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The Relevancy of Killer7
There are games out there that, despite being several years or even decades old, still manage to withstand the test of time. Others, unfortunately, aren’t that lucky. The extent to which a game can be considered relevant these days relies on a number of different factors. Graphics, sound, and gameplay are all important in determining how well a game holds up years after its initial release. But one factor that isn’t measured all that often is originality. Killer7 from famed Japanese director Goichi Suda is easily one of the most unique games ever developed for the sixth generation of video games (PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube), and while it was something of a cult classic during the time after its release, it provided an enthralling experience that not many gamers “got." Those who did, however, found that Killer7 was a work of ingenuity.
But is the game any good these days? How well do the game’s specs hold up during the current console generation? Simply put, is Killer7 a competent, playable title to this very day?
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How Does the Presentation Hold Up?
These days, video game consoles push technical boundaries with their impressive visual design and often-orchestrated soundtracks. Titles such as Gears of War and Uncharted offer some of the most stunning, visually-pleasing graphics ever seen. The realism is unprecedented, the animations are fluid, and the artistry is surreal. When Killer7 was released for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube back in 2005, consoles hadn’t reached the standards that they have now. Sure, everything looked pretty good and CG cutscenes made for some awesome storytelling, but in-game graphics really paled in comparison to today’s consoles.
But while something like that is to be expected, there is one aspect in video game presentation that has managed to withstand all standards: art. As old-school as some games may be, plenty of titles offer artistry in their visual design that far surpasses technical standards. Classic titles such as Super Mario Bros. 3 still look great these days, and it’s because they offer aesthetic values that don’t need to be realistic to be good.
Killer7 does exactly that. Featuring a cel-shaded visual style that’s both artsy and unique, the offbeat action game from Capcom and developer Grasshopper Manufacture most definitely looks pretty good these days. There are a few jagged corners here and there, and the graphics certainly lend themselves to a more polygonal style than graphics junkies may be used to, but it’s safe to say that Killer7 still looks pretty damn good.
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How Well Does the Game Play?
Presentation is one thing, but gameplay is a completely different beast. Oftentimes, games are highly enjoyable due to their gameplay only to suffer because of it years after their release. It’s a shame that some games don’t age as well as fans would hope, but it’s a common effect given the constantly changing standards in the industry. Killer7 does not suffer from this negative aging of gameplay, and this is due to just how ahead of its time the gameplay was back in 2005. In fact, the argument can be made that Killer7 is still ahead of its time today.
Offering a varying blend of gameplay styles, this title manages to create a compelling package that’s not only engrossing, but also very enjoyable throughout its entirety. You switch between playable characters, and while each of them has many of the same functions, they all offer something a little unique to the game. One player can unlock any door; another can run faster than the rest; and another can even blow up cracked walls. You utilize each character's abilities to get through stages that often seem puzzle-like in their design, and because you can switch characters on the fly, the game remains fresh the whole time.
Killer7 takes elements from the adventure, FPS, and puzzle genres. Plenty of games have tried to combine multiple gameplay elements only to fail in the process. Grasshopper Manufacture’s enjoyable action game manages to undertake this task nearly flawlessly, which makes it really stand out among the slew of modern releases.
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Still Playable? Heck Yeah!
There are countless titles that don’t live up to the standards of the ever-changing video game industry. Killer7 manages to shine even to this very day. And while some gamers may argue that 2005 wasn’t too long ago, there are a handful of titles released that year that just don’t cut it these days. Killer7 has become a cult classic since its launch, but it has aged very well. If you can still find a copy of the game (GameStop sells it for about $6), definitely pick it up and play it. It’s far more unique than some of today’s titles, and it’s a surreal ride thanks to its gameplay variety and riveting story. Oh, and it looks pretty good, too.