I went into this one really wanting to like it. I have a tendency to go for the kind of seemingly-misogynist garbage that comes out of Japan from time to time just for the sheer heck of it. I’m a big fan of Conception 2, for instance, and I usually actually really like dating sims. The aesthetic on offer here is really something to behold. The cell-shaded noir look really stands out, and the combat is fun and stylish, if a bit shallow compared to the genre it’s imitating.
I was willing, at the outset, to forgive a lot on the part of one of my favorite developers, here, but in the end I just can’t see myself spending a whole lot of time with this one. The disingenuously-named “Gigolo” missions are just far too distasteful in execution to be worthwhile. Basically, I want to cringe myself into a black hole after having completed the first one. We’re talking about a game wherein the explicit goal is to ogle a woman’s breasts and crotch *while she’s not looking* in order to fill a “guts meter” which allows you to give her a present. You do this enough times, Mondo gives the camera a thumbs up and takes the polygons off screen (presumably, to fuck her), and she’ll give you some sort of phallic weapon. The first one you get is a giant drill. If she catches you looking, her mood meter decreases, but you can fill it up again by averting your eyes for like 2 seconds.
Now, some of you might find this sort of thing hilarious, and hey, good for you. Personally, I’m not really sure where to begin untangling the Gordian knot of SUDA51’s apparent issues with women, here. The misogyny in the game is actually layered so thickly, it makes me feel as though I’m being tricked into outrage or something, which in turn makes me want to roll my eyes at how juvenile that is, as a development goal for a video game studio. So, you win, SUDA, if you were trying to troll me, cool. You succeeded. But the game is such artless trash that it doesn’t really inspire outrage so much as it does pity in me for the bundle of neuroses that must be crouched in some dark corner of the mind of the person who would deliberately make such a game and release it into the wild as-is.
I’m all for depictions of sex and sexuality in video games; I think it’s a subject that should be explored more often and more in depth. It’s an important part of being a human. But what’s depicted in Killer is Dead isn’t sex. It’s masturbation. It’s what teenage virgins think sex is like, complete with the total absence of depiction of any actual sex.
I made it about as far as the crazy woman in a great deal of pain repeatedly shouting that “it hurts” as she transforms into a giant bug (which you then dismember a leg at a time in a Zelda sort of boss format) before calling it quits. You win, Killer Is Dead. Have a good one. Glad I got you for free; saves me the time requesting a refund.