Suda 51's Killer is Dead Feels Alive with Color and Blood - Preview

By Matt Ashbaugh, June 11, 2013
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Suda 51, the director of Lollipop Chainsaw and No More Heroes, has a new game coming out this summer.  Called Killer is Dead, it is looking to continue the trend of the crazy stylized over-the-top action games Suda 51 and developer Grasshopper Manufacture are known for.

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The game is designed to be a sort of dark James Bond story.  You play as an executioner named Mondo Zappa.  You work for a government funded firm that hands out your missions.  This means that, unlike No More Heroes, you will be traveling around the world through this title.  It was designed to be similar to a TV show where each location plays out like an episode, but there is an over-arching plot that goes through the entire campaign.  

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The art style uses cel shading to envoke a sort of watercolor painting aesthetic.  This allows the characters to be larger than life and have that special Suda 51 flair of wackiness.  However, the tone of the game is far more serious and dark than his previous titles.  While humor and one liners do come out from time to time, Mondo is a very serious guy who is focused on getting the job done right.  

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If you haven't noticed, Mondo has had his left arm replaced by a cybernetic one and he wields a katana in his right.  The bulk of your combat is swordplay, but the arm is where things get interesting.  With your cybernetic arm you can fire bullets, giving you the ability to stagger enemies from a distance before you rush in with your blade.  Using the in-game currency you can buy enhancements that add on a more powerful cannon attachment and massive drillhand.  

The arm also has out of combat functions.  During a preview of the Japan mission, your arm is used to help located your foes during a little game of hide-n-seek ninjas by rumbling and glowing more the closer you are to your targets.  

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The combat, then, becomes a juggling act between properly timed dodges, swift and violent counter-attacks, and creative uses of your cybernetic enhancements all leading up to deadly (but colorful) finishers with your sword.  

But I think the best way to explain what this game is all about is the boss battle with the main boss of the Japanese level.  When you approach him, he tries to escape.  He does this by bringing his tattoo to life and riding on the back of a monstrous magical tiger.  Your partner then shows up to offer you a ride on her motorcycle.  You must then attack the boss with your sword while dodging hazards and the momentary swipes of the tiger's claws.  Only when you have damaged him enough will the one on one boss battle officially start, which does culminate in your having to battle him while he has the top half of a magical giant tiger growing out of his back.  

This is definitely looking to be another wild and violent ride that Suda 51 is taking us on.  From what I've seen, it will be one worth taking when it launches this August (for PS3 and Xbox 360).

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