LET IT DIE Preview: Death is a Beginning
Greg Johnson / Sep 15th, 2016 No Comments
Grasshopper Manufacture and GungHo Online Entertainment’s LET IT DIE is looking to normalize a world where art and blood can hold hands in an open, public relationship.
We were lucky enough to get some one-on-one time with Hideyuki Shin, Chief Director of LET IT DIE, during our gameplay demo at PAX West 2016. Via the help of a translator we discussed gore, guns, and a groovy grim reaper named Uncle Death.
Never Say Die
I woke up in a strange and dirty alley with nothing but my underwear and a desire for answers. To get those answers I would have to fight my way to them. But for the Seattle Police Department, everything else is confidential.
LET IT DIE started me off with nothing but I was quickly able to kill various thugs and loot various items of clothing along with some choice weapons.
Combat required me to gauge when enemies would attack, dodge, and then unleash my own volley of blows. Controls were smooth, allowing me to switch between fists and weapons relatively quickly, all while evading enemies. Weapons ranged from bats and swords to nailguns and pistols, all readily available on the screen enabling players to switch to their preferred tool of death at a moment’s notice.
Scoring kills immediately rewards players with shocking sprays of blood and, of course, the screams of my enemies. Looting was fast and can be done on the fly without having to spend a lot of time messing around in complicated menu screens.
Various vegetation and animals–mostly mushrooms and rats–can be found and stored or immediately eaten for various effects. Eating a grenade mushroom would cause undo harm to my personage but a stat boosting damage mushroom yields stellar results in dealing with large swarms of baddies.
What each item did was clearly displayed underneath, giving me a hint as to the effect I would gain through consumption or use. Being careful in making a selection was key, lest I slide past a stat boosting item and accidentally eat a grenade.
I did experiment around with eating things I shouldn’t, despite developer protests, and the results were visually satisfying despite the deaths I incurred.
The demo had me exploring a city in chaos while attempting to make sense of how I’d gotten myself into this aggressive street brawl. Meanwhile Uncle Death, a strange grim reaper sporting odd shades, urged me on like a rapid fanboy. Uncle Death would make note of how well I was or wasn’t doing and guided me around the world while providing useful tips.
Hideyuki also noted that Uncle Death’s constantly calling my player “senpai” implied a master/apprentice relationship. This indicates that Uncle Death will see players as a superior entity, someone he can learn from. Where this will fit in plot-wise wasn’t elaborated on to keep some level of mystery present for the full release.
When I died, which happened quite a bit, I was asked by a beautiful insurance agent what I thought of a plan her mysterious company was offering. Declining the offer of insurance was a quirky way of refusing to continue on, thus resulting in a game over. This sort of odd humor made sure there was never a dull moment in LET IT DIE.
Let The Story Go
After spending some time with the game I asked Hideyuki where the title “LET IT DIE” came from. He made a joke regarding the association of USA-based gamers with the song “Let It Go” and assured me there was no correlation.
More seriously, he brought up the game’s themes of death and violence, noting how the title was meant to preface and prepare players for the killing within LET IT DIE. This, coupled with Uncle Death, was meant to have players be more accepting of all the death and the violence through the use of surreal disassociation.
The art style was incredibly visceral. Controls had me feeling each swing or shot of my weapons. These gameplay mechanics helped pull me into the pure action of LET IT DIE. Yet my Grim Reaper spirit guide was odd enough to kept me at a healthy distance from the carnage I was inflicting.
I dug deeper about the themes of the game, asking about the blending of surreal and real along this path. I was mostly given another tease from Hideyuki that a lot of LET IT DIE would be made clearer with the full release. Essentially it was the “no spoilers” answer, which is fine for now considering how much I wanted to delve further into LET IT DIE’s world and mythos.
One other very interesting feature is how a loose sense of multiplayer was implemented. Upon dying, a player’s data is saved and turned into an enemy that can then be fought by other players. These “death data” enemies are far more intense than run of the mill baddies and often guard the good loot that can be found in the game.
One such enemy I encountered was able to dodge and counter the same as me, whereas enemies before had just blindly rushed in. This was a welcome challenge and provided good training for the boss at the end of the demo. This boss utilized stealth mechanics I don’t want to spoil here, as he will more than likely appear in the final game.
At its core, LET IT DIE was described by Hideyuki as a very serious action game that would test players’ mettle and provide a unique look at death. No pun intended, Uncle Death.
LET IT DIE has an expected release date at the end of 2016 on PS4.
As an added treat, LET IT DIE has begun a Developer Diary, showcasing the macabre and humorous nature of the game along with a peek into the development process.
LET IT DIE Dev Diary
tags: Grasshopper Manufacture , GungHo Online Entertainment Inc , Let It Die , PAX , PAX West 2016 , preview , ps4