I will admit right now that I have to temper my emotions as I write this review for Lollipop Chainsaw. You see, Lollipop Chainsaw has been on my watch list since it was announced way back in July of 2011. There had been hints at the game since late 2010 but the game was officially confirmed in July and ever since then it has been a high priority game for me to get. Two things really caught my attention right from the get go. I would be lying to you if I said I was not in the bit interested in the star of the game, cheerleader and zombie hunter Juliet Starling. What can I say? She is definitely easy on the eyes all dolled up in that cheerleader outfit. I am not afraid to admit that there is definitely a bit of sexual attraction on my part to the way she is depicted. Now, on the not so sexual side of the game, I am a huge fan of Goichi Suda, aka Suda51, and the types of games he is known for. Ever since Killer7 and all the way to Sine Mora, Suda’s style is one of the biggest draws to his games. So you can easily see why I feel the need to restrain myself, take a step back and look at Lollipop Chainsaw in a more objective manner. Let’s be honest here; no one wants to read a fan boy review of any game.
So with that out of the way, let’s talk zombie slaying! Honestly, I am having a hell of a time playing Lollipop Chainsaw. It is exactly what I would expect from Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture. The style of gameplay, the quirky humor, addictive and likable characters and a story so far over the top it is easy to get lost in it. However, the pacing of the game certainly lacks consistency, and I will get back to this point in a minute. Back to what works in the game, the combat is easy to get a handle on and, like other Suda games, almost seems intuitive while playing. You start off with simple combos and manuevers but can upgrade your style and weapons by collecting coins dropped by fallen enemies throughout the game. Perform a decapitation combo and you even get bonus coins and platinum coins, which are worth more in value. Upgrading your weapons and combo fighting style is a must for dealing with enemy boss fights.
However, as fun as the combat might be, it is a little inconsistent. There are stretches in levels where you really are just wandering around. I know that is games by Suda, a little break here and there is needed, especially when the rest of the time you are being bombarded with enemies. But sometimes in Lollipop Chainsaw these breaks really break up the action at odd times and take you out of the fight mentally. Likewise, some of the enviromental aspects can take you out of the game as well. Early in the game, I was distracted on more than a few occassions when Juliet’s former classmates, now zombie enemies, would rush up to you screaming things like “Let me fuck your father.” … … … What!?! I’m sorry, hearing an enemy scream that at you is kind of distracting. Funny, but distracting none the less. Also, I was kind of bugged by the phone calls Juliet’s family make to her in the middle of an action sequence.
Those two annoyances aside, Lollipop Chainsaw is certainly the fun and addictive kind of game that gamers could expect from Goichi Suda. Intense action, quirky and well thought out boss fights, and a soundtrack that is like nothing you have heard in a game. And it is the music for Lollipop Chainsaw that really moves the game along. This becomes really evident when you face off against the bosses in the game. These musical segments are composed by Jimmy Urine, lead singer for the band Mindless Self Indulgence. Then again, seeing as how the main baddies in Lollipop Chainsaw are… well, I don’t want to spoil the game for you, but when you see who the baddies are the music definitely makes a lot of sense and the fights become that much more enjoyable. It is suffice to say that the music and overly colorized style of the game make for a great and unmatched combination. And these aesthetics to the game help separate the game from everything else out there.
Despite how much I like the majority of Lollipop Chainsaw, the two things that hold the game back, in my opinion, are too strong to really ignore. Had they been corrected or addressed, Lollipop Chainsaw could have been a near flawless game. But when things affect the pacing of a game or distract you completely from the core - it really takes away a bit of the fun factor. I really wish they could have been minor issues, but one thing I am really a proponent of is the adequate pacing of the story. The story of Lollipop Chainsaw is loads of fun, but gets bogged down some by what I have already described. Overall though, Lollipop Chainsaw is loads of fun and I believe it is a game that the majority of players would enjoy tremendously. For all its faults, I enjoyed more of Lollipop Chainsaw than I had issues with, and I expect to be playing this game well past these summer months - especially once I get those DLC costumes on her.