Ingredients for a great game go sour.
By Stephen Heller - Bio
What Lollipop Chainsaw Got Right
|+ Arcade beat 'em up action
||+ Great upgrade system
|+ Fitting soundtrack
||+ Fun factor is through the roof
What Lollipop Chainsaw Got Wrong
|- Too short
||- Gameplay becomes repetitive
|- Borderline inappropriate
||- Combo system is under-utilised
Suda 51 has a cult following these days. His unconventional titles such as Killer 7, No More Heroes and most recently Shadows of the Damned are often talked about in gaming circles, yet fail to reach blockbuster status. His latest effort, Lollipop Chainsaw, is oozing with Suda 51 charm, but relies on offensive humour and tedious gameplay to pull it through.
Check out the official trailer!
Players fill the shoes of a Juliet Starling, a young cheerleader who happens to be a zombie hunter in her spare time. On her 18th birthday, zombies take over her school and her boyfriend Nick is bitten and starts to turn. So Juliet does what every zombie-hunting girlfriend would do... chops his head off and wears it as a belt.
That's the kind of bat shit crazy story we're dealing with here, but it wouldn't be a Suda 51 game if the narrative was "normal". Along the way you'll uncover more about Juliet's family history, learn how the zombie rock and roll lords are controlling the outbreak, and eventually how we live alongside two other dimensions who are trying to break into our world.
Sounds cool, right?
That's exactly what Lollipop Chainsaw is, cool. It reeks of pop culture references, and the fantastic punk rock soundtrack really makes it feel like a living, breathing comic from the 80's unfolding on your screen. This kind of ludicrous action could only exist in video games, and in that respect Lollipop Chainsaw, at times, is the most exciting game I've played in years. However at other moments, it becomes nothing more than an embarrassment for gamers.
Abhorrent dialogue such as "Time to get hardcore you zombie huntin' slut" and gratitude from rescued teens claiming "I'm totally going to masterbate over you tonight" are unnecessary and beyond inappropriate.
Before we get into the negatives however, let's talk about the gameplay. Juliet is capable of pulling off a number of sweet combos using her pom poms and her chainsaw to obliterate zombies. As you progress you will collect coins which can then be spent at the Chop Shop to unlock more combos and upgrades. While there are plenty of items and combos to unlock, most of them are fairly useless as the entire game can be completed with just a handful of moves.
After the first few levels it becomes apparent that the main task at hand is getting from point A to point B. The same type of zombies fill the screens as you slice and dice your way from one attack to the next, making Lollipop Chainsaw a repetitive affair. The inclusion of online leaderboards for scores and combos will keep things interesting, if you have friends who are also playing the game.
He talks to her arse for a good 5 minutes, no joke!
The big drawcard are the boss fights, which are certainly unique in every definition of the word. Each of the bosses are memorable and challenging, and it really makes you wish that as much time and effort had been put into the main level designs. As a result however, you are compelled to keep on going just so you can see how Suda 51 is going to top his last boss effort.
While Lollipop Chainsaw has unique and interesting characters throughout the entire game, they are never explored or given a chance to grow. Along with a cast of interesting yet shallow characters are some rather questionable dialogue exchanges that really bring the game down.
Abhorrent dialogue such as "Time to get hardcore you zombie huntin' slut" and gratitude from rescued teens claiming "I'm totally going to masterbate over you tonight" are unnecessary and beyond inappropriate. Not only does it bring down the entire gameplay experience, but it adds more fuel to the fire that gaming is not a serious entertainment medium. While I understand that this is all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, it's not even remotely funny and quite frankly, offensive.
The Final Verdict
Lollipop Chainsaw has all the right ingredients to make another cult hit for Suda 51, yet it falls flat thanks to repetitive level design. shallow characters and borderline offensive dialogue. While the online mode should offer some legs if you have friends playing the game, chances are this will only appeal to existing fans of Suda 51's unique style.
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