WB Games PS3 (Review Copy) Xbox 360
Ooooh SHIT! It's a new Suda 51 Game! If you didn't also go "Ooooh SHIT!" when you read the words 'Suda 51' allow me to explain why you should have. Imagine drinking beers with your buddies, knocking heads together to create the most epic video game EVAR. After a few beers, you would have come up with the most INSANE and off the wall ideas right? Cuz fuck it, why not? Well... where you will usually just stumble home and never think about your drunken gaming convo again, Suda 51's Grasshopper Studios took notes, and got to work making that exact game. Take Killer 7, No More Heroes and last year's Shadows of the Damned for example. All fucking insane, all fucking awesome. So here we go, right? Lollipop Chainsaw! Another Suda 51 trip! Well... um... maybe reel the excitement back a little bit, okay hombre?
So Juliet Starling is a cheerleader at San Romero High, and today is her 18th birthday! Other than providing the excuse to make all the sexual jokes okay, this is important because of all days, today is the day for the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. See, the thing is that Juliet comes from a family of zombie hunters. So when the dead roam the earth, it's this bubbly cheerleader's job to take her enchanted chainsaw, and chainsaw the shit out of them. If that weren't incentive enough, her boyfriend has been bitten, and would be among the chainsaw'ed if it wasn't for Juliet's intervention – and some sort of anti zombie incantation. So carrying his still living head, Juliet has her work cut out for her.
Juliet's basically Buffy the vampire slayer; all acrobatic and tough and experienced. To top it off, she's got a magic chainsaw, so killing zombies should be cake right? NOPE. And this right here is Lollipop Chainsaw's downfall. For all the time spent crafting the perfectly wacky premise, the combat is lacking heavily. Sure Juliet's agile, but even a fully leveled-up Juliet takes FOREVER to kill zombies. It would be one thing if this were a standard survival horror type game, but EVERYTHING about Lollipop Chainsaw is geared toward the fact that Juliet is abnormally powerful (if a bit airheaded). Whereas in other action games, where the combat feels visceral, one would expect the acts of destruction to be more satisfying. What's worse is Juliet's damage output aside, the combat feels repetitive. Hit zombie, hit zombie, quick-time event, wash, rinse, repeat. Also of note is the camera, with strange angle switches in the middle of gameplay. It can be a bit disorienting, especially considering the chaotic nature of the game. All of this is a shame considering that the game atmosphere is spectacular. It's a perfect mix of camp, raunch and undead farce. It's sort of like if one merged Evil Dead, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie, not the good, but waaaay to serious Whedon series) and Legally Blonde. Wait... Legally Blonde sucked, but Juliet most resembles the Reese Witherspoon character, which thanks to the balancing effect of her dismembered boyfriends head, actually works in a strange, twisted way.
Believe me when I tell you I want to sing the praises of Lollipop Chainsaw. I love Suda 51's games and his over the top take on gaming. I love the premise, and I'm the kinda guy who laughs at dick jokes, so this game is tailor made for my juvenile sense of humor. I want to tell you that this is the perfect marriage of the zombie movies and rainbows, but I can't. Lollipop Chainsaw is not bad, but the saddest part is if only Juliet were a little bit stronger... it would've been awesome. | RDW
Game of Thrones
Atlus Xbox 360 (Review Copy) PS3
Living the jet-set high society life of the Real Detroit Weekly Playable columnist can be pretty taxing. Between spontaneous midnight flights to France for crepes and high stakes strip baccarat with Brazilian models, one may struggle to find time to fit in the simpler things in life. Like watching Game of Thrones. From what I'm told, it's a fantastic show, but my first-hand knowledge of the show (and the books) are lacking. So as I load the game adaptation into my Xbox 360, I walk into this game with zero background. With that said, what I experienced was an RPG with an intriguing storyline and odd choices for the combat.
Game of Thrones is presented from the perspective of two different characters, of which you alternate between control of. Mors the Skinchanger, is a member of the Nights Watch, Where Alester is a Red Priest who returns to his home after a 15-year exile. At first the storylines are not connected, but there have been enough developments in each individual storyline that by the time the two stories converge, it's pretty badass. The overall tone of the storyline is bleak and morose as fuck, which works well for what we're given. Unfortunately, the voice acting isn't particularly good, and the graphics are quite poor, but the storyline is strong enough to forgive the somewhat disappointing presentation.
Gameplay on the other hand could use a bit of work. Using a system similar to Dragon Age Origins, you will choose your combat actions in three slots. Unfortunately, the act of this is a bit clunky, where you have to pull up your ability wheel to choose said actions, and there's no way to map these abilities to any other buttons on your controller, forcing you to pull up that wheel waaaay too many times. As a whole, the combat doesn't feel satisfying, as it comes down to your character standing in front of your enemy, attacking in a manner that is reminiscent of Rock Em Sock Em robots. Usually games like this depend on leveling up and grinding for loot, but unfortunately, even at higher levels you don't really feel all that much stronger than you did starting out, and none of the loot is particularly awe-inspiring.
As far as a game goes, there's a lot to be disappointed in, but the storyline is interesting enough for fans to trudge through. Even with no knowledge of the source material, I was intrigued enough to keep going (if only to find out what happens next), which is an accomplishment in and of itself. Unfortunately, outside of that, there's not much to like here. | RDW