Killer7 is an on rails first person shooter but it is more than that as it borrows elements from other genres of gaming. It was developed by Gameplay and was one of the games that was part of the infamous Capcom5, overseen by Shinji Mikami to create games to help support GameCube. It was developed by Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture and this game is what really brought Suda51 it’s notoriety.
(Literally don't get too close to enemies.)
The story is really not easy to follow and as in many Suda51’s works it can get very convoluted. In style and writing it’s a dark and edgy neo noir. The atmosphere is dark and brooding but all at the same time its quirky and weird. The game focuses on a group of “assassins” known as the Smith Syndicate led by Harlan Smith. It is set in a world where there is peace between the eastern and western hemisphere as a result of banning all forms of nuclear weapons. The game is well documented for its focus on Western and Eastern values and how different they are from one another.
(love the promo art for this game)
There’s a survival horror like feeling given that it was produced by Shinji Mikami and that enemies are extremely dangerous and you really need to use critical thinking skills to solve puzzles. Enemies are referred to as “Heaven Smiles” because of the creepy smile on their faces. Letting them get close to you is very dangerous and could easily get you killed.
(The cinematagraphy of the game is really second to none.)
Defeating enemies will grant you blood which is used to enhance characters abilities and performance during the game. Thin blood is exchanged for thick blood which is used to enhance your characters abilities when you reach Harmans room during the levels in the game.
(Visit the doctor too much in the game and he's going to go on a break so be careful)
The game is set in what would be called as “Sudas universe” meaning that it takes place as in the same setting of No More Heroes and every single game personally created by Suda51 as confirmed in Travis Strikes Again. In No More Heroes, assassins were above ground and over the top but in Killer 7 its cold, calculating professional killers.
(Dangerous scenario in the game)
The game draws visually from David Fincher’s Se7En. Artists ranging from Peter Saville, Adrian Tommine, and Hiro Suggamine were used as influences in the artstyle. The shadowy artstyle and visuals blended seamlessly with the cel shaded graphics. The game is about 7 levels but you can’t rush them, you have to go at your own pace or else you’ll get confused and killed easily. You can replay levels you have completed. The pervasive use of profanity especially with Con and Coyte Smith makes sense based on the gangster punk natures of the characters.
(this would be something straight out of golgo 13)
The voice acting was superb and conveyed the characters intent without being over the top. The audio sounded fuzzy and the music wasn’t mixed well during cutscenes as it can overshadow the characters speaking. The musical score is one of the strongest aspects of the game it really helped set the atmosphere.
The Western inspired anime cutscenes from Xebec look dated and fuzzy. The CGI cutscnes developed by Digital Frontier blended seamlessly in real time. The cinematography was really slick and stylish and one of the best I've seen in a video game. The control system was very unusual and it takes quite a good amount of time getting used to. You don’t move by using the thumbstick, you use it to aim your gun at enemies depending on the controller you have. This make boss fights at times occasionally annoying like in Ayame Blackburn’s fight due to how hard it is to hit her and her tendencies to shoot at you every few seconds. The load times were really quick and had smooth transitions to one scene to the next.
(This isn't the beggining of the amount unnerving stuff in the game)
Garcian Smith is the viewpoint character of the game. Other members of the Smiths are really “reincarnated” deceased hitmen from various backgrounds. As Garcian, you could find the severed heads of any of the Smith members and revive them in the saferoom so death isn’t a big of a deal unless Garcian gets killed, then its game over.
Each of the characters has their own personalities ranging from professional and quiet to vicious and psychotic. The Smiths have their own unique skills that is required to help progress through levels in order to reach other areas or to fight the boss. The Smiths also have their own weapons and stats. You can select any character at anytime and you are able to either have your characters automatically awaken at certain points or visit the saferoom to awaken them.
As per its neo noir genre, Killer 7 is ultra-violent and stylishly bloody. There is no happy ending in this game its ending shows the reflection of the cycle of chaos and violence ever continuing. There is a good amount of extra content to go through. Killer8 is an even harder difficulty you can get after beating the game. Grasshopper mode where you can play as a grasshopper through the levels and you can also unlock a younger Harlan Smith to play as.
This has to be the most bizarre yet engaging video game I have played in my gaming career and I enjoyed it immensely.
It gets 4 out of 5.
This and No More Heroes are as of now the best Suda51 games.