PS3 Reviews: Lollipop Chainsaw Review

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Lollipop Chainsaw Review

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Graphics:

 

7.6

Gameplay:

 

8.2

Sound:

 

8.0

Control:

 

7.7

Replay Value:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       7.9

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Developer:

Kadokawa Games/Grasshopper Manufacture

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action

Lollipop Chainsaw is utterly ridiculous. But it revels in that ridiculousness; it embraces it and adds continual heaping helpings of cheese and corn. Juliet Starling is almost as ditzy as she is busty, her boyfriend is a severed head that hangs on her hip (or more accurately, right over her ass), and Swan is the “emo” My Chemical Romance reject who wants to see the world burn. And on Juliet’s 18th birthday, too. Yeah. It’s like that.

Graphically, not much stands out here. The environmental detail is only okay, the animations are decent, and the level design is a little above average. But the character design – especially where the bosses are concerned – is excellent; it’s highly imaginative and strangely compelling (in that you always want to see the next major foe). The special effects are another big plus, as Kadokawa amazingly combines cutesy stuff like stars and coins with copious amounts of blood. It’s a mixed bag but above all else, the atmosphere shines through beautifully.

The sound features licensed music like “Cherry Bomb” by the incomparable Joan Jett and “Mickey,” the 80s pop classic by Toni Basil that ran incessantly for an extended period of time. There’s also a healthy collection of hard rock tracks to accentuate your zombie slaying. The voice performances are hit or miss; they aren’t bad and I get the nod to B-movie cheesiness but in many cases, the actors and actresses could’ve been a lot better. There’s also an audio balancing issue between the crisp, dazzling effects, voices, and music, which probably isn’t surprising. This isn’t exactly a technical triumph.

But it is a triumph of…um…well, I’m not sure. A triumph of something. There are obvious problems; the camera can go all screwy in tight spaces, the control isn’t as responsive as I would’ve liked, and too much of the game feels cramped. I love linear adventures and I will always support them, but this is so tight it almost feels like an on-rails quest. Then there are the painfully bad pieces of dialogue that make a vain attempt at hilarity and fall depressingly flat. So perhaps using the word “triumph” is overreaching or perhaps even inaccurate.

I don’t know, though. The game strikes the right chord and that chord doesn’t lose its appeal; it stays in tune throughout and somehow manages to remain pleasing and amusing. You start in cheerleader Juliet Starling’s bedroom, where she’s stretching before her day. She takes a shower, too, but as this game is about innuendo and titillation rather than nudity and sex, you’re not seeing much. She tells us it’s her 18th birthday and she’s a little worried about her boyfriend Nick meeting her family, because they’ve got a pretty big secret.

After Juliet arrives at school and finds zombies running amok, you quickly learn that she and the rest of her family are big-time zombie hunters. And that’s probably why Juliet carries a huge chainsaw that she knows how to wield; combined with her acrobatic ability, she’s a one-woman slicing-and-dicing machine. Her older sister Cordelia prefers the long-range rifle, but I won’t give anything else away. Let’s just say Juliet’s family does play a significant role in the story and that story is masterfully written, presented, and acted. …okay, no it isn’t.

But it’s always funny. You really can’t go ten minutes without grinning at something. Let’s see— There’s the random pole in the classroom, around which Juliet swings and mashes oncoming zombies. The blatant nod to stripping isn’t quite so obvious, though, as her movements are more effective than sexy. Oh, and then you play basketball with zombie heads; cut ‘em off and send them up to the hoop. You’ll play baseball, too, but that involves shooting zombies while Nick’s head tries to make it around the diamond three times. Yes, he has the help of a zombie body when attempting this seemingly arbitrary act.

There’s the Nick Ticket, which is a form of roulette; if you win, you can put Nick’s head on a chain and swing it around your head for big damage. You can fill up Juliet’s Star meter and when complete, you can unleash and hope for big rewards amidst large groups of zombies (during which time, “Mickey” is playing in the background). There’s a QTE mini game when you put Nick’s head on a blue zombie and have him perform a task, like opening up a pathway. Juliet uses her pom-poms and kicks to stun zombies, at which point they’re easier to decapitate.

Then there are the bosses, which – if you’re familiar with Shadows of the Damned – are definitely a huge selling point. I don’t want to give these away as part of the fun is coming across them and going, “oh, what the hell.” The boss characters are just so well drawn and so over-the-top. I’ll give one example: The first is Zed, the punk rocker who loves to scream and say nasty things about the “dirty whore” who’s trying to kill him. He even tosses huge letters that spell out “cocksucker” at Juliet as she’s trying to track him down. The funniest part about that? We’re not even sure Juliet is offended.

She does, however, get pissed. She bounces back and forth between cheerfully ditzy and petulantly annoyed, which gets a little tiresome but it fits her character. Nick seems a trifle too smart to be her boyfriend but I’ll let that go. As for the gameplay, you kill zombies. Lots of them. And at first, I was disappointed because it looked like a somewhat simple, even potentially tedious, rinse-and-repeat situation. But the developers are far too inventive to fall into that trap, as each stage brings something new; I just cited some of the crazy crap you’ll be doing. They really keep things fresh.

Juliet learns new combos if you buy them with the coins you collect. You can also purchase stat upgrades as well as new outfits, which are unsurprisingly sassy and revealing. The combos aren’t too hard to pull off and they’re awfully effective. However, I have a few issues with the combat. First off is the fact that the regular chainsaw strikes are relatively slow, which takes some getting used to. Secondly, you’re supposed to make zombies “groggy” by stunning them with fast pom-pom strikes and kicks, but such attacks leave you wide open.

It’s a little annoying, because the more zombies you can decapitate in one swipe, the better your score will be. “Sparkle” kills happen when you nail three or more zombies at once, and that yields big coin rewards. The only problem is that I never felt like using the fast attacks in a big group as I was preoccupied with not getting trashed. However, this being said, the game isn’t brutally hard and provided you remain relatively careful, you’ll usually have a stock of lollipops, which are used to replenish health. All in all, the fighting only suffers from camera eccentricities and what sometimes feels like a lack of responsiveness. Other than that, it’s a blast.

It’s tough to recommend the game to the majority of gamers, because it really depends on your viewpoint. If you’re not interested in the cheesy and the campy, don’t bother. If you have a problem with the protagonist (for whatever reason), that’s understandable. Plus, I get the feeling that those who want it already know what to expect and don’t need my approval. It’s unashamed, unapologetic, and both solid and surprisingly creative. It just isn’t for everyone and the obvious issues definitely hold the game back, which is unfortunate.

Lollipop Chainsaw is a hefty slice of innuendo-laden, blood-soaked frippery. I’m taking “frippery” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” because only someone like Roald Dahl (or maybe Dr. Seuss) could accurately describe this production. It’s not strange or quirky, though; it’s just over-the-top in a very specific way…and I know you know what way that is. …damn, what a terrible sentence. Okay, I’m done here. Juliet Starling awaits.

The Good: Really cool effects. Solid audio. Great boss design, both graphically and gameplay-wise. Accessible, effective combat combos. Well-paced and entertaining. Oversexed, overly violent atmosphere/style never apologizes for itself and never wavers.

The Bad: Audio balancing issues. Camera can be a definite problem. Some painful dialogue that misses the mark. Control and fighting can feel slow or unresponsive.

The Ugly: “This game makes the ugly hilarious.”

6/12/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (27 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 10:21:43 PM
Reply

Cool, it sounds just like what I was hoping for. Now I just have to pop it in and play!

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CH1N00K
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 10:30:31 PM

I'm still debating this one....I'm not sure if the cheesy b-rating is going to be for me....Bayonetta was almost too much cheese for me and this seems to be even more so..

Last edited by CH1N00K on 6/12/2012 10:30:56 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 10:36:53 PM

I have no problem with cheeseyness if it's executed properly, Bayonetta just did a terrible job. Shadows of the Damned (the last Suda51 joint) was closer to the mark so hopefully this one gets even closer. I'll let ya know in a bit.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 11:02:53 PM

You didn't actually buy this brand new, did you?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 11:10:50 PM

F*ck yeah I did. It had a killer price and it's definitely for the collection.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/12/2012 11:11:25 PM

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Neo_Aeon666
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 10:26:19 AM

So did I! lol 59.99+tax! BRING IT.

Started a little yesterday night and it really is funny as hell. It's true there is always something going on to put a grin on your face.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 11:03:05 PM
Reply

I'll be renting this game for sure.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 11:10:31 PM
Reply

Anybody know how you get your preorder bonus from Amazon? There's nothing in the game case this time.

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gray_eagle
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:04:46 AM

@World
you might get an email with a code from amazon.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:10:05 AM

I've had to email them twice in the past few months due to not getting a code in my game. If you don't get an email in a day or 2 after purchase email them and they will give you the code(s)

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frylock25
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:10:51 AM

sometimes they email it to you after wards

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:18:38 AM

Alright, they better send that. Do I just email customer support or whatever?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:23:24 AM

I got a giant box with half a dozen keychains with Nick's head, a 1GB flash drive with Nick's head in a bowl of blood on one end, a t-shirt, a poster, a big-ass lollipop, and various cheerleader paraphernalia.

...anything in there you want? ;)

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frylock25
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:37:06 AM

if world doesnt want it can i get the tshirt? i love video game tshirts. hell ill take any of it

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:47:09 AM

I just want to shake your hand. I'm not a material kinda guy like these people! :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:56:39 AM

Hah sorry Frylock but I'd have to take that T-shirt :)

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frylock25
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 1:18:42 AM

damn i knew you would, id still take the poster or the flash drive if Ben is givin stuff out :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 10:08:02 AM

Oh no, sorry. This box is too loopy to give any of it away. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 1:30:45 PM

Bah! I better check my email, see if that code showed up. If I can't dress me up I should be able to dress her up.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 12:56:42 AM
Reply

Hmm... I thought this game would turn out to be a lot worse, to be frank.
Sounds like I'll pick it up after all, once it hits the bargain bin! Cool. Shouldn't take more than a month or two.

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berserk
Thursday, June 14, 2012 @ 5:05:38 PM

Same here , won t buy at full price but i ll happily get it when its at 29.99 .

I think it s gonna be a great game to take a break from my main game at the time i buy it .

Last edited by berserk on 6/14/2012 5:06:24 PM

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farfus
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 2:03:35 AM
Reply

Yeah will hit the BB quick! Should be able to be had fairly cheap quick..

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 2:14:25 AM
Reply

Ha. A better score than I was expecting TBH, and I wish that I could justify picking this game up. It's just never been high on my radar, this review doesn't change that at all and I STILL can't spend outside what I've allotted myself. Too bad really 'cause I do believe that this would be an absolute blast (coming from someone who's game shelf is comprised almost exclusively of games that take themselves seriously). If I can manage to track down a copy in a couple of years after I've done what I want to do, It's definitely being added.

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Kall555
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 2:42:01 AM
Reply

Looks very cheap to be honest, i won't be bothering with it. Might rent it later when it hits the bargain bin (which shouldn't be too long of a wait).

Reminds me of Onechanbara Vortex, which was horrid in itself.

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Neo_Aeon666
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 10:31:03 AM

If anything it isn't cheap. This game makes me think of *happy tree friends*. A good dose of gore-cuteness.

Comparing it to onechan is kind of an insult XD

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Robochic
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 10:01:59 AM
Reply

sounds like a fun game, but i just put 2 preorder down so it'll be a bit for a new game for me. But would love to try this one.

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slaYer127
Thursday, June 14, 2012 @ 4:25:29 PM
Reply

so....no keychain? :(

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