Tag Archive: Suda51


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Whenever I hear Suda51 is working on a new game, my ears immediately perk up. Since he made his North American debut with Killer7, I’ve always at least been curious to see what zany scenario he can come up with next. Some of them I’ve been absolutely enamored with, like No More Heroes; others have missed their mark with me, like Killer is Dead. But no matter what, if Suda is attached to it, I got to try it out. So, naturally, when the chance came up to try out Let It Die, I was all for it.

Let It Die is a free-to-play third-person action-RPG exclusive for the PS4. In it, players will have to work their way through what can only be described as a waking nightmare, fighting horrific creatures in twisted environments. In the demo I got to play, I specifically had to navigate what looked like a macabre carnival on the outskirts of a city before finally finding myself in a tunnel system filled even more grotesque horrors.

Some of the enemies were simple enough—mostly just other humans like my character, but they were sadists getting off on the carnage and mayhem around us. Many would try to use their bare fists, but some carried weapons ranging from clubs and bats to nail guns and shotguns. If I was lucky, I’d be able to loot their carcasses for their weapons that I could assign to one of six weapon slots (three for each hand, with two-handed weapons taking up a slot on each side).

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Some enemies also wore armor for various body parts that I could also collect and customize my character with. On one play through of the short demo, I had a gas mask and a leather vest on, but no pants. In another, I was able to confiscate jeans with kneepads, but was left bare-chested. Longer playthroughs that go deeper into the game would surely warrant more impressive gear.

There were also enemies floating around that looked completely otherworldly. One creature had a birdcage for a head and long, forked claws protruding from the end of each arm. Moving through the tunnels, I finally came upon the boss: a monstrous creature comprised entirely out of dead bodies, conjoined by a seething hatred for the living. Its charging attacks were not to be taken lightly, but more serious was its habit to rip human limbs off its form and chuck them at me as projectiles. Yup, definitely a Suda game.

Fortunately, I could use the environment to my advantage, finding small animals like frogs and rats to eat in order to replenish health, or mushrooms that gave special boosts to attack and defense. There were also some “grenade” mushrooms that would explode if I tried to eat them, though, so I had to be careful.

Besides the weapons I could find scattered about, my character also had some basic melee attacks. Punches, kicks, and running dropkicks could keep the more difficult enemies off of me for long enough to find better items, but I needed to be careful that my stamina meter wouldn’t run out, as doing so would render my character near useless until they caught their breath.

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Beyond the dark and twisted design of the world and enemies, you might think Let It Die sounds like a pretty straightforward action-RPG. There’s a leveling-up system that we didn’t get to see in action, and there’s still no talk of exactly how monetization will work in the game. There’s one additional significant twist that makes Let It Die unique, however.

When players die in Let It Die, their characters and loadouts are placed into other players’ games, becoming new enemies for people to fight and new loot for them to possibly collect. This cycle of death and rebirth is an interesting concept, as while you might be playing by yourself at any given moments, a half-dozen clones of you from different levels could be out there invading other games and wreaking havoc. It’s a two-way street, of course, because as was proven to us when one of the Grasshopper Manufacture devs suddenly popped into my game, seeing a human-controlled face isn’t necessarily a good thing in Let It Die.

Let It Die still has some big question marks circling around it, especially if it’s still going to drop in 2016 as is currently planned. What I saw in my brief time with the game is a solid core for Suda51’s latest twisted vision of a tried-and-true game genre. Whether there is a market for a F2P action-RPG exclusive to the PS4 of this style is yet to be seen—but, at the very least, I can confirm at this moment that Let It Die is far from dead.

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Everybody gets to go to the moon

I’ll readily admit to being a Suda51 fan. Some may consider his games to be niche fare that fails to live up to its potential, but usually, there’s something about his typically zany ideas that draws me in. Whether it’s taking control of a schizophrenic hitman, a lightsaber-wielding assassin wannabe, or a chainsaw-toting cheerleader, I’m definitely a Suda guy. So, it’s no surprise that I was looking forward to his latest, Killer Is Dead.

Normally in a review, I’d give a brief synopsis of the basic plot before talking about some of the game’s weak and strong points—character development, pacing, that kind of stuff. As games have gotten more and more cinematic and story complexity has evolved, narrative has definitely become a focal point for me when it comes to reviews.

But I’m going to be completely honest with you here, folks. Killer Is Dead left me confused, bewildered, and, worst of all, frustrated and wholly unsatisfied, to the point where I’m not even sure what I played—or that I could properly describe it.

The basic gist of what I was able to decipher is that you play as a man named Mondo Zappa. He’s another assassin in the typical Suda style, and he travels to fantastical locationsincluding the moonin order to track down his targets. Everything after that gets kinda hazy.

I’ll put it this way. If you couldn’t stomach Suda before, forget itKiller Is Dead isn’t going to change your outlook on the man. But even if you’re like me and appreciate his special brand of insanity, this might be the point where you finally lose your patience with his wacked-out concepts.

Aside from the terrible plot, much of the side content left me wanting as well. Sure, some challenge missions add to the gameplay variety as you race against the clock or take down certain foes in a field of baddies. But the “courtship” minigame is nothing more than a tacky, half-baked idea that somehow wormed its way into the final product.

Not only do these segmentswhich revolve around staring at the clothed bosom and crotch areas of random girls in the hopes of then bringing them to bedfeel pointless, but they even cross the line for me and feel a little degrading and insulting. And this is coming from a guy who loved Travis Touchdown’s blatantly perverted flirtations with Sylvia Christel in No More Heroes! My bar’s set pretty low on the politically-correct front, but this was still a bit much, even for me.

Despite the shoddy story and lewd minigames, there’s still a silver lining to Killer Is Dead: It feels like Suda’s finally honed his hack-n-slash gameplay to the point where it’s now quite enjoyable. You can smoothly mix in Mondo’s arm cannon mid-battle, and a blood meter allows for special executions. Meanwhile, some foes require balancing normal attacks with parries and counters, which prevents Killer Is Dead from devolving into a mindless button-masher.

The combat also includes some RPG elements. Mondo can learn new assassination moves, level up his abilities, or unlock additional mechanisms in the arm cannon. While most of the cannon’s extra moves aren’t necessary beyond the standard machine-gun mode you start the game with, the dash abilities and health regeneration become vital as you move through the various missions.

It’s just a shame that, outside of the enjoyable core combat, Killer Is Dead is such a mess. The plot’s incomprehensible, while the boss battles lack the memorability of past Suda games. The visual style is a beautiful evolution of what he’s done before, but I’d rather listen to a stray cat’s starving mewl in the middle of the night than endure any more of the inane voice acting and dialogue found here. Some of the content feels tacked on and unnecessary, even though the game clocks in at a mere six hours on Normal difficulty.

As much as Suda fans may want to like Killer Is Dead, this may finally be the game where the over-the-top antics are just too mucheven for them.

Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture • Publisher: XSEED • ESRB: M – Mature • Release: 08.27.2013
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The decent core combat can’t hide the fact that this is Suda51’s most ridiculous, nonsensical plot yet, and an offensive “courtship” minigame is a further black mark on the proceedings. This one may even turn off Suda’s most hardcore fans.

The Good The most rewarding combat ever seen from Suda51.
The Bad If you thought Suda’s stories were convoluted before, Killer Is Dead redefines that idea.
The Ugly 100-foot-tall, mutated scientists. Yep. I just typed that in a legit review.
Killer is Dead is available on Xbox 360 and PS3. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.

At GDC, I had the distinct pleasure to once again sit down with Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Goichi “Suda51” Suda and talk to him a bit about his studio’s upcoming game, Killer is Dead.

In the game, players will take on the role of Mondo Zappa, an executioner for a covert hitman agency that specializes in cases revolving around weird happenings around the globe which could specifically threaten large groups of people.

Knowing that Suda also draws huge amounts of inspiration from music, I wanted to know more about where Mondo and Killer is Dead fit in regards to his personal tastes.

“Music is really important—not just in this game, but in how I create games,” said Suda. “For example, the soundtrack is done by Akira Yamaoka; he did the music for Silent Hill and other titles. But the title itself, Killer is Dead, I got the inspiration for that name from “Queen is Dead” from The Smiths. And for Mondo Zappa, “Zappa” is from Frank Zappa. There’s no direct relationship, it’s just—it’s who I am, and how much I love music just comes out and starts affecting the games that I create.”

In our time with Suda, I also learned more about Mondo in regards to his design and inspiration, and that he is far more used to removing bad guys from the world than we may have originally been led to believe.

Specifically, I was very curious about Mondo’s arm. His business attire gives off a very distinct personality, very much that of a stone cold killer. But then, he has this mechanized arm that can act as a gun. So, I wanted to know where the idea for the arm came from.

“So this won’t be said in the game,” Suda explained. “It’ll never be said in the actual game. But, the concept is that Mondo was one of the assassins that killed Osama Bin Laden, and in the [Killer is Dead] world, when there’s somebody that’s really bad, and they have this malice within them, when you execute them that malice will be transferred to the person who killed them. Mondo was part of the team that took down Bin Laden, and the other team members were affected as well. In fact, one of the team members will be showing up in the game. Mondo’s arm got infected, and he couldn’t control it—so he had to change it into a mechanical arm. But, that’s not explained in the game; that’s just the concept, where the basis of the game started from.”

If Mondo didn’t have enough going for him already, he’s also got a bit of Ash from Evil Dead in him as well. We will just have to see what other interesting character traits Mondo has when Killer is Dead is released this coming summer for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Are you excited about Killer is Dead? How do you think this will differ from Suda51’s previous games? Does Mondo Zappa compare to the likes of Juliet Starling and Travis Touchdown? Let us know with comments below!

THE BUZZ: Hollywood director/screenwriter James Gunn walked the red carpet at the 2011 Spike TV VGAs and talked to EGM Associate Editor and Resident Supernerd Ray Carsillo about his experience co-directing/writing Lollipop Chainsaw with Suda51. He also let slip a little new information about the highly anticipated game in regards to Nick, Juliet’s decapitated head of a boyfriend, and his part in the game.

Gunn says in the interview (which you can watch the video of below) that an ability that Nick possesses is that if Juliet beheads certain zombies, she can place Nick’s head in place of the zombie’s head and have Nick pilot the zombie’s body and fight along side her for when the odds really get tough.

EGM’S TAKE: Well, we figured Juliet wasn’t just carrying Nick’s head around for sentimental reasons and this new ability reveal definitely should add an interesting new dynamic to the game play along with the rainbows, hearts, and, of course, Juliet’s chainsaw and pole dancing related abilities. The big question we will have to wait to find the answer to now though is how good is the friendly A.I. and how much of an effect will it really have in combat?

Unfortunately, due to the rapid nature of the red carpet, we couldn’t talk more in depth with James Gunn about the game at that moment, but it was also nice to see his enthusiasm for the project come off rather clearly and has me looking forward to this game even more.

What do you folks think? Are you pumped for Lollipop Chainsaw? What do you think about this new ability? How about the rest of Juliet’s zombie bashing repertoire? Let us know your thoughts with comments below!

And you thought YOUR high school was tough

Suda51 loves nothing more than to parody American culture as well as mix in some musical aspects to his games and so a lot of the elements to his upcoming hack ‘n’ slash zombie fest Lollipop Chainsaw should come as no surprise. Described as sex, blood, and rock ‘n’ roll, Lollipop Chainsaw follows one Juliet Starling, a former cheerleader of San Romero High School (named such in tribute to the father of modern zombie culture, George A. Romero) and how she must put down many of her former classmates who have been turned into the walking undead. With the help of several unturned, including her boyfriend who now lives as a disembodied head (imagine Ash from Evil Dead, but the “infection” went A LOT further) attached by a chain to Juliet’s waste and provides advice, Juliet must get to the bottom of this zombie outbreak. Let the Buffy the Vampire Slayer parallels commence!

Seriously though, I had a chance to grab Juliet’s preferred weapon of choice, her chainsaw, and dive headlong into the first level of Lollipop Chainsaw a short time ago. In terms of gameplay, although the premise is very different, it feels very similar to another Suda51 game in No More Heroes and so fans of that series should appreciate the ability to just pick up and play Lollipop Chainsaw from the get go. Aside from her chainsaw, Juliet can also shake her pom-poms and perform various cheerleading acrobatics in order to stun zombie crowds and give her enough time to decapitate her zombie foes, which is the only way to put them down for good. Of course, this makes me wonder about the source of the outbreak because whenever a pretty girl shakes her pom-poms in front of me, I admit I become pretty stunned and single-minded in my thinking patterns as well.

Anyway, as we progressed through the level and took down classmate after classmate and even a math teacher mini-boss, the thing that was most evident was that this game has Suda51’s style written all over it. Big explosions of light and sound punctuated the climb of my combo counter climb higher and higher as I slay undead foe after undead foe. And along with the fountains of blood from the neck stumps of recently beheaded enemies, if I was able to “get in the zone” with Juliet by hitting a high enough combo, all the blood would turn into hearts and firework sparkles while my chainsaw became supercharged with one-hit knockout power. This obviously allowed me to mow down my enemies much quicker and just roll through the hallways of San Romero High.

Another interesting note about the style is that the game has at times a bit of a B-movie feel to it, again paying tribute to the good ol’ days of zombie films. This could be because of the work Dawn of the Dead screenwriter James Gunn has contributed to the game as he has been more than open about his joy in working on this game with Warner Bros. and Suda51 on his personal website and to us in the media. Along with James Gunn, top of the line voice actress Tara Strong has been confirmed as the voice of Juliet and who may best be known for Raven in Teen Titans, Batgirl in Batman: The Animated Series, Bubbles in The Powerpuff Girls, Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham City, and has even been rumored, but never confirmed, to have done the voice of Bowser Jr. in Super Mario Sunshine.

After enough slaying of the hoi polloi zombie, that I might add is done in your more standard “shuffling” type that only really starts to speed up when Juliet gets within chomping range, we made it to the school gymnasium. Oh Juliet attended many a pep rally here in her preferred zombie bashing outfit, her cheer uniform, but now it has been taken over by a zombified Metal Goth named Zed, the first of many high school class stereotypes we are due to see in the game, who hates Juliet and her establishment supporting ways. Here is where we really get out first taste of the rock ‘n’ roll as Zed’s primary forms of attack deal with sound speakers and amplified sound waves that rush towards Juliet after Zed shouts some nasty things into his unholy microphone. You’ll look to mute Zed for good, but only after fighting him in several stages, where you get to see his true power as he literally pulls himself back together after several rounds, and this is all in just the first level.

Although we’re still lacking a lot of the major story details and what other classes we could expect to take on in this high school from hell, one thing is for sure: if you’re a fan of Suda51’s other work, then this game should be right up your alley.  Lollipop Chainsaw is expected right now to hack out a spot for itself on store shelves sometime in March 2012.

Are you folks Suda51 fans? Are you looking forward to Lollipop Chainsaw? What do you think of all the parodies that will be seen in Lollipop Chainsaw? What else do you think we might see in Lollipop Chainsaw? Let us know your thoughts on this game with comments below!