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