Some might be quick to point the simplicity of Killer7’s gameplay, and they wouldn’t be wrong. But to focus on the gameplay alone is to almost miss the point of Killer7 entirely. That point being, it really just goes out of its way to be non-conventional at every opportunity, and that includes its game design philosophy. The game IS simple, but that doesn’t mean it lacks depth. Killer7 isSome might be quick to point the simplicity of Killer7’s gameplay, and they wouldn’t be wrong. But to focus on the gameplay alone is to almost miss the point of Killer7 entirely. That point being, it really just goes out of its way to be non-conventional at every opportunity, and that includes its game design philosophy. The game IS simple, but that doesn’t mean it lacks depth. Killer7 is an action game yet it is very slow-paced, the game is on rails yet it has open-ended and large levels, the story on its surface is completely nonsensical but underneath its exterior it is one of the most mature and complex narratives in video games. Killer7 is a living contradiction, and it embraces this fully. Take for example its execution of boss fights; sometimes the game just totally denies you the satisfaction of a boss fight, and has you one-shot the boss with a lazily placed bullet, while others are so obscure in their design that they feel more like a puzzle than a fight. Killer7 IS an action, but it also isn’t an action game, I don’t know how else to put it.
You could try label Killer7 with genres, but it would end up sounding something like; surrealist, noir, horror, sci-fi, over-the-shoulder, on-rails, puzzle, action-adventure shooter. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue. If you’re wondering how any of these elements co-exist with one another effectively, trust me when I say, it is something you need to see to believe. I say that because it is truly remarkable how Killer7 manages to maintain such a strong sense of mood and atmosphere throughout the entire game, despite constantly toying with expectations and mish-mashing style and genre with complete reverence. The game is absurd and at times hilarious, it is mysterious and deeply intriguing, it is confronting and horrifying, and it is also completely insane yet profound.
If you were to view the game strictly through a conventional game-design lens so to speak, you wouldn’t be able to deny that the gameplay is pretty simple. Your characters have fairly limited attack and movement options, and because levels are on rails there isn’t as much freedom of exploration as you would have in other games. You can’t customize characters, and you start and end the game with the exact same characters and abilities. But focusing on that alone would overlook so much of what makes this game great. Each level is unique and memorable, the settings are based in reality yet feel other-worldly. The atmosphere is ominous and unnerving, yet has this high energy permeating throughout the whole thing which is so exciting and fun to experience. The simplistic cell-shaded graphics are highly stylized and have aged surprisingly well, the game is dripping with style and feels like you’re watching a piece of art in motion. The story and cut-scenes are highly engaging and interesting, and it makes exploring the levels so much more exciting as you anticipate what will happen next. Enemies are dangerous, and their placement effective. Exploring levels is intense, especially on higher difficulties. It might not seem like horror game on its surface, but it’s definitely one of the best survival-horror games out there. People often attribute Resident Evil’s horror to its gameplay, and attribute Silent Hill’s horror to its atmosphere. I would argue that Killer7 is somewhere in between, but its overall feel is much more like the secret dog ending from Silent Hill 2 than anything mentioned.
Killer7 came out in a time where games still used cut-scenes as rewards, and it shows. The cut-scene are arguably the best part of the game and they are all so memorable. Twenty years later the game still looks amazing, but the animations are a little rigid here and there, the voice acting however is incredible and gives the characters so much personality and charm, totally overshadowing the slightly dated animations. With how much content was removed from the game, it is astounding that Killer7 still manages to have so much to say in its short length, and craft such a bizarre and rabbit-hole-like story and world.
There is a lot to unpack in terms of its story, so I won’t bother trying. The game is too complex and bizarre to fully explain, it is best experienced on your own. So despite any issues you might have with the gameplay, the game definitely does not overstay its welcome. Every level keeps the plot moving at an efficient pace, and never slows down. The settings of the levels are all varied and memorable, and some even have their own over-arching gimmicks as well. The game really isn’t that long, and the plot really doesn’t waste time at all. If supernatural assassins fighting power ranger rip-offs while caught up in a cosmic-scale political conspiracy isn’t engaging enough for you, I genuinely don’t know what is. It is a game I CAN recommend, but not to a general audience. People who will like this game already know they like it.… Expand