Let It Die – First Impressions
Today’s article is one still in the making just like the game it covers. Let It Die is currently free to play and will still be updated with further content as we climb the Tower of Barbs further and further. But since some may be interested in this game, I thought my opinion on the first roughly 10 hours would be appreciated. Take note that this is not in any way my final verdict, but merely a short glimpse. With that out of the way, let’s murder some people.
Let It Die comes to us from Grasshopper Manufacture who you may now for such thrilling titles as the classic Killer 7 or the more recent Killer is Dead. Your mission is easy and at the same time it could not be a more arduous a task: Climb to the top of the Tower of Barbs in this post-apocalyptic wasteland. Well, that is not the entire truth. Actually, you are sitting in an arcade and playing the game in the company of one of the best characters in recent memory: Uncle Death. He is a goofy version of the grim reaper wearing funny glasses and who likes to skateboard, wise-crack, and calls you senpai; he aids you in your trial. The charming incarnation of the end of life is also present in the game space and plays a major role in the management of your base. This is the place from which you set out to explore the tower. You can buy items, tattoo your character with some stat-boosting and sick new looks. You can invade other player, kind of like Dark Souls. And finally, you can manage your characters. Let It Die has, as one might have guessed, an obvious infatuation with death. Dying is a core mechanic of the game. Should your character fall during your climb of the tower you are given the choice of whether to resurrect right there with all your equipment and so forth, but this will cost you one unit of Death Metal, an in-game currency which is tough to acquire, but can also be bought with real money. You may also choose to return to the base and let Uncle Death pick up your fighter for in-game currency, the price depending on your character. If this is also not your style you can pick a new or your next fighter and go up to where you once fell and defeat your old character now turned enemy, or Hater as the game calls them. If you can best yourself, Uncle Death will pick up the body and store it in the freezer for future use.
– Did I mention that his scythe doubles as a golf club? Well it does! –
The gameplay of Let It Die has often been compared to Dark Souls, but I believe this is not doing it justice. Simply because you use the left and right triggers to hit with the corresponding arm does not make something a Souls-game. You can roll out of the way, but never abuse invincibility frames as you do so and your weapons break after a certain amount of use, never to be recovered again, just like any piece or equipment you wear. But fret not for you can buy items and pick up new ones as you go up higher and higher. You will constantly be changing weapons, outfits, and thus also playstyles, forcing you to adapt to increasingly difficult situations at every turn. Also, it has something Dark Souls never had: a dropkick. Run a certain stretch of concrete and the option for a dropkick becomes available and is it ever satisfying to explode somebodies entire body by vaulting into them with full force. You can also block and parry but all of that is done with the weapon you are holding and if everything breaks you have to rely on your trusted fists to get the job done.
– Also: Buzzsaw knuckles, just saying. –
The aesthetic is by far one of the highlights of any Grasshopper game and it is as strong as ever in here. The grungy punk-esque style of the characters you are playing and encountering paired with the increasingly post-industrial environmental design work extremely well. The characters in your base are equally interesting and grotesque. You have demon-mushroom-pole dancer, Hitler-esque-shop owner with an astronaut helmet, and of course your favourite Uncle added to the mix. The soundtrack is equally great with loads of indie bands doing their best at screaming into the mic and banging those drums. A special recognition has to go the enemy design- During your trip you will mostly encounter enemy variants of player controlled characters, meaning randomised outfits, weapons, and so forth. Sometimes there will also be flesh and metal fused monstrosities roaming the corridors. Bosses are a sight (and eyesore in a way) they are grotesque mutilated bodies always playing on a different theme. A female(?) boss utilise the dozen surveillance cameras she has attached to her body to spy and snipe you, just as an example. Among all of these fleshy and metallic horrors, you may also encounter The Jackals: an elite group of body collectors with slick white attire and even sexier weaponry. But beware whenever you see one since they can kill you faster than Uncle Death can grind on a rail. Their sterile look serves as the antithesis to the dirty and worn out aesthetic of the rest of the game and the tow play great off of one another.
– Additionally, their introduction is one of the best moments. –
Lastly, let’s talk about your character: You can have up to five at the start and you can pick sex and general appearance. After climbing you are awarded exp and can level up but you will soon find your progression blocked at level 25. You can only get a higher tier character who can level up further after you defeat a major boss and that is the basic way of progressing characters. These new ones also have more spots for tattoos and usually specialise in certain skills rather than being medium across the board. You may thus choose to prioritise in firearms and leave melee to emergency situations. It is a great way of mapping out development since you spend the first portion of the game with a well-rounded class to get a feel for the game and the weapons and afterwards you can use this knowledge to build a character suiting your playstyle, investing in armour and weapons before you set out to get the best experience possible. But due to the increasable number of slots you may also try out different specialisations for different needs, be it firearms for bosses and melee for normal floors or vice versa just as an example.
– I am not saying you can unload a barrage of fireworks directly into someone’s mouth in this game, but you might be able to. –
Let It Die is in no way a punk-version of Dark Souls, it is its own game and a really good one at that. The style is impeccable and the gameplay solid. It is an experience unlike any other you can find right now and with the amount of attention it is receiving more content is sure to follow soon. I had a blast in the Tower of Barbs so far and will return soon to climb a little higher each time. But if you were still not convinced after skateboarding grim reaper I am honestly at a loss of words and options here.
Image sources in order of appearance:
- https://i.ytimg.com/vi/eSvcJbI9WHo/maxresdefault.jpg (Last date of access: 14.12.2016)
- http://cdn.escapistmagazine.com/media/global/images/library/deriv/1365/1365479.jpg (Last date of access: 14.12.2016)
- https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5719/30662112461_c72a949490_o.jpg (Last date of access: 14.12.2016)
- http://cdn4.dualshockers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/LID_ScreenShot_6.jpg (Last date of access: 14.12.2016)