By: Jeff Cater
Let It Die is a brand new free-to-play title exclusive to the PlayStation Network where users are challenged to a contest of strength and persistence against insurmountable odds. Players will have to contend with menacing enemies, evolving level design and the wacky personality injected into the game by none other than Goichi Suda, better known as Suda51.
Grasshopper Manufacture and GungHo Online Entertainment proudly present to you one of the strangest, brutal hack n’ slash experiences out there!
Dark Souls players will be right at home in the slums and subway chambers of Let It Die, as the two control schemes are almost identical. If you’re not familiar, it’s really easy to get into.
In the heat of a fight you can lock onto an opponent by clicking in the right stick, and swing with either your left- or right-handed weapon by using the respective triggers. Pulling off the Rage Moves for each weapon is an experimental process (definitely expect to blow yourself up by accident at least once) but easy once you figure it out.
Holding the Triangle button prior to an attack causes your fighter to emit a blue aura and spark before launching a devastating blow. These can only be done after filling the Rage Meter appropriately.
Heed this advice: do try not to mash the attack while triggering these moves, as you may accidentally trigger another Rage Attack immediately even if you aren’t actively pressing the button. This can happen with any attack, so just be aware there can be some occasional latency with the controls.
Let It Die is like the girl at school you had a little crush on because she made you laugh a few times and had funky hair and style. Sure, that style might’ve been eccentric and maybe there were some rough edges, but the feelings you developed weren’t misplaced. So yeah, the game is kind of ugly, but it has enough weird stuff and enough attitude that you still appreciate the way the game looks.
While the visuals are decent, they truly feel as though they’d have been more at home on a PlayStation 3. That console did have amazing looking games (e.g. Uncharted 2, God of War 3), but a lot of games looked like Let It Die.
In-game character models aren’t packed with polygons and deep texture detail, noticeable flair like bump mapping or anything of the sort. Sometimes things look wet, and that’s alright I suppose!
What is extremely well done about the visuals are the designs and artistic direction of everything. From the merchants Hitler mustache to the striped Mushroom Lady dancer and everything in between, the game has some pretty hilarious and extremely stylized decisions made.
In the sound department, the music is mostly top notch, though it’s quite hard to tell as there are hundreds of songs to choose from to listen to. Most of them I believe to be composed specifically for the game with a fairly small portion likely otherwise, but it was very easy to find an enjoyable jam.
Voice acting is pretty well done and is just as intricately weird as the visuals; the combined vibe is very enjoyable. Weapons and death effects are wonderfully thumpy and splashy and complement the flying gore very well.
So….. long breath! Let It Die is a game inside a game inside a beetle where you murder enemies in rapid succession and dart through stages while The Grim Reaper guides you on your journey of eating frogs, rats, other rodents and small creatures while also leveling up a stable of fighters in order to contend with the Haters and Hunters sent forth by other players to mess with you on your journey.
There’s a lot going on in the game. Boiled down, you’re trying to get as far as you can up this structure called The Tower of Barbs. It’s a dangerous place that appeared after a cataclysmic event in Tokyo. Now it’s pretty much a game show as no one has made it to the top, though there are people that have “beaten” the game thus far.
New levels can be accessed from an escalator if you find one, or sometimes even an elevator. As you ascend, enemies get tougher and tougher and mid-bosses are introduced rather quickly. The game also has main bosses scattered a bit more sparsely throughout the tower.
You start out with nothing, but usually an enemy will drop a weapon or piece of equipment that you can immediately use without breaking too much pace. Throughout the levels you’ll also find item blueprints and upgrade materials that you can take back to the Hitler-stache merchant who will then be able to sell you new things and allow you to enhance them.
Let It Die is also multiplayer in a very unique, non-direct way. You’ll never encounter another player face to face, but rather you will raid their bases and run into their dead characters on your journey. For example, if your buddy has a fighter bite the dust on the first floor and never goes to rescue them in his game, you will have his “Hater” waiting for you every time you pass through that area.
Later on, after you level up and gain more and more fighters, you can actually send them off to act as a Hunter to mess with an enemy. This is hilarious because if you have a totally jacked character and send him off to a newbie’s account, you can screw with them for a whole 12-hour period and they can do little about it. Of course, that can also happen to you.
While there are plenty of rough edges in terms of visuals and controls, Let It Die is quite fun and challenging. Though while the humor and speed of the game make it very easy to come back to time and again, its memory-hungry 50 GB install is almost unforgivable given the game lacks any truly spectacular visual flair.