Review: Killer7-Beauty In Violence


If you’ve been visiting for a while now, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much as of late. Part of it is simply because I burned out HARD at the beginning of the year and wanted a genuine break, but also because I’ve begun reevaluating how I want to approach my writing. I didn’t like how I was writing about every little thing I was playing and not giving myself the time to fully engross myself with video games I was genuinely excited for. I wanted to take a step back and let myself really enjoy video games as a hobby again.

Over the past 4 months, I’ve been able to make great progress with my backlog and have even been replaying some games that I haven’t played in a while, such as the No More Heroes series. I’m still super excited for No More Heroes 3 and I wanted to play through the games to prepare myself but after I was done I was still left wanting more. That’s when I figured I would try out some of Suda51’s other pieces of work. There is A LOT to choose from so it wasn’t an easy choice, but a lot of people wanted me to check out Killer7. Many of my friends are massive fans of this game and praise it to high heaven so I figured, eh, why not?

Killer7 is a masterful work of art and one of the most unique pieces of media I have ever consumed.

This is going to be a weird one.

Killer7 is a video game that is very difficult to describe. While an action game at its core it is so much more than that. It has elements of first-person shooting, point-and-click adventure, horror, rail shooting, and it’s all wrapped up in a very complicated and VERY open-ended plot that I can’t even begin to describe to any of you, at least in a straightforward fashion. I can guarantee that you’ve never played anything like Killer7 in your life and, to be frank, I don’t know how well I can describe the game to you through text. It really is something that has to be seen to be believed.

Quite literally because the art direction is fucking fantastic.

You take control of the titular “Killer7”, a group of assassins that are technically all the same person? But not? It’s confusing and I WILL not get into it here. Your playable characters are Garcian Smith, Dan Smith, KAEDE Smith, Kevin Smith (not that one), Coyote Smith, Con Smith, and my personal favorite, MASK de Smith. You can also control Harman Smith, the leader, but you really only use him three times in the game. Each of these killers has their own unique abilities and playstyles and you need to make damn sure you can use all of them effectively if you want to play this game properly.

Which is a bigger task than you think.

You need to have A LOT of patience if you want to get into Killer7 because of how unconventional the gameplay is. Your character is on rails throughout the entirety of the game and you can only move backwards by holding the direction behind you. The only way you can change paths is by reaching various sections of the level that allow you to move in that direction, essentially making it a near on-rails experience. The only way you can attack enemies is by going into the first-person mode (spacebar if you’re playing it on keyboard) and scanning the enemies (right-click on mouse). Doing this will make a weak point appear on common enemies and give you the chance to insta-kill them.

They’re called “Heaven Smiles” by the way. Can you guess why?

Outside of combat, Killer7 asks you to solve various puzzles and navigate its many areas using the strengths and abilities of each character, both figuratively and literally. Certain Smiles can only be killed by certain characters like Dan and MASK, some walls can only be opened by having KAEDE slit her wrist and making a ghost appear (I don’t know), and there are high areas that can only be reached by using Coyote’s jump. It can be very difficult to wrap your head around this weird-ass game and its weird-ass rules but once you’ve properly taught yourself how to play it? Dude, it is so satisfying. The gunplay feels very and I actually really like the rail-based movement due to its execution. It’s probably because of how crazy unique the game is. There really isn’t anything like Killer7 and I don’t think there ever will be.

I don’t know why there are anime cutscenes in this game, but I enjoy it.

You may have noticed I haven’t talked about the game’s story, its biggest strength. That’s because I can’t. I really can’t. Not through text. There is so much to unpack with the way Killer7 tells its story and where it goes that I simply do not have it in me to talk about it in good faith. Sure, I could dissect its themes and symbolism ’till the cows come home, but I simply won’t. Killer7 is a story that is at its best when you go in as blind as possible because it’s purposely vague and open-ended that it’s worth figuring things out for yourself. All I will say is that it is fucking artful and amazing. Period. End of story.

You can figure this one out for yourself.

Play Killer7. Play Killer7 right now. This game is unbelievable. Every ounce of praise this game has gotten is justified. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and you need to have a lot of patience to get how the game works but please give it a chance. You will not regret it.

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