PS3, XBOX, PC
Video games have come a long way. The platformers, the shooters, the puzzlers, the fighters, you name what else i havent named and that will fill the void. But for gamers like myself have noticed that games that had entered the generation of the PS3’s, XBOX’s and Wii’s the games were primarily multiplayer games. Sure they had a campaign element but after that it was all about playing and enjoying games with others.
But what some people seem to have forgotten is that the games that bore todays shooters and overall modern gaming came from games that had story, that had substance. Franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted and Mass Effect just to name a few are games that first started out as single player games and then evolved to multiplayer due to its demand.
So with games that come out these days like Lollipop Chainsaw, is story still a key factor that can drive a game for sales with no multiplayer? And lets not forget, so much zombie stuff is out there, it definately exceeds all your fingers and your toes. Plus its a topic that has and will most likely continue till mankind doesnt exist. But for now, its being ridden hard like a stripper wanting to milk out a few extra dollars with a good lapdance on a rich client.
But does Lollipop Chainsaw exceed zombie killing? Does the game hold up with a good story without multiplayer? Or is it just a game that needs to have its own head cut off?
Days for Juliet Starling is one of any ordinary american kid. Though this one sports a killer body, a killer face and a killer secret she holds. This is one girl you could probably die for. Oh yeah, she’s a cheerleader as well. Absolutely smoking hot.
On the morning of Juliets 18th Birthday, a coming of age for every human being, she heads to school at San Romero High to attend another day of education, learning and of course to meet her boyfriend, Nick. But as she arrives, she notices (eventually) that something is very wrong. The dead are walking, their skin rotting, their faces devoid of any emotion but hungry for new flesh. Breaking out the lead, Juliet is forced to carve her way through the undead with her trusty chainsaw to get to her boyfriend.
Nick is her first priority…
Anything else after that…can wait
Predominantly Lollipop Chainsaw is a game (if you havent spoiled yourself with the media of videos, screenshots and etc) that has no multiplayer as was aforementioned in the introduction. Lollipop Chainsaw can be compared to games that are story driven like the Devil May Cry Series and Bayonetta even. These games promote single player and alot of button mashing.
As the main character of the game, players control the sexy Juliet Starling as she wields her chainsaw to take out the undead. Controller layout is quite different from most beat em up games, though not too unfamiliar. Dodging and attacking is easy to master. Juliet will jump and actually do some fancy flips as the cheerleader that she is to avoid being hit, the animations are amusing but also gives some believability that as a cheerleader she is a heroine in the making to dodge the grasps of the undead with her prowess and agility. The main attack button is the one that you will get the sore thumb with. Its an attack that ranges from a medium to high swinging arcs with her chainsaw. You will know when you have taken out a zombie is when you decapitate them. Though two other functions such as low attack where Juliet sweeps her chainsaw low to enemies that crawl or who have lost their legs, this move can take some time to get used to. The other button corresponds to stun. What Juliet will implement is her pom poms that the more hits on an undead with this attack will cause them to be stunned, leaving them open to be easily killed with the main button attack.
As you keep taking out the rotting corpses, players will notice that taking out multiple zombies with one swing will grant them rewards and fill up a sort of “heat” gauge. The gauge is built up as you take out zombies, no matter if you get hit or not, when its filled you can execute the gauge to have devastating results. Not only will a crazy song be playing, but Juliet’s attacks will be alot stronger and she will move alot faster. Having the gauge is a great asset against mid level bosses and wanting to get rewards when taking out a group of enemies with just one slash. The other rewards offer you coins that you must collect, yes coins. Like Mario still has to do in order to get another 1-UP, coins is the currency that you need to accrue in order to go to vendor machines which have items that are standard to every hack and slash game. Replenish health, obtaining new moves and acquiring bonuses for Nick to be part of the game. Oh, and don’t forget to save civilians, extra bonuses to be had in that venture, or you can just let them die…but that’s just cruel.
Though the ordinary currency is gold coins, another currency to collect is Platinum coins. Platinum coins are harder to obtain, but when used at a vendor, they can be used to purchase more extras such as new outfits for Juliet to wear instead of the San Romero cheerleader outfit, character, concept art and different music tracks you can play as you run around each level.
Speaking of levels, once you complete a level, you can of course revisit it. Each level completed, players will be ranked on how many zombies they kill fluidly. When i say fluidly, as in they kill zombies without inflicting damage. Points and extra coins are rewarded on several different categories other the killing zombies. Like how quickly you have completed the stage as well as how many continues you use as some examples. You can also do a ranked mode where you must do everything aforementioned in terms of having a higher score except you can brag about it by challenging the world.
As opposed to the gameplay, the presentation of this is the most surprising element of the game. Immediately as players get into it, they will notice very soon that the game almost has an Tarantino-esque feel. The colour pallettes in the menu screens and then when first entering the game the throwbacks to some older games. If your a gamer that did live in the 90’s and did play the older games, the throwback references will either make you laugh or at least bring a wry smile to your face. With this in mind, lets not forget who has produced this game. Suda51.
Goichi Suda also known as his alias as Suda51, aged 44 currently is CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture which he is the founder of the company. In regards to his resume, he is also a video game director for quite a few well known games. Games such as Killer 7 on the Playstation 2, No More Heroes on the Nintendo Wii and Shadows of the Damnedon the XBOX360 & PS3 just to name a few. As you can see, these games are a wide range of consoles so Suda51 is not afraid to go exploring different realms nor in favor of a console. He also has directed several games on Nintendo DS and several games that were japan-only releases. He’s even currently hosting an internet radio drama show. Very diverse range indeed.
Which brings us to this game. Suda51’s throwbacks from the past is just one element that makes the game interesting to play, but one thing that could put off gamers is the misuse of language. The amount of swearing is actually quite offensive, but in the context that it has been used, it is used in such a way that brings some very laugh out loud moments. But it is crude to say the least. In its graphics, aforementioned, is like a Tarantino-esque style. Some scenes and levels get grainy to give the notion that the game came out of some old 70’s or 80’s zombies flick, maybe older. But honestly speaking it isn’t ground breaking graphics. Though you can definately appreciate the details of the main characters. But the background, foreground and area detail is rather bland. its almost as if they purposely made the game not as a re-invention and not groundbreaking to say the least. It’s actually looks rather disappointing. And not touching on another major video game publisher but known for publishing mainly movies is Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment who mainly had a had in the latest release of Mortal Kombat. With this calibre of publishers, its hard to fathom why publishing this game wasn’t more sharper in detail with its presentation. Again, puzzling.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a game that you would want to play if your just wanting to kill time for the next best thing, have a good laugh and just experience the game that is different and very tongue-in-cheek with some very memorable and quite crude moments. But thats all the game would is all about. The overall look of the game is fresh, its different, I do like it. But at the same time, its its downfall as well. The gameplay isn’t something that will not impress gamers highly, but the presentation alone is the one that will get them to the finish line.
Borrow it. This is a game that is really left to be experienced, sure you can keep it in the collection for nostalgic purposes. But unless you really fall in love with the game, there will be no surprise that this game will be recycled as a second hand game in retailers near you. Borrow it from a friend, or hell, grab it second hand, but purchasing it at full price and you would do yourself a disservice.
But what I can say is, Juliet Starling is a strong character, sexy, can kick zombie ass and fits the ditziness of a cheerleader, there are memorable characters and very modern characters that players can relate to but also a bummer of a story.
But I do not see a sequel to this game. I really don’t.