Japan Review Check: Killer is Dead

A quick look at the most interesting games coming out next week in Japan, courtesy of Famitsu magazine's review pages:

- Killer is Dead (9/9/9/8, 35 out of 40 points): The latest from Suda51 and the gang at Grasshopper Manufacture earns a Platinum award from Famitsu, seemingly out of sheer force of impact. "The unique world setting isn't for everyone," began editor Reona Ebihara, "but the exacting balance between hilarity and insanity is definitely worth seeing for yourself! The airy, fast-tempo action lets you do all these flashy attacks even with button mashing, so it's great to play. There are a lot of features packed in here, making it seem a bit complex at first, but there's a certain depth to it that makes it a lot more approachable than you'd think, which I like."

"The intricately detailed and unique game world is so wonderful," added Jigoro Ashida. "It really feels artistic to me. The atmosphere can change just like that with each mission, which adds to the charm. The difficulty's a bit on the high side, but the better you get at the controls, the cooler you start looking onscreen, which inspires you to keep going."

According to Famitsu writer Motoki Shinohara, though, Killer is Dead suffers from the somewhat unfriendly controls that you see in a lot of Grasshopper titles. "The game's hard overall," he wrote, "but taking advantage of the weapons (which offer a wide variety of ways to attack) gives you a lot of battle strategy to work with. However, some of the battle controls are a bit lacking in explanation, which leads to some unnecessary stress."

- Metro: Last Light (9/9/9/8, 35 points): Considering that this Ukrainian horror FPS' Japanese localization comes by way of English by way of Russian, Famitsu's editors had a lot of great things to say about it. "Being a direct sequel from the last game, the plot's lacking a little bit in exposition," Ebihara wrote. "But the way the world's built up down to the last detail is amazing! Even the mob-level characters have full Japanese voices, and you can really lose yourself in this game in a fun way. The stealth bits that take advantage of the darkness are pretty fun, and overall the game offers a lot more thrills than the previous one."

"There are lots of games that take place in an apocalyptic near future," Shinohara added, "but the atmosphere created by this intricately-made, surreal world is a level above the rest. The heavily analog feel that pervades your equipment add another unique taste to the game, and the localization really shines too. You can't help but be pulled into this world."

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