Release Date: June 12, 2012
System Reviewed: Xbox 360
Plays Like: Bayonetta, MadWorld, Devil May Cry
What's Great: Suda 51 doesn't censor himself, and his crude humor shines through. With lines like "I'd never thought I'd be rescued by someone with such great tits", or "I'm going to go home and masturbate to you", Suda's mind is at all times present. The combat, while sometimes unresponsive, is addicting. I'm not sure what makes it so, but I first walked into this very skeptically, and each time I put it down, I hesitated to pick it back up. Each successive time I did, I found myself playing longer and longer. Health, while non-regenerative (thankfully), is in the form of lollipops, and they are in an abundant supply.
What's (Not So) Great: Where to start? Combat is unresponsive (as stated above), with combos not registering fully. You'll get the hang of the timing, but it's not like you'd expect: rather than press X 4 times then Y twice, you press X until you memorize each pom-pom attack, and once you see her do her jump/dive and roll, you know to cram on the Y button until the super combo hits. The upgrade system/store is incredibly annoying, especially hearing that goddamned lollipop song; I learned to hit Mute on my remote once I came to a shop. There are no previews for combos, nor do they give you more information than a one-liner in the shop (there really should have been a training hub that would allow you to practice combos). One gripe I do have is that, while you can exchange 500 Gold zombie medals for 1 Platinum, there's no way of reversing that exchange; why can't I trade in my one Platinum coin for even 100 Gold medals? Successive upgrades, such as for health or strength, shoot up drastically in price, making you grind your way through Sparkle Mode and plan your attacks accordingly, lining up zombies for multiple take-downs in one swipe. Grinding is not fun, especially for money.
Bottom Line: I'm a huge Suda 51 fan, so when I first heard he was doing a zombie hack-n-slash, I was pretty ecstatic. When it was succeeded by "starring a voluptuous cheerleader with a chainsaw", my heart sank, then rose. The game itself is one of those games that, if you live with your significant other, be prepared to be judged, as I was. Despite the story being utter horseshit (compared to Shadows or No More Heroes), the game can be surprisingly addicting. There are many flaws in the combat, and with a genre that has many forefathers that have nailed the execution, the sequel - if there is one - should take some major cues from games such as Bayonetta and Devil May Cry. I feel that, if Suda 51 does create a sequel (a rarity in his studio) for this game, I feel there is so much more room for improvement, and I do welcome a sequel that fixes those issues. Despite my rampant negativity towards the game, it is a game that can be fun, but only to a very small niche.
(Lollipop Chainsaw was obtained through GameFly, played on Normal, completing the campaign, missing one classmate. Played stage select to rescue the last student and replayed last boss fight to unlock "Happy Ending". Didn't bother with different modes.)