Author: Heath Flor
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/lollipop_chainsaw/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
It's not easy being a cheerleader -- just ask Juliet Starling. What started out as an amazing 18th birthday ended up instead to be a day full of zombie killing. Oh, and to make matters worse she had to decapitate her dear boyfriend Nick who was bitten by a zombie. No worries there though as Juliet just happens to be a magic using chainsaw wielding zombie hunter.
And that's just the beginning for Juliet and Nick in Suda 51's new action horror adventure -- Lollipop Chainsaw -- penned by James Gunn, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, and published by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment. With such an amazing line-up of raw talent the game has to be a hit. Or does it?
Starting off in Juliet's bedroom, the game immediately hints at sexual overtones. Anyone who has been paying attention to the game in recent months should already know what's in store. Still, I was a bit surprised the first time I watched Juliet bend over and flash a full backside view up her skirt. It doesn't take long for the schtick to get old, especially since looking up a toon's skirt doesn't really do it for me.
Besides the cheap use of sexual innuendos to get your attention, there's also some very crude language found scattered throughout. Now don't get me wrong, I cuss like a sailor and am just as pervy as a teenage boy going through puberty, however I found most of it to be out of place. It felt weird listening to the characters talk about sex while chopping up zombies. And then I realized why; I'm not into the horror/sexploitation movies found in Grindhouse theaters in the 70's.
I have to admit Suda did an excellent job of getting the overall Grindhouse atmosphere down. Unfortunately relying on jokes only a prepubescent boy would really giggle at and over-the-top gore only gets you so far, because the actual gameplay is quite boring.
Kicks and hits with your pom-poms serve as your light attacks, while heavy attacks utilize a chainsaw that spits out sparkles. You can upgrade your moves, stats, and even purchase special costumes, art, and music through the in-game store called the Chop2Shop. Also for purchase are lollipops used for healing Juliet.
Juliet can use Nick's head as a weapon, which can also be placed onto a headless zombie corpse to reanimate it for a quick time event mini-game. Again, you can upgrade his moves to gain different abilities. It definitely adds a unique -- if not weird -- element to the game.
There's other minigames as well, such as basketball with zombie heads flying into the basket for points, and baseball where you must protect Nick while he runs the bases. These elements did very little to add to the overall gameplay, and were often more annoying than not. Still, they helped to break up the monotony of the rest of the game.
All of it sounds ok on the surface, but after making it through the prologue there's really not enough variation to keep the gameplay fresh for the player. When the gameplay starts to fall flat, you'll notice an influx of crude humor and skin flashing to keep your mind preoccupied. It feels as if the game is dulling your senses in order to gloss over what really matters.
The graphics are pretty bad for being on a current gen console. Screen tears, pop-in, and even static around character outlines during cut scenes plague Lollipop Chainsaw. It doesn't make the game unplayable, but it is a horrible distraction. I'm not necessarily a graphic junkie, but in this instance it's too predominant to ignore.
Even the camera has major issues, often times getting stuck behind an obstruction of some sort. Some environments have a lot of areas in which this infliction occurs, and it can be quite annoying. You'll need infinite patience when dealing with the camera, which isn't always easy to come by.
The sounds are what you'd expect from a zombie action game. The roar of the chainsaw blasts through your speakers while zombies smash through windows and make funny groaning sounds while they rush towards you. Juliet's role is a bit silly and full of groan inducing comments, while her boyfriend's one-liners keep the comedy alive.
The soundtrack has a Heavy Metal/Punk Rock feel to it with at least one Skrillex song mixed in for good measure. Again, I'm not into the dub-step music and am more into the Joan Jett track (Cherry Bomb) rather than any of the harder metal sounds found on this soundtrack. Obviously I'm falling behind on the times.
Even though you probably wouldn't catch me playing any of the music outside of the game, it all meshes together quite well. After all, why not be into hardcore punk rock mode when you're cutting zombies heads off with a sparkly chainsaw? It makes perfect sense to me.
It's difficult to describe Lollipop Chainsaw with a straight face. It's also difficult to review a game which strays so wildly off the beaten path, as it just doesn't fit any one genre or play style. Instead it's a love/hate relationship focusing on the strange, macabre, and the down right lewd moments dominating the game.
Though many will find the perverted styling, odd story, and the dialog to be right up their alley, I can't help but feel what could have been a fun campy title has been turned into a pile of immature jokes and fleshy teases aimed at a juvenile market who shouldn't even be playing the game to begin with. When it comes down to the technical aspects, Lollipop Chainsaw fails to deliver on many fronts, which is to say the outdated graphics and boring gameplay really drag this title down.
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