Killer 7 is as flagrantly stylish as it is innovative in the genre of action shooters. There are going to be a lot of people that will raise their eyebrows because of the way it presents itself, but underneath that artistic facade is a solid gaming experience. Far from its politically charged and psychedelic exterior lies a game that begs for the "ask questions later" part of its action. In the beginning, you might only be able to relate this to a drug-induced hangover, but once the plot begins to unfold and you exceed the learning curve, everything falls into place quite nicely.
Capcom did something really unique with Killer 7. They could almost be credited with the feat of combining the navigation of such adventure games like Myst and the action of shooters that we’ve come to love into one title. So what kind of name is Killer 7 anyway? Well it actually refers to the group of assassins dedicated to taking out a terrorist group called Heaven Smile. The enemies are just as crazy as the name might lead you to guess, as they inflict their wrath by suicide bombing. Did I mention this was politically stimulating?
Quite frankly, the game handles like a platformer on a steering track. With a routing system like this, the player is only given the option to control the forward and backward momentum. Try as you might, the only way to get the character to go anywhere is just to hold down the button and watch him go. Progress flows depending on where you direct any given hitman by choosing which path to follow when he comes up to a fork in the road. This might be the difference between going up the staircase to the second floor or heading down the hallway to the library, each chosen with an abstract interface.
At least you’ll never get lost. The fighting scheme compensates for the lack of navigational creativity by employing several tactics that would otherwise be a headache to keep up with if you also had to worry about the fancy footwork. Suicide bombers let out a devious cackle to let you know when to draw your weapon. Tapping the R1 button zooms the camera into first person mode where the player is able to track enemies and lock on to them. However to do so they must be made visible by scanning the surrounding area with L1, as they would just be a poltergeist if they were left alone.
Puzzles don’t innovate that much as there is usually a person around that hints off the solution. It does add a quirky level of accomplishment though. But being able to switch between hitmen in the group is the key to avoiding death, so the game doesn’t dry up quickly. The crazy story will keep you guessing and questioning until you just can’t take it. But that is enough to keep you busy for a while.
The artistic cell shading is something you’ll either love or hate. Like I said, some people might not even give it a chance because of the aesthetics, but even gamers who aren’t used to this graphic style can enjoy it. You’ll hear gamers cry until the Phantom comes out that great gameplay is independent of graphics. Taking this into consideration, cell shading is risky, but Killer 7 just wouldn’t work the way it does if it weren’t for this stylistic approach to its appearance.
There’s no denying the learning curve for this title. There is also no denying how quirky and bizarre the story, characters, and gameplay can be. But giving it a shot and putting it through its paces will reveal a game that shines in its own unique way. You must have a predisposition for this type of inquisitive game, however, to fully enjoy it. Otherwise you’ll end up pulling your hair out.
It’s easy to trip up on the political fluff, but if it weren’t for the charged storyline then there would be nothing to keep you guessing through the game. The plot anchors down the facets of gameplay that some people might find overly refined. But it’s through these unique styles of gameplay that make Killer 7 the action game that will keep you wondering what it has in store next. However, once you play through it, there isn’t much left to do. Replay value is pretty much non-existent. Overall, Killer 7 ranks up as one of the quirkiest titles that can hold its own against the competition.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.