Another intriguing take on the zombie killing genre.
June 21, 2012 8:50 amJames Fay
Version tested: Xbox 360
I don't know what just happened, but it was interesting.
When I started Lollipop Chainsaw I wasn't sure what to expect, but then again, who could? But very quickly after being introduced to our spunky heroine Juliet and her zombie hunting family…I still wasn't sure what I was getting myself into.
The game is rife with both visual and audio comedy; a factor that kept this action game from getting very stale very fast. The voice acting is excellent, with a good cast of characters with some really funny dialogue at times. The style is very campy and silly, with a bit of a grindhouse feel. There are some clear influences by comic books and Japanimation that pop up as well, adding to the variety the game brings. The music is also great; finding plenty of comedy by doing things like playing "Hey Mickey" when you use Juliet's full "sparkle meter".
Visually the game has some cool animations, interesting characters and varied locations that go well with its arty style. The characters all look quite good, and there is plenty of detail put into each one. There are also quite a variety of different zombies. They don't just have different skins, many have different skills and there are plenty of high-powered zombies scattered about, some of which get some individualization to their looks.
But it's not just about flash; it's also about substance. While the game has plenty of variations for Juliet's chainsaw to mutilate zombies it is hard not to simply stick with the few that work best. The game comes with plenty of combos you can unlock throughout; most of them only change or add a button so it usually just comes down to mashing the same few buttons. There are slight changes too, Juliet gets some nifty attachments to her chainsaw and her boyfriend Nick finds ways to help from time to time (and hilariously).
The game tries to change up objectives and find ways to make similar ones interesting in their own right. It worked for me for my play through, but it didn't leave me wanting to go back and play through again (especially since some of the upgrades can't be used on previous stages).
The gameplay itself was a little clunky, it wanted you to use a very Batman: Arkham Asylum styling of fighting using dodges to keep combos alive, but I never found there to be much drive in the points system. Rewards can be unlocked for getting high enough scores, but I found it difficult to string together combos for long because zombies will usually find a way to hit you, occasionally ignoring attacks and ruining your streak.
However, if you can manage to weaken enough zombies and take out at least three at once you'll get bonus points for "sparkle hunting". This is one of the areas you get graded on at the end of each level. Even with good clear times, no deaths, and plenty of kills if you don't do well with coins and sparkle hunting you're usually looking at a C or low B for a grade. The single player story doesn't take too long, each level takes around an hour or a little more and there are seven stages. With the cut scenes etc. it comes in around ten hours. Which seems a little slim for a full priced game. There is no multiplayer to speak of, but they try and make it seem like competing on the leaderboards should count… It doesn't.
The game comes with plenty of unlockables but I didn't find many of them too appealing. There are moves, upgrades for Juliet, costumes, songs, and concept art. Aside from upgrades, costumes, and the occasional new move I didn't find interest in many things, and I wasn't earning many coins since that takes big combos.
I'm sure I'd be able to accomplish more on a second play through, but I just didn't find myself thinking it'd be exciting and worth it. Most of the fun came from the initial comedy and by the end of the game I was finding much of the gameplay stale. There were some fun mini games built in but they too started to wear thin.
To clarify, I did enjoy my time with Lollipop Chainsaw. However, that was a short time, and I think it was best left that way. By the end of the game I didn't feel compelled to go back and do it again. But while I was on my first run I was certainly enjoying myself and having plenty of laughs at some of the insanity and absurdity of the game. Except the baseball minigame...that one I did not enjoy one bit. This game definitely differentiates itself from other hack and slash actions games, but there's just not enough of it. This is definitely a rent, borrow, or secondhand game. If you can get it by any of those means, you are in for a good time that is totally worth the price of admission. And please, don't try to look up her skirt… she's in high school.
Very cool visual style, plenty of detail in each character and locale.
Excellent voice acting with great music and sound effects.
Plenty of variety, starts to run stale by the end.
Didn’t feel drawn in for more, no multiplayer.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10