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One Paragraph Review - Killer 7

This post originally appeared on Matt Weise's blog Outside Your Heaven.

Killer 7 (Gamecube, 2005, 10-15 hrs) - A stellar mind-fuck exploration/shooter game, and in my opinion the best work of self-described "punk" Japanese game developer Suda51 (at least of what's been released Stateside). The set-up involves a group of professional assassins--the Killer 7--who all inhabit the body of a wheelchair-bound old man and can only "come out" when in proximity to a functioning television set. The player must make use of their various abilities to take down "Heaven's Smile", a group of invisible, shape-shifting, and apparently skinless suicide bombers who laugh as they explode. While not technically "horror" Killer 7 manages to be scary in ways few horror games are, and the way it weaves (or rather smashes) together science-fiction, occult fantasy, and political intrigue is genuinely surreal. Unfairly criticized as a mere "rail shooter" by its critics, it actually has a nicely designed combat system that recalls some of the best aspects or Resident Evil 4 and Dead Aim. Its spacial navigation system is especially innovative in how it removes virtually all redundancy from the survival horror exploration/puzzle framework, streamlining it into a smooth, slick experience. Suda's signature ultra-high-contrast cel-shaded visuals give the entire game an appropriate neo-noir look. In the name of Harmon. Credits: Goichi Suda (story, writer, director, producer), Shinji Mikami (story, executive producer).

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