Reviews// Lollipop Chainsaw

Posted 22 Jun 2012 14:08 by
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Games: Lollipop Chainsaw
Glorifying sexuality in videogames is something that (some of - Ed) the gaming press looks down on. It's a way for developers to get publicity - but not all publicity is good publicity, no matter what those PR 'experts' tell their clients.

In a world where the gaming community is complaining about a hand running over Lara Croft's body, it's pretty ballsy to open a videogame with the line “Welcome to my bedroom” as a camera pans over a scantly clad 18 year old cheerleader on a bed; that is exactly what happens in Lollipop Chainsaw.

I personally don't see sexually appealing characters as a bad thing. Lead character Juliet is certainly attractive, physically that is. But as a gamer I am clearly supposed to see her as nothing more than a body. After a few hours of play, however, I was slowly desensitised to this; I was far more attracted to the carnage she is creating on screen.

That admission made, it's not the physical appearance of Juliet that evokes fear of sexism, it's the miscued and slightly confusing lines that some of the less high profile characters spit out.

I must admit, when a female character blurted out that she needed to change her tampon after I had saved her from being eaten, it raised a smile. That was until I saw my girlfriend's eyes roll into the back of her head; ironically making her look a bit like a zombie.

Lollipop Chainsaw has eye candy that goes beyond the protagonist. Coupled with the new age punk rock soundtrack it expresses shades of Crazy Taxi and even Tony Hawk's Pro Skateboarder rather than Bayonetta or Dead or Alive. You feel that you're at home in an American teenage cartoon, the opening level sets the tone with bright colours and the familiar setting of an American High School.

What is Worse: Blood or Sex?
However, as you slash away at zombies you start to feel as though Lollipop Chainsaw is trying to make a point. This game is far from violent.

Despite hacking away at zombies with a chainsaw your screen is never overrun with blood and limbs. Instead it's filled with rainbows as each undead monster hits the asphalt and disappears in a glittery glow. Hearts pour from necks and stars bounce out of torsos.

It looks like one of those nightmares you have when you dream of a mass murder within the world of My Little Pony. We've all had those dreams right? Good. If a point is being made, it's that the game's creative force Suda 51 is asking us what is worse: blood or sex?

Unfortunately, like many of Suda 51's games, that question is asked too hard and so often, that you start to wonder if he's making a legitimate point at all.

Sexual references are made throughout the game, even when they're not justified. Once you start to question his motives, his glorification of a male sexual fantasy seems nothing more than that, and all you're left with is an achievement for looking up Juliet's skirt.

Just A Game
Once the initial shock of Lollipop Chainsaw's has passed, you remember that beneath it all is a game. As you begin, you'll feel a little restricted as a player. Stripping it down to its bare bones, the game is nothing more than a shallow hack and slash.

It has an interesting button layout, with a low attack, main chainsaw attack, a weaker attack to stun opponents and a dodge but although it attempts to go beyond that with combo upgrades and power ups, it never feels as though it achieves it.

You are also treated to many insta-death QTEs that frustrate throughout if you're not on the ball. Thankfully the checkpoint system in the game is a decent one so you won't find yourself too far from where you left off after hitting the wrong button at the wrong time.

Out of Second Gear
It's hard to play a game like this after playing the likes of Bayonetta, a clear landmark in its genre. Or even after El Shaddai, a game that at least attempts to offer something new.

Lollipop Chainsaw never feels as though it gets out of second gear when it comes to combat. I spent most of my time ignoring the new combo moves that I paid for, in favour of familiar tactics that carried me through to the end.

The majority of your playing time is spent protecting VIPs - ones that if you fail to save, will turn into powerful enemies; a nice twist on the protection objective.
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Comments

Joji 23 Jun 2012 02:49
1/1
Good review. Defo pick up on the cheap, though.

My first thought when I saw this game, was Onechanbara clone. I'm glad that Suda improved on that formula, adding something fun and memorable, that's more than T&A. Shame about the longevity.
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