This thing doesn’t have just a little bit. It has
everything. Everything that made Killer7 a GameCube classic. Everything your friends didn’t believe until
you showed them, in No More Heroes. It’s violent. It’s sexy. It’s sexist. It’s…utterly ridiculous. It’s everything
you love—or everything you hate—about Suda 51. But…that means it’s predictable. And that’s one thing you’d never predict from
Suda. Now, now…it’s not a loser, by any means.
On the contrary, Killer Is Dead is one of the year’s most stylish, entertaining and…irreverent video games.
Another patch on the vest of gaming’s most notorious punk rocker and closest answer to Quentin Tarantino. If you
like your games as gorgeous as they are f*cked up, you’ll love Killer Is Dead. But if you’re familiar with Suda’s work, be
aware that…this one kind of feels like a greatest hits. And most of the time, a “greatest hits” never has the same
impact. Most of the time. In fact, if there’s one thing that makes Killer
Is Dead stand apart from games like No More Heroes, it’s that…this is kind of a dark game. I mean, it has all
the potty humor you would expect from Suda, but the tone is far more sinister this time. Even uncomfortable, at
times. In fact, while the gameplay is basically just No More Heroes 3, the game is actually closer to Killer7 in tone…and
its balance between fear and funny. And…with a little extra foxy. Actually, it’s more than a little. And that’s
another thing that stands out with Killer Is Dead. I mean, Suda’s games always sexualize women, but…this takes it
to a level that even surprised me. I mean, there’s actually a minigame where…you have to stare at a woman’s “parts,”
when she’s not looking. Do it enough times, and you can give her expensive gifts. Like flowers. Do that enough
times, and…well, you know. And the crazy thing is that…that’s how you
get new weapons, and upgrades. From sleeping with women. Who then give you these things, in return. And honestly,
if that’s something you find offensive…you’ll find a thousand other things offensive, in Killer Is Dead. This
game is just…unremittingly misogynistic, even for Suda 51. So that’s definitely something to consider. One way or the other. As for the gameplay, well…that’s familiar
ground, too. And actually, that’s where the game disappoints the most. Killer Is Dead is almost identical to No More
Heroes, the same counter-based sword game that exhilarated Wii owners…about half a decade earlier. And
that’s fine, because it’s fun. Killer Is Dead is fun. But it does give the experience this overwhelming feeling of “been
there, done that.” And again, you just don’t expect that from
a Suda game. Now, there is one new gameplay element that
separates Killer Is Dead from No More Heroes. And this one feels like Shadows of the Damned. In addition to your
sword, you also have this…arm cannon, which lets you do some third-person shooting if you have enough blood. It’s a
fun change, but…you use the sword like, 90 percent of the time. Which means…it’s really not much of a change. Fortunately, though, it is fun. I mean, if
you like No More Heroes—and you should like No More Heroes—you’re going to love Killer Is Dead. Dodge, attack, rinse
the blood off, repeat. It’s fast, it’s frantic, it’s awesome. And for the most part, it looks amazing. It has Suda’s
unmistakable style…but even that’s held back by some technical issues.
So it’s, like…one step forward, two exploding torsos back. Suda 51 has always taken this…off-road approach,
to game design. But the thing is, when you go off the road enough times in the same place? That becomes a road.
Worn down, visible…predictable. If you like the way Suda drives, like I do, you’re going to love Killer Is Dead.
But if you’re hoping for an unexpected turn? For a new route? That’s a route Killer Is Dead doesn’t seem
interested in taking.