So I checked this game out from the company story and sat down to play deep into the night and really get into it. Two hours later I don’t think I can go on, I just don’t think I can endure Killer 7 any longer. Just as some people can’t play FPSes because it makes them nauseous, I honestly don’t think I can continue because every moment of this game is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
It starts with the fact that I have real trouble with games that don’t map the controls to the environment. So if I my character is facing left, and I want to go left, I sure has hell better go left when I press left on the pad. I shouldn’t have to press up, or even worse X. And I’m facing left and I want to go right, triangle then X is pretty much the last thing I want to do. I’ve never really been able to get into rail shooters, whether it was Virtua Cop or Panzer Dragoon Orta, mainly because the analog stick is not a great mechanism for precise aiming. I find myself constantly over-rotating or circling around my target, as if I am writing on a cue ball with a ball point pen. I don’t know why anyone would want to play Duck Hunt without the light gun.
Things are compounded by the fact that anything I can do easily in real life, like, say, look around, I should be able to do easily in the game. Sometimes, on a good day, I can even look around while I’m moving, but usually I have to plant myself firmly in one spot and rotate on my Y axis. Killer 7 mimics my bad days by not only forcing me to hold down a button to look around, but I have to hit a second button to scan for invisible enemies. This must be from the Metroid Prime school where you have to hold down two shoulder buttons and use the C stick to look around.
But there are plenty of games that have camera-independent controls, and I’m usually able to overcome that. But Killer 7 just adds on the pet peeves. First there’s the constant fucking loading. My god, it’s like the EQ2 experience except the zones are the size of a dorm room. Plus, the loading or transition screen is visual white noise, further augmenting the game’s ardent stylistic goal of disconcerting the user. Job well done, I must say.
Then there is the narrator with the unspellable name. Unfortunately, you have to “speak” to him regularly, and unfortunately his voice is the aural equivalent of the loading screen, an unintelligible electronic babble. I was tempted to simply mute the game so as not to hear his voice, but I actually quite liked the ambient music. However, like any modern RPG, you should be able to button through the text as most of us can read faster than the game usually draws the text. But not here! Not only can you not button through it, but he prefaces every statement with the same goddamn thing every time. “We’re in a tight spot!” No kidding, I figured that out the third time I ran into you. Of course, it just adds to the frustration when he tells you nothing of value, such as “they must be insane, look at their eyes.” Thanks.
The story, as has already been pointed out here, makes little or no sense, so I’m not particularly interested in unraveling what may be an endless ball of twine. Finally, I ran forward to a junction point just as I heard the laughter of the phantoms, unable to view because I was in “junction mode,” I tried desperately to hit triangle and move out of the junction, but at that point the invisible whatsits bear hugged me and killed me, meaning I get to go through the cleaner’s excruciating resurrection mechanic (hmmm…what would Shenmue do at this point? Race forklifts? No…button mash to resurrect! Button mashing is a type of gameplay! Wheeee!) So when I died at another dreaded junction, I simply walked over and turned off my PS2.
As much as this sounds like it is damning critque of the game itself, and there are parts I think most people would genuinely find annoying, I really just want it to be a clear indication that some methods of input just simply do not work for some people. It’s not Carmack’s fault that my friend gets seasick playing FPS, and it’s not CAPCOM’s fault that I despise invisible walls in games and radically limited mobility. I’m really in no position to actually judge the merits of Killer 7 as a whole simply because I can’t bring myself to push on any farther. Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music may in fact be a work of genius, but I wouldn’t know, I can’t get past the first five minutes.