I can’t seem to decide how I feel about Let It Die. I know for sure I have not played enough to have set an opinion in stone, let’s be clear about that. It is a game I need to experience more of, because I can tell I’ve merely scratched a surface (or gods, at least I hope that’s the case.) But what I have played thus far has left me stuck in some sort of love-hate paradox that, much like the tower at the center of the game, I’m not sure I can climb out of.
The tutorial is obnoxious and too tedious/long by far. It started me off on the wrong foot with the game, and then had to earn back my good graces. Like they got to the point where someone realized they’d blown their entire VO budget on that awful Death caricature and had forgotten to tell players about the twelve different kinds of currencies you’ll need to juggle. So here, enjoy a room full of text explanations before you can get back to playing or having fun.
The combat is clunky… I can see/feel a lot of Dark Souls in there, but without the tactical deliberateness of the controls they aspire to. Trying to dodge and time attacks felt less successful than just hack n’ slashing and hoping I landed my hits first. Target lock is a joke, and while the chaotic messy fights have a certain charm to them, I’m not sure it’s what you want when the stakes are so high (losing your character).
The “style” of the game… ugh. I know this is sort of Suda51’s thing, the whole Tim Burton, “look at how weird and strange and artsy I am” sort of deal… but most of it isn’t working for me in this game. Some it is amusing, but by and large it just felt obvious.
Still, even with all of those complaints… there’s something there. Something that, in the middle of the day, has me itching to play. A violent roguelike with randomly (if somewhat repetitive and dull) generated levels, crazy weapons and a faux multiplayer aspect. The concept is fun, if hampered just a tad by the “give us money” insurance advertisements. If you die, you can buy the option (with “death metal” or whatever) to ressurect right away and continue on your way. If you don’t, you start over. Your previous character becomes a “hater”, an NPC-controlled character wandering around the level you died, that you (or someone else) will need to deal with.
Right now the game has shoveled so much death metal my way that I’m not entirely certain why I’d need to buy any, though I assume that changes as you go higher up the tower. I almost would have rathered to pay for the game up front than be regularly reminded that I may need to eventually buy myself out of a shitty situation.
I haven’t experienced any raiding yet, though from what I understand that’s kind of where the game starts to open up. I say “kind of” because apparently you pick your team based on region, and if you want to simply win, you select California. When you’re talking about permanant loss of your characters and items, that sort of mob imbalance sounds like a problem to me.
Where I’m at in the game, though, I find it to be at its best when I’m trudging down yet another familiar looking corridor, smashing some heads with my steam iron, eating frogs raw, and just zoning out on the absurdity of the whole thing.
Let It Die is not a perfect game, but it is a fairly unique one, and perhaps that’s why I want to love it so much. Perhaps I want to see it succeed solely because it is such an odd duck, a big weird risk that, while it doesn’t always pay off, should at least be applauded for trying.