An elite group of assassins known as the "Killer7" are tasked with carrying out hits on behalf of the United Stats government. These seven deadly killers are trained to eliminate bizarre creatures known as "Heaven Smiles," or unfortunate folks who have become infected with a biological agent of the same name. The catch? All seven assassins are the same person. Figure that one out. That's the plot of Killer7, a cult classic game that's been given a new lease on life thanks to an upcoming HD remake this fall. You're going to want to get it, and here's why.
Japanese video game writer-designer Goichi Suda, known as Suda51, absolutely knocked it out of the park with his bizarre on-rails shooter when it originally debuted on PlayStation 2 and GameCube. Unconventional, violent, and smacking of cult appeal, the cult hit resonated with audiences everywhere. Gimps, gorgeous hitwomen, and a variety of strange enemies created a disconcerting atmosphere with a surprise twist of an ending. And Grasshopper Manufacture, seeing how much we liked Killer7, brought us No More Heroes, proving that you can't have too much of a good thing.
Just in case you missed out on the game when it debuted back in 2005, Killer7 is arriving on PC via Steam for an upgraded HD version with gorgeous scaling for modern resolutions, and improved performance so that it can run flawlessly on newer tech.
Killer7 is a unique experience, from its plot to its inventive on-rails shooting system. You take on the role of whichever on-screen character you're currently playing as with a third-person view behind the shoulder. It fuses elements of both first-person shooter and action-adventure games, forcing you to move along a predetermined path while letting you aim and take fire at oncoming enemies. Some exploration is required, of course, as you might need to opt where to turn at various intersections and interact with the environment to solve various puzzles.
But where the game truly shines is during its combat phases, during which you'll take on the nefarious Heaven Smiles. With a creepy giggle, they'll appear out of nowhere, and are actually invisible at the start of the fight. You'll need to swap to first-person view if you want to bring them into view, and start nailing various body parts to take them out. They're pretty terrifying, especially if you happen to play at night, but only because you can't see where they're coming from. The entire game's like that, but that's part of what makes it so awesome to begin with.
The aesthetic is firmly rooted in cel-shaded graphics, but there are also particular scenes created to look like scenes from an anime, such as the introduction of the Power Rangers-esque Handsome Men group. But the music's got it going on, too. From the danceable EDM tune "Rave On," which willl get you out of your seat and shakin' what your mama gave you, to the brooding "Dissociative Identity," Killer7's got an excellent soundtrack as well, punctuating all the best moments, adding levity to the serious bits and oozing style for others.
No longer will you have to rely on the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions with their pixelated, grainy textures to enjoy the game. You won't have to purchase older copies to give it a try. You can hop right on Steam and look at what you've been missing all this time, and it's going to be awesome, for both new and old players.
It's been 13 years since the game debuted, and it's about time for another round with the Smiths. Are you ready?