjoy. Check out DmC: Devil May Cry, Remember Me and other fine games for a good action fix, and pick up a copy of Killer is Dead if you're a huge fan of the genre that needs a new title to hold you over until something better is released from the iconic developers.

Killer is Dead is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Killer is Dead is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence & Sexual Themes. For more information on the game, check out the official Killer is Dead website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Gigolo Missions
  • Online Leaderboards
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support


  • Game Information:
    Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture & Kadokawa Games
    Publisher: XSEED Games
    Platforms: PlayStation 3 (reviewed) & Xbox 360
    Release Date: August 27, 2013


    Score: 4 out of 10


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