Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3) Review
Posted by Mark Salmela on 06.25.2012
All sizzle, no steak.
Title: Lollipop Chainsaw
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacturer
Rated: M for Mature
Lollipop Chainsaw is the latest game from the crazy mind of Suda 51, and like many of his other games, itís completely crazy. Lollipop Chainsaw stars a high school cheerleader named Juliet on her 18th birthday, who just so happened to celebrate her birthday in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. Luckily for Juliet her entire family is full of zombie hunters, and Juliet has inherited the family tradition.
Julietís on a mission to rescue her boyfriend Nick from the zombies, but as you might be able to tell from the box art; Juliet wasnít very successful in saving Nick. Thankfully, Juliet knew a spell to preserve the head, and now Nickís chained to her waist throughout the game, scared, confused, and quite frankly unsure of whatís going on. The relationship between Juliet and Nick is actually one of the things that keep the game bearable, since they play off each other well and help keep each other from overstaying their welcome and becoming annoying.
The most enjoyable part of Lollipop Chainsaw is easily its personality. Lollipop Chainsaw is completely self-aware and thrives in making fun of itself. Itís a cheesy zombie game full of references and quirky things that keep the game interesting. Mini-games such as spinning around on a poll spinning your chainsaw and a basketball game involving zombies keep the action fresh. The zombies in the game are constantly either cussing at Juliet or making sexual remarks at her, and while the cussing can get repetitive, it helps break up the monotony of what often breaks down to arena battles.
And the monotony of arena battles is where the game starts to fall apart. While Lollipop Chainsaw has a great presentation and is packed full of personality the game that is attached simply isnít very fun to play. Whether or not it was by design since Julietís wielding a large chainsaw the combat just doesnít have any flow to it. Julietís attacks are clunky and not fluid. Until you unlock some of the later combos in the game youíll be stuck using the same three or four attacks for every situation, using the same animations that have to completely play out before you can attack again. Itís not very fun seeing Juliet get hacked at by zombies because you couldnít move while she finished her last animation.
Besides the lack of actual flow in the combat the attack system isnít very fun to use. You have a high/heavy attack, a low attack, a quick attack thatís almost useless, and a dodge which doesnít always work the way you want it to. There should have been some sort of middle ground attack between the low swipe attack and the heavy attack to help add depth to the combat. Locking onto enemies is damn near useless, since the camera seems to fall to an over-the-shoulder position where the camera can get stuck or lose sight of the action easily, especially in small rooms.
Another issue with Lollipop Chainsaw is the collision. Sometimes youíll clearly slice through a zombie and the attack wonít connect, while other times youíll be hacking away in a room full of zombies and connect with zombies you didnít actually hit. It becomes an even bigger pain when zombies have such a tendency to grab Juliet, and then youíre forced to push circle in a split second or else youíre tackled and have to mash away at circle for a few times before freeing yourself. That sort of quick time event is extremely frustrating in Lollipop Chainsaw. But the other quick time events where you follow a series of button prompts for crazy actions such as driving over a field of zombies or shoving Nickís head on a zombie and watching him magically take over that zombie is actually rather enjoyable.
The enemy variety, like the music, starts off well but becomes extremely repetitive. It seems like every music track in the game is well thought-out and enjoyable at first, but then it just loops over-and-over again until youíre sick of it. The same goes for the zombies. The first time you run into a zombie with a bomb strapped to its chest itís rather enjoyable to kill, but by the time you kill your 1000th zombie with a bomb strapped to its chest youíll be over the whole concept. It wouldnít be such a problem if the game wasnít set up as one arena battle after the next. Most battles go on way too long and overstay their welcome. Rather than keeping the pace fast it seems like a chore to finish some of the later levels.
- A very unique personality thatís not afraid to make fun of itself
- A wacky sense of humor
- Great presentation
- Fun mini-games
- Great writing between Juliet and Nick
- Lots of variety in the gameplay
- Combat lacks fluidity
- Combos arenít fun to perform
- Most battles break down to a long, drawn-out arena battle
- Music gets extremely repetitive and loops way too much
- Camera has a lot of issues keeping the action in focus
- Boss battles arenít very fun, and one-hit kills suck
Smells like teen spirit.
Itís a shame that there isnít a lot of steak to go along with the tremendous sizzle of Lollipop Chainsaw. The opening cutscene is fantastic, doing a great job of introducing you to the world of Lollipop Chainsaw and making you laugh. The world is so creative and fun to be in that itís really unfortunate the gameplay is so mediocre. If you were to rate this game based off the combat alone this game would be rather terrible, but itís everything else in Lollipop Chainsaw that makes it a passable experience and worth checking out.
The art style and use of color is fantastic. Too bad the camera can be a pain.
Thereís a lot of great variation to keep the gameplay fresh, but the meat of the game isnít very good. The combat is lackluster.
The voice acting is enjoyable, and the music is good, but it loops and gets repetitive.
Thereís plenty of stuff to collect and unlock, but the game is rather short, even for an action game.
You wonít have much fun hacking away at zombies, but the presentation and mini-games are enjoyable.