Lollipop Chainsaw Review

Posted: May 12, 2013 in Reviews
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Playing Lollipop Chainsaw is very much akin to eating a bowl of Lucky Charms without any marshmallows. You know that you’ve done it before, and you know that the experience has been sweeter. What you’re eating right now isn’t horrible exactly, just very very bland. This is the fundamental flaw with Lollipop Chainsaw. Everything in this game has been done before and the experience has always been that much greater. Especially when held up in comparison with Grasshopper Manufacture’s older games.

Ok, so this is my main gripe. Grasshopper Manufacture has made some of the funniest, darkest and most over the top ridiculous games this generation. Their most notable, in my opinion, being No More Heroes released on the Wii (yeah the Wii, not the clunky mess that was the PS3 port released last year) way back in 2008. So 2008, that’s roughly five years ago. So why does a game released five years later just come off as a weak watered down flavourless port of a much older game? Well this review hopes to find out.

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Right so maybe I’m coming off as a little harsh. Lollipop Chainsaw isn’t entirely without merits. As I mentioned, this game comes from strong Japanese pedigree. That said the humour is totally 100% spot on. You play as Juliet Starling, a zombie slaying high school cheerleader. And on her eighteenth birthday she goes to the park to meet her boyfriend Nick Carlyle. However after a massive zombie outbreak Nick gets bitten and the only way to save him is by Juliet chopping his head off and attaching it to her belt whilst keeping him alive. So yeah, very Japanese, very over the top and very funny. Indeed the majority of dialogue between the two star crossed lovers is some of the funniest this generation. But even the quips and jokes start to come off as crass and juvenile by the end of the game.

The other aspect that I feel deserves a special mention is the boss fights. Grasshopper never skimp when designing a good boss. And in a day and age where a lot of boss fights in games have been reduced to a few quick QTE’s its very refreshing to see some old school sensibilities are being preserved and kept in place. Challenging, although never to the point of frustrating, Lollipop Chainsaw’s bosses are something to be celebrated.

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Unfortunately this is where my praise ends. Its obvious from the get go that design wise Lollipop Chainsaw is a clone of No More Heroes’ and I hate to go on about it but it’s so blatant it’s hard to ignore. From the way the camera controls to how the environments look, hell even the way Juliet runs with her chainsaw echoes Travis running with his laser katana. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem but everything that made the combat and environmental exploration so fun has been taken out. None of the fantastic motion control is optional (never thought I’d find myself pining for motion) and combat is sooo slow and sluggish I found myself popping off to grab a coffee every time I was using a triangle button combo. Enemies are slow boring and dull. The weapon detection is also shocking. Landing a dropkick is a work of luck and retarded.

Again I know I sound like I’m being a douche but when a game is so obviously just a re skinned version of an older game yet it can’t even mimic what made that game fun in the first place then what’s the point?!

The environments are also a bug bear for me. Now I’m not saying that Santa Destroy in No More Heroes was the perfect sandbox to explore. It was far from it. But at least it did pass as a vaguely interesting hub. With freedom to explore the city, hidden collectables and
various shops and minigames scattered around the map there was always something to do. Again, not the case with Lollipop. There is no world map or any distractions other than traipsing from dull linear map to dull linear map. The levels in Lollipop feel boring, uninspired and empty. Not to mention that the prevailing sound track throughout the game is god awful stock pop punk guitar riffs that start to grate and annoy almost immediately. No scrap that. IMMEDIATELY.

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Lollipop Chainsaw is a very funny game. However that is not enough to distract from the fact that everything it does in the gameplay department has already been done to this standard a generation ago. Do yourself a favour. I take it that if you’re playing games it’s because you enjoy gameplay as opposed to oogling computer generated Japanese cheerleaders (otherwise you’d be on some hentai site and not here) if you are after some fantastic hack and slash games that have a touch of humour then go out and buy Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising or DmC! Hell I’d even suggest dusting off the Wii and plugging in No More Heroes. They all do what this game aspires to do but a thousand times better in every department. End of. Rant over. Peace & love x

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