When Capcom announced Killer 7 everyone was bemused as to exactly what it was. Two years down the track we still don't know what it is. Nevertheless, we have been playing through a build of the game recently and do have some impressions of the title. What we can say though is that it is one of the most stylish games ever made and that Quentin Tarantino would be proud to put his name to it, had he made it.
Killer7 tells the story of a man with many personalities that make up the Killer7. He is a man with problems to a huge level and you play as these personalities throughout the game. In the game the world has become a peaceful place with one global government and huge highways between each continent (see, we told you Killer 7 is one whacked out game). The main character, Harman Smith and his personalities, are who you play as. Harman is part of a special force employed to take care of the one threat the earth has left.
The game at its core is a first person shooter but to label it with that does it absolutely no justice in terms of creativity and uniqueness. It is a game that you can play for hours on end and still have no way of knowing why you're doing it. It took us an hour even with the manual to realise what to do but this is all part of the game's charm. The game is so far different from mainstream titles that it keeps you wanting to see what happens next. One of the unique aspects is the sound, where you will hear an enemy scream to alarm you rather than actually see them. You have to use a scanner to pick them up before being able to shoot. Also you gather blood from the enemies and use this blood to upgrade your characters and abilities.
A typical mission will go like this: You begin with the character you select and have the ability to change any time. From there you move through a level with a fixed camera (adding to the cinematic style of the game), being freaked out by weird stuff happening and running into weird characters who reckon they know you, all while taking down enemies. Again we can't talk about much of the game so that's only a taste test.
The seven characters are what makes the game really unique. Although we've only seen a few of them (and we're only allowed to talk about the first four missions), it really looks like this is the strength of the game and will offer replay value by using different characters during different missions. The characters aren't exactly normal either with a young girl wearing a towel, a young man brandishing a pistol and you can play as Garcian who is the most vulnerable personality but if he dies, the game ends so in reality you have seven lives and save points don't appear too often - in any case, you can change to any of these characters during any part of the game, as long as they are not dead and have been discovered. As you play the game you will be transformed into its world and wonder just what the heck is going on. Like we said, we can't talk about anything past mission four so you'll have to wait.
The characters special abilities are interconnected to the game in many ways. Certain characters can solve certain puzzles and the game does somewhat provide hints as to who should solve the puzzle at hand. The characters also have different firepower and abilities in taking enemies down. The marksman KADE for instance, can hit critical points on an enemy, and use this extra power to unleash a super shot to take down a large enemy. Each have their own nuances but it is likely you will find one you like and stick with it wherever possible.
One of the things that really make this game is its visuals. Its art deco modern style combined with Cel shading really shows that Capcom know how to make awesome looking games. It will be the first thing that strikes you as it immediately endeared us to the game when Harman is seen walking for the first time. The graphics also add to the mystery behind the game and had this used realistic graphics, the game probably wouldn't have worked. It's a very atmospheric game as well with the sound being a key area of the game.
Killer7 is a game that quite frankly should have its own little genre because it is such a niche and non-mainstream title - so much so, it is actually a bit of a surprise that the west is even receiving it. However, it is coming, so you can thank Capcom because it really is a game that shows that not all original games are lost to sequels and licensed IP just yet.