PAX East had a lot to live up to this year. With the throng of sweaty, excited geeks almost doubling that of last year’s event, the convention needed some serious shit to keep the fanboys from eating each other alive; or worse, complaining on the internet. The displays were extravagant, the character actors were elaborate and the games themselves were set to impress.
I… Barely got to play anything. I was the interview and bumper guy. It’s a shame because there was a lot to see. But there was one game I got to really sit down and analyze. Picking apart each detail with a demo and an unofficial interview. This all came jam packed in a disaster-torn, dilapidated bus.
Smeared and spattered with blood was a school bus covered in rust and graffiti. The windows were back lit with decals that made it look as if the undead were tearing apart every participant eagerly waiting to go inside. On the hood was a perky cheerleader wielding a pink and purple chainsaw passing out stickers and tattoos. This, was the “Lollipop Chainsaw” booth.
The line itself was intense. After about an hour and a half, I reached the back of the bus and, because even that had a wait time, I decided to talk to one of the WB crew whose name escapes me. The concept was simple: Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer and make it so tongue-in-cheek that it pierces through the side of your face. Being a Suda51 game, you’d expect no less and the this particular WB crew member wasn’t even working on the game, he was from another booth just helping out because he thought it was so kickass. That really shows the support that “Lollipop” already has. But all the support won’t do shit if the game sucks, right?
I was allotted ten minutes to play however much of the completed game as I could. Skipping the first cutscene for time, I immediately find myself in a farm like area with the undead clawing their way from underground. Hack and slash is the name of the game, but this has a very familiar feel to it. There’s a light attack, heavy attack, stun, and jump/dodge all assigned to the face buttons and special moves are used in conjunction with the triggers. The combos were all freeflow and it seemed like all the attacks were situational depending on your placement, enemy placement, attack choice and environment proximity. Then it hits me, I’m playing “Arkham City” with chainsaws and zombies. It would make sense. Both games were developed by Warner Brothers and it seems they took one of the most successful aspects of their engine and implemented it.
The combos are smooth and satisfying and the special attacks are ridiculous. I was mostly button mashing due to my time constraint, by I did everything from sawing bitches in half to snapping of body parts to spinning around so fast I turned into a chainsaw tornado and cut through a riot’s worth of the undead. I could see people finding it monotonous, but these kinds of games are my thing and left me wide-eyed.
The down time from murder had a few mechanics that kept the game interesting. The most notable involved a QTE in which you place the severed head of your boyfriend (which Juliet, your main character, carries throughout the whole game.) on a monster and have to dance over to barricades to either destroy it, hoist you up over it or other, more insane conclusions. You can also use your chainsaw to cut through trees and whatnot that are strewn about blocking your path, but it doesn’t add much aside from a button hold. Finally, you’re equipped with a giant rocket launcher that, at one point in the segment I played, was used to blow zombies off of an out of control, flaming bus. Epic.
If I haven’t given it away yet, this game is a tad over-the-top. There’s nonstop, absurd action and laugh-out-loud camp to be had with every second of gameplay. Whether or not those aspects will wear out their welcome in longer sessions have yet to be seen, but you can find out mid June when the game crashes it’s way into stores.