I put this game on my Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2012 list. I was excited. Why? Because of the involvement of Suda51. His series No More Heroes is brilliant to me (and even better when ported to the PS3), and after playing it, I found Killer7 to be damn good as well. Suda is a great writer, and his games have some of the funniest dialogue and some of the most entertaining stories in recent years. So, after playing through Lollipop Chainsaw, I feel a bit betrayed. This was one of the few games coming out in 2012 I was sure was going to be good. Well, it’s not. It isn’t terrible, but I think Suda and a lot of other game designers need to understand that you can have a compelling story, funny writing, and great characters, but at the end of the day, if the gameplay is lacking, 9 times out of 10 it’s not going to be fun (the 1 being Silent Hill 2). And really, that’s Lollipop Chainsaw in a nutshell: lacking.
The gameplay is sub-par, and in the worst possible way. It works on a heavy attack, low attack, light attack system, featuring a light attack you will never ever use. Tell me, when you have a chainsaw attack which kills them in 6 hits on normal mode, why would you use a pom-pom attack that takes 11 and that you have to combine with the chainsaw attack anyway! So you will end up mashing Y (or triangle) until your finger bleeds against enemies that never alter their tactic of hitting the chainsaw wielding zombie hunter in the face by running up to her, pausing for a second to think about that shopping list they should have written, and then hitting her although by that point they already been chainsawed in the chest. So yeah the AI is pretty crappy, and the enemies have virtually no variety. “Oh look,” you will find yourself saying, “that one has a health bar! That one have a football helmet on! That one’s holding a chair!” It’s pretty bad when the most you can differentiate between each zombie is the type of coat they have on.
One of the game’s greatest strengths is it’s visual presentation. I know I just ragged on the lack of enemy variety, but the general look of the game is great. The bright colours, the cel-shaded comic book feel, and great looking cutscenes are all a welcome addition. Another great part is the boss fights. While it does boil down to essentially just hitting things in certain places, the actual bosses are really entertaining and represent a different area of rock music, while Juliet represents pop music, making for a cool culture clash subtext to the whole thing (I think we can all agree Zed is the best thing in the game). The game also has a very large number of collectibles that range from music to costumes. Speaking of costumes, this is the game for people who like their fanservice in bucket-loads. The clothes you can unlock range from skimpy to down right fetishistic. It’s not enjoyable to watch. I’m going to do something I hate doing, but I’m going to quote another critic here. As Yahtzee said in his review of Mortal Kombat, “it’s like watching midget on giraffe porn. I’m certainly not getting off on it, but I know somebody in the world is, and that’s what really disturbs me. ”
Lollipop Chainsaw is possibly the biggest let down this year. Only surpassed by the ending of Mass Effect 3. The gameplay is just badly designed, the enemies are boring, and possibly the worst thing, I completed it on normal in 4 hours! At £39.99 it’s simply too short. The game also features minigames which have such vast changes in the quality of the controls it feels like you’ve got the controller submerged in mud, and goddamn quick time events! QTEs are now officially the plague of gaming. Anyway, I really can’t recommend Lollipop Chainsaw even though the writing and graphical presentation are fantastic. That could save it if it was a movie, but games are a primarily interactive medium, and if the interactive element sucks, you’re don’t have a good game. So, Suda, take a break, and please, for the love of god, please, make a game that doesn’t control like crap.
Originally posted on Game Node.