Friday, January 18, 2008

The Killers are here.

MOJO RISIN

A review of Killer-7

On the stroke of midnight, I had a real hangover. It was headstrong; it hurt my head hard. I got up, put down the controller, and removed the Killer -7 disc from my console. I had been playing this game continuously for more than three days. I had an inner calling or desire to finish this game, I really did. What did I get from spending three nights playing one of the most fun- idiotic- psychotic- headstrong-frustrating, which slaps you, hard in the face game? Challenge. It stimulated an inner zeal, and I had a sudden urge to accomplish the impossible (Yeah, playing through the game seemed like an uphill task). Mind you people, I really was not having an emotional connection, and if some of you really experienced an emotional connection with those cold-blooded- hard-hitting assassin. It could be called a “Fairy Tale”.

It is only after completing the game one does realize the true greatness of this game. Hideo Kojima says that a “videogame story” is not really a story that needs to be told so much, as it is something to keep the player pressing buttons and advancing the flow. He says the he told the story of Metal Gear Solid-2 the way he did, simply because that kind of a story could only be told in a videogame. The same bar holds true for Killer-7. I had a hard time trying to follow the story. It may seem coherent at first, but it really get’s absurd and perverted. The story talks about WW2 politics, democracy, suicide, homicide, terrorism, kidnapping, slavery etc .You name the most perverted stuff, and it’s present in the game in some form or the other. I realized such a story, which is an amalgamation of all things weird could only be told through such an interactive medium. However, when the game breaks the notion of empowering the gamer, with freedom, liberty, and non-linear approach to accomplishing a goal or task, the pure meaning of video games becomes misnomer. Suffice to say, the game simply overlooks this factor. Nevertheless, it was sheer inquisitiveness on my part for the story and the characters, which prompted me to stick to the game.



Killer-7 is a very confined and predetermined game, where you cannot do what you want. You can only do as much as the game requires. Nothing more, nothing less, there is no complex puzzle, no extra layer of cheesy stuff. The game follows a simple rule of the thumb; hear spooky chuckles- Get ready shoot and move ahead. People proclaim how coke liberates them as individual, and they are magically transformed into a new person; the new person is an alter ego of oneself. The same fundamental holds true for Killer-7. The game let’s you control seven cold hard assassins, who are alter ego of a man in a wheel chair called, Harman Smith. Harman Smith is the leader of this seven nation army. The most unusual and weird thing about Harman Smith is that he carries an extraordinary powerful sniper canon, in spite of being confined to a wheel chair. On the other hand, each of the alter egos of Harman Smith has their own unique characteristics as an assassin. They have their unique set of arsenal to blast asses around. Whether it’s Gracian, Dan, Kaede, Coyote, Mask De, or Con Smith each of them are stylish gun –wielding-butt-kicking-bastard, except one sun-of-a-gun, Kevin. He is a man of no words, he let’s his knives do the talking; beside he has this unique ability to turn invisible. This made his really unique. I really liked the choice of switching between characters. Further, it does not guarantee your chances of immorality. Moreover, if Gracian Smith is killed it’s game over folks. With the weirdest and offending sound, you will ever hear in video games. The adventure part or let us just say moving around in a predetermined path is done mainly in third-person, while shooting is first-person. In the beginning, it is frustrating and confusing; however, if you manage to hang on there, it becomes second nature.

Like it or not, but you often bump into the two most unique and weird people in the game- Iwazaru and Travis. Iwazaru is man in red clad jump suit, whose real purpose I could never figure out, he was there as guide, mentor or just there for the spooks I don’ know cause he rarely spoke anything useful. Unbelievably, Travis is the first person whom Harman killed, and against all odds, he is there, trying to explain you the plot, which in the Japanese version of the game was difficult to follow. In spite of the audio being in English, it was very distorted and hard to follow. Surprisingly the soundtrack really shines, in fact, it really helps you get into the mood, and the mix of styles used perfectly suits the whole atmosphere. I am no graphic whore. But for most people the biggest draw was the graphics It’s nothing of Splinter Cell, Final Fantasy or Metal Gear Solid kind of. Instead, all the characters have low-polygon models, which are not very detailed. Nevertheless, it’s the incredible use of shadows, which really makes the game shine. Furthermore, the unconventional approach is perfectly suited for a game like this; beside it really creates an engrossing atmosphere.

The creators of the game, Shinji Mikami (Producer) and Suda 51(Director) knew it would be love or hate relationship with this game. Suda 51 is more like the artist type, he is the Tim Burton of Japan, as Hiroyuki Kobayashi had mentioned in one of his interviews. His vision for the game certainly breaks the law or tradition of game, which makes the game unique, weird, and somewhat creepy. It feels more like a never-ending orientation of contemporary art. The game is more like an art. Its does let you make your own conclusion on the work and your thoughts on the game, however, when it come to really viewing it one does from the artist perspective. After all, it is his vision, his work, and Killer-7 operates in the same fundamental.

In spite of all its unconventional approach, ambience, and methodology it is definitely refreshing. Beside in a market filled with sequel, prequel, GTA Clone, WW2 shooters, Rooster Updates Sports Games. Killer-7 is unique and exciting videogame.

No comments: