"Visually striking and memorably weird, but otherwise unremarkable" is how we described Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture's latest game in our Killer Is Dead review.
Other reviews of the title have started to appear online and we've rounded them up below for your consideration, with scores and short excerpts from each.
- OXM: 4/10 - I've not felt wronged by a game to this degree in a long time. Hatred just about captures the emotion. Killer is Dead has the kernel of an acceptable game, swathed in unlikable characters, a Benny Hill attitude to women, alienating self-regard and some obnoxious gameplay decisions. It's impossible to recommend.
- Polygon: 4.5 - Killer is Dead would almost work as a parody of some of the worst elements of the last twenty years of video games, were it not so dead serious - and pathetically incompetent. Grasshopper Manufacture has made a name for bucking and subverting conventions and traditional ideas of good taste, but they've never made a game this mean-spirited, or deeply mechanically flawed.
- IGN: 5.0 - When compared to combat in games like DmC and Metal Gear Rising, Killer is Dead comes out feeling uninspired and underwhelming. The past few years have supplied us with more competent action games, more fully realized and stylish worlds, and much more interesting forays into marrying video games with mature sexual themes. Killer is Dead contains a handful of good ideas that are sadly marred by a wealth of technical flaws, tonal inconsistencies, and an offensively juvenile attitude toward sexuality.
- Joystiq: 3.5/5 - As much as the Gigolo mode detracts from Killer Is Dead, like much of Grasshopper's fare there's something to be enjoyed underneath the dirt, and at least this time it's optional. Put that to one side if you can, and Killer Is Dead is a return to form. Its combat is neat if still a bit limited, and its dark direction and weird narrative a bit tainted by self-indulgence, but this is still a Grasshopper grindhouse romp worth most of its issues. The danger, I guess, will always be one drink too many.
- GamesRadar: 3.5/5 - Killer Is Dead successfully separates itself from the pack, but it doesn't live up to all its potential. It ends too soon, is padded with reused areas, and suffers from tech problems that should be defunct. It's a credit to the design that it's still worth playing in spite of all that. If you want to experience something that revels in its strangeness, those obstacles are worth overcoming; it's just a shame they had to compromise this inventive title.
- Next-Gen Gaming Blog: 7/10 - Whilst the story-telling and characterisation could certainly have been better, the biggest criticism that can be levied at Killer is Dead is that there simply should be more of it. It looks good, it sounds good, and it even plays good: this is Grasshopper on some of their sharpest form to date. Whilst action fans are likely to find its shortcomings in volume made up elsewhere, it's unlikely to convert those outside looking in.
- God Is A Geek: 7/10 - Killer is Dead is a fun and incredibly solid action game released in a year when it had to be exemplary. Taking cues from its contemporaries, particularly Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, Grasshopper's hack and slash tale of moon power and misogyny is an entertaining diversion, particularly narratively and artistically, but its gameplay unfortunately lacks the inventiveness or ingenuity to see it mature into a truly timeless action game.
- Destructoid: 7/10A slightly quirky Japanese action game that felt like it could have came from any number of developers. The action isn't truly technical but it works, and the cast and narrative don't have that Suda quality charm, but they're interesting enough to compel you to keep playing. If you're a pure action fan, this is just another game to eat up -- for everyone else, there's not a whole lot for you to enjoy in Killer is Dead.
- Eurogamer: 5/10 At various points, Killer is Dead shoots for the visual surrealism of El Shaddai, the hyperbolic intensity of Asura's Wrath, the oddball melodrama of Deadly Premonition, the extravagant showmanship of Bayonetta. It misses by a wide margin every time. Those games are punk, but Killer is Dead is just posturing. It's just product.