Lollipop Chainsaw review
Tue, 26 Jun 2012 10:43a.m.
By Daniel Rutledge
A sexy young cheerleader dances around zombies with a chainsaw, hacking and slashing them to pieces as coloured stars, rainbows and glitter burst from their wounds. As far as style goes, this game has a particularly great one.
If you haven't watched the trailer or seen any promotional material for this game yet, watch the video embedded below as that gives a great indication of Lollipop Chainsaw's style. And it's almost a case of style over substance.
How much you'll enjoy this game really depends on how much it appeals to you stylistically. If you really love that clip above, you'll probably have a good old time with the whole game. However when the novelty factor wears off, which for me was pretty quickly, a lot of joy is drained out of it all.
Aesthetically, it is a winner. The crazy, very Japanese feeling mashup of cutesy school girl stuff with zombie violence is super fun, the camerawork is appropriately sleazy, the menus are cool comic book pages... presentation wise, things are all good.
Where the game falls down is largely in the writing and I'm quite surprised James Gunn (Super, PG Porn) has delivered such a disappointment with his first game. It's fair to call the game an out and out comedy and as such it pretty much fails. The pun-driven humour misses far more often than it hits, which is a shame as it could’ve been so great.
But this is a game, not a movie, and it's easier to let several crappy jokes slide in favour of some of its other thrills. And Lollipop Chainsaw knows that despite all its B-movie charm, it is very much just a videogame, and not one of these "gritty, realistic" modern games that take themselves too seriously either. Enemies often spout giant gold tokens when killed and smashing rubbish bins causes them to disappear and be replaced by more giant gold tokens. That's about as videogame-esque as you can get.
The gameplay is a predictable button-masher hack ‘n’ slash affair with some simple combos thrown into the mix. It's the most boring at the start as you have no special moves to perform. As you progress through the game you can unlock new combos or improvements to health, strength, recovery and chainsaw upgrades etc.
There are a few fresh and satisfying elements in the combat. Certain moves are rewarded with slow-motion animations or a special song kicking in to signify a brief period of one-hit kills and super moves. The boss battles are sometimes very cool too. Slicing a tough boss in two through with the control stick can be nice and rewarding. Others are just like big zombies though and simply require more hits.
It's pretty easy to get through the game quickly on its Normal difficulty setting, but that's not such a bad thing due to the fact that much of its appeal lies in its novelty factor. There are multiple costumes and various other things to unlock if you are really into it all.
I love that this is a brand new intellectual property with such a strong unique flavour, especially as the gaming industry is rapidly following Hollywood down the road to hell of sequel after sequel after reboot after prequel.
I just wish the story and dialogue was as iconic as the game’s aesthetics and the gameplay was a little more innovative.
Three and a half stars.
:: Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
:: Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
:: Format: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
:: Rating: R16
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