Killer7 PS2 Review

There are many mysteries in life and during its lengthy development cycle, killer7 has been one of them. No one knew what to expect on the gameplay side of things, but something everybody did actually know was that the game featured stylish anime esque visuals. It’s official, games can be art.

However, it isn’t only killer7’s lovely visual style that is unique as the game in its entirety is about as far removed from your average title as you could possibly get. The control system is bizarre, but actually works a treat, whilst the storyline is completely off the wall and makes us wonder just what was going on in the heads of the development team at the time. It’s rare that a developer takes so many risks with tried and tested video game conventions, and Capcom should at least be commended for that, even though it means that this is without doubt going to be a love/hate game.

Opinion will be especially polarised on the odd control system, which is more akin to moving a train rather than a person. Movement is restricted to the X button for moving forward, whilst the triangle button will turn your character around 180 degrees. Arriving at important objects (such as objects, NPC and doors) will summon up choices on the screen, nudging the stick towards your choice, will send your character moving in that direction and that’s all there is to it. All in all, the controls feel decidedly odd to begin with, but are easy to get used to and, more importantly, work exceptionally well.

Gratifyingly blowing limbs and heads off the menacing Heaven Smiles (named so because of their insane looking smiles) will take up much of the gameplay. To begin with, these guys are invisible and you’ll only know of their indiscernible presence thanks to their feverish laughter, but for some inexplicable reason, the titular killer7 can all scan the area to discover just where these walking bombs are hiding themselves.

When you do get involved in the blasting, you’ll soon discover that the shooting mechanics are akin to a lightgun shooter without the lightgun. Shooting the weak spot or blowing body parts off a Heaven Smile will award you with blood, with which you can upgrade your characters or recover lost health with.

In typical Capcom fashion, you’ll come across puzzles that blockade your way. These are often stupidly easy and even if you do happen to be stumped, there is usually a nearby NPC who can assist you by more or less offering the solution (and a particular character even does exactly that, for a price). This tight hand holding will frustrate some people as will the overall simplicity of many of the puzzles.

We’ve got this far and haven’t yet discussed the importance of the seven different personalities. You see, Harman Smith is an old wheelchair bound man, who happens to have seven split personalities, that all have radically different skills and personalities to one another, and he is able to transform between them at will.

KAEDE, the sole female is the only character who has a zoom in function on her gun, making her an essential member if you want to take out Smiles from afar. MASK De, the ex wrestler packs more than a punch with his twin grenade launchers, making him the character of choice for the tougher combat situations. On the other hand: the ex thief Coyote’s strength lies in lock picking and jumping to ludicrous heights. Kevin is the only one of the seven, who forgoes a gun, instead, using throwing knives as his weapon of choice and possessing the ability to turn invisible. Con the blind boy is rapid and can hear things others can’t. Dan is our favourite and one of the most useful in a fight and has the biggest attitude of the group. Finally there’s Garcian, the leader of the personalities and the only character that can’t be upgraded, he’s also only really useful to recover and revive his fallen team-mates.

There are a few bad things that are worthy of a paragraph and our attention in this review. For starters the game looks amazingly gorgeous, the bad part is the occasional slow down and the constant god-awful loading times that comes with it. We haven’t played the GameCube version, but apparently things run smoother with less time taken up by staring at dull loading screens.

There will be two wildly different perspectives from those who play killer7. Some will play it and feel it’s a load of stupid nonsense, whilst others will be blown away by its artistic visual style and nice little touches, if you hadn’t of guessed already we fall in to the latter group. Seemingly Capcom can do no wrong. As our American friends would say: “a killer game”, but sadly not worth a seven out of ten, now that would have been funny.