There’s a particular Japanese ghost story that I see repeated quite often, with some variation – that, not knowing the official name, I think of as the “extra person” story. If you’ve ever seen They Were Eleven, you have the gist of it – a group of people, in some extraordinary circumstance, discover that they have an extra member, but don’t know which of the group is the “extra” who isn’t supposed to be there. In some variants, we actually find out WHY there is one extra person – in other variants, the “wait, we have one extra!” is the Big Reveal and the story ends there.
Killer 7 draws on this ghost story – there are EIGHT Smiths in a group called the Killer SEVEN, and I was quite happy when it turned out to follow the first of those options and we found out who the extra was and why they were there. I was expecting it would remain unexplained – because, well, the story DOES have that reputation for being opaque.
Reputation aside, the game actually does an awful lot of explaining after a certain point, and the story becomes a lot easier to follow – though, I have the feeling that, if I were to put disc 1 back in the Gamecube and start over from scratch, it would make even more sense.
That’s a little more effort than I’m willing to put in, though. I happily did it for Fatal Frame II, which featured cute girls in frilly outfits, but Killer 7 doesn’t have quite the same replay appeal.
That sounds like a bit of a put-down, so I’ll clarify a bit:
Killer 7 is one ugly game, even accounting for “stylistic decisions”, the control scheme seems almost deliberately engineered to make things difficult for the player, the blood is overdone, the characters say “fuck” entirely too much, and there’s a “Boy, you really liked “Se7en”, huh?” cutscene that could have been dropped.
It’s also ridiculously satisfying and at times a sheer joy to play. I wouldn’t have felt ripped off if I’d actually paid full price for it, so getting it after it’d hit the clearance racks is even sweeter.
Note: I typed the bit above without realizing that a “Se7en” ripoff homage in a game called “Killer 7” might have been an intentional reference, and now I feel silly but I’m going to leave it in the post so you can all point and laugh.