Lollipop Chainsaw Review – PS3
There comes a point where objectivity and common sense has to rule; where the simple fact of the matter has to override any petty little concern like ‘feelings’. Lollipop Chainsaw is one of those very points: we absolutely adore it, it’s funny, it’s far more interesting than most other games released this year and it makes us beam from ear to ear when playing it. So it’s a stone cold 95% title then, right?
We want it to be that – we do. But Lollipop Chainsaw just stumbles in the most important part. That being the game, we mean, and not how well Juliet Starling’s buttocks and breasts are modeled. Don’t act like you haven’t been staring, perv. It suffers from the usual thing that so many of Suda51 and Grasshopper’s games: it’s just a bit clunky; it’s not as much fun to play as it should be; it’s just not as good as its competition.
It’s impossible to overlook the frankly bizarre decision to seriously limit the number of combos unlocked to the player at the beginning of the game. Pretty much every worthwhile combination attack – both simple and complex – requires you spend in-game currency to unlock it, meaning at the game’s opening things feel far more limited than they end up being towards the end.
Then there’s the actual combat – the meat of the game – which, even after it opens up as more moves are unlocked, still maintains a level of clunkiness that irritates. Pauses at the end of combos, unblockable and unavoidable enemy attacks, a camera that seems to want to work against the player – it all comes together into something that just doesn’t feel like it’s been thoroughly polished. It’s not game-breaking, it’s just something that’s been done better by the likes of Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, God Of War and so on. Something that should be done better here.
Though there can be no complaints about the excellent use of music, which is implemented both cleverly and comically throughout. Who knew Dead Or Alive went so well with a combine harvester? Well, you live, you learn.
Another area we can find few complaints is in the writing – though it’s sure to polarise opinion in some people. It’s not an interesting story, it’s nothing you haven’t seen everywhere else before: evil power, blah blah, zzz. What makes Lollipop Chainsaw stand out is the scripting, which provides numerous quips, lines and series of events that left us – genuinely – laughing. Talk of how killing all the zombies is fun and ‘almost makes me forget all my friends are dead!’, or Juliet’s father’s… well, his scrotum – it’s not high art. But it’s not set out to be that: it’s set out to be an over-the-top piece of pure entertainment, and it’s scripted accordingly. Look, we’re getting excited about this just because it’s nice for a game to actually make us laugh for once.
So it is that we recommend Lollipop Chainsaw with all our hearts: it’s stupid, utterly wanton and everything a videogame should be (even with arguments concerning sexism going this way and that). But at the same time we can’t help but tell it like it is: Lollipop Chainsaw just isn’t a great game, and if you want something slick, technical and with pure, solid mechanics you’re going to feel a bit let down. Apart from by the music, because the music is brilliant.
If you’re a Grasshopper or Suda51 fan, add about 18% to this score. From an objective viewpoint, it’s a fun but flawed hack-and-slash game with a quirky setting. From a subjective viewpoint, it’s bloody brilliant – so much so you can overlook its clunkier elements.
72% (or 90% if you’re a Suda51/Grasshopper fanboy/girl/child/person)