11 Reviews

Killer is Dead

It starts bad. It gets worse.

There's very little to like about Killer is Dead. Over the long, paceless cutscenes, it becomes very clear that this is a game that thinks it's something special. It thinks it's funny. It thinks it's important. And yet paceless, pause-filled cutscenes are broken only by dialogue that's laughable in its meaninglessness.

It can be exhilarating to be dropped without explanation into a world that operates under wildly different rules. Grasshopper Manufacture and CEO Suda 51 have goodwill to spare: Sine Mora is a magnificent shoot-em-up; Lollipop Chainsaw is brilliant, empowering fun; Diabolical Pitch is, well, a Kinect game. Killer is Dead actively seeks to undo that goodwill.


Our hero, Mondo Zappa, is a void. Yet the writers seem convinced he's some kind of brooding, sexy megadude. Early on, Zappa renegotiates an assassination contract so the fee is a kiss from the lady client. How cool is that, right? But wait - it gets cooler!

Gigolo Mode lets you have actual (off-screen) sex! You win sex out of a lady by staring at her body while she's not looking. Eventually she'll accept a gift, and enough gifts equals a nice sex. This game wears an 18 certificate like a badge of honour. So why is it pandering to this pathetic, sub-Leisure Suit Larry courting ritual? On top of everything else, it's a really boring process.

If all this is fine by you, in which case please jam a dipstick into your humanity tank and check you're not a self-absorbed sociopath, then you'll probably be thinking: "Shut up, it's all about the combat anyway. Just focus on that, you self-righteous dick."

Well, that's not awful, when the cutscenes finally let up. It's a robust system of basic attacks (X), guard breaks (Y), and blocks and dodges (B), with rewards for precise response and timing. It's not terribly hard, except for some stunning moments of unpleasant design, including a "hammer X to win boss battle" moment that requires you to hammer X unreasonably fast.

I've not felt wronged by a game to this degree in a long time. Hatred just about captures the emotion. Killer is Dead has the kernel of an acceptable game, swathed in unlikable characters, a Benny Hill attitude to women, alienating self-regard and some obnoxious gameplay decisions. It's impossible to recommend.

Should you feel compelled regardless, Killer is Dead hits EU shelves on 30th August. It's out now in the States.

The verdict

For devoted Sudaphiles only. It's his worst.

  • Imaginative levels
  • It's fairly short
  • Gigolo mode is pathetic
  • Childish in the bad way
  • Hammer X how fast?
Xbox 360
Grasshopper Manufacture