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Killer7 Retrospective

Catch up with was one of the legendary 'Capcom Five'...

With its aggressively esoteric premise (an elite band of assassins co-exist in the shattered mind of their wheelchair- bound mentor? Okaaaay) and manga-meets-brutalism visuals with more than a slight whiff of S&M, it's easy to write off Killer7 as, well, y'know, a bit of an oddball.

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Especially once you factor in the gameplay - essentially an on-rails lightgun shooter only, erm, without a lightgun. So it was no surprise that it didn't really play that well to the Call Of Duty crowd, even though the shooting mechanic was actually drum tight, offering a perfect blend of risk/reward as you tried to steady your aim while grinning, zomboid suicide bombers (the Heaven Smiles) staggered towards the screen.

But it isn't the taut gunplay or startling graphics that make Killer7 almost unique as a videogame. The reason Suda51 and Shinji Mikami's collaboration is so special is its shattering, and genuinely emotional, climax, which dismantles everything you've seen and played up until that point.

No spoilers here, because you really should track a copy down, but in the final revelation Garcian Smith - who, brilliantly, is the most conservatively skilled of the Smiths, and therefore the one the player has likely used the least - is thrown centre stage.

At the same time the player's preconceptions crumble and much, but not all, of the weirdness is peeled back to reveal a complex plot about election rigging, woven together with dark themes of repressed guilt and the fallibility of memory. Kirby Air Ride it ain't.

In fact, in terms of tone and effect, the climax of Killer7 most closely echoes the final reel of David Lynch's Mullholland Drive. In both, the finale is like a hall of mirrors coming into sudden focus. Not that the resolution makes conventional sense, of course. Where would be the fun in that?

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Instead, the player is left to explore forum threads in which baffled/delighted fans try to piece the exact plot together. The mystery is somehow all the more satisfying because it can't be solved completely. And anyway, as the Smith syndicate's supposed nemesis Kun Lan says at the end: "Harman, the world won't change. All it does is turn. Now, let's dance."

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