games / Reviews

Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3) Review

June 25, 2012 | Posted by Mark Salmela

Title: Lollipop Chainsaw
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacturer
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature

Lollipop Chainsaw is the latest game from the crazy mind of Suda 51, and like many of his other games, it’s 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.

Juliet’s on a mission to rescue her boyfriend Nick from the zombies, but as you might be able to tell from the box art; Juliet wasn’t very successful in saving Nick. Thankfully, Juliet knew a spell to preserve the head, and now Nick’s chained to her waist throughout the game, scared, confused, and quite frankly unsure of what’s 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. It’s 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 isn’t very fun to play. Whether or not it was by design since Juliet’s wielding a large chainsaw the combat just doesn’t have any flow to it. Juliet’s attacks are clunky and not fluid. Until you unlock some of the later combos in the game you’ll 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. It’s not very fun seeing Juliet get hacked at by zombies because you couldn’t move while she finished her last animation.

Besides the lack of actual flow in the combat the attack system isn’t very fun to use. You have a high/heavy attack, a low attack, a quick attack that’s almost useless, and a dodge which doesn’t 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 you’ll clearly slice through a zombie and the attack won’t connect, while other times you’ll be hacking away in a room full of zombies and connect with zombies you didn’t actually hit. It becomes an even bigger pain when zombies have such a tendency to grab Juliet, and then you’re forced to push circle in a split second or else you’re 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 Nick’s 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 you’re sick of it. The same goes for the zombies. The first time you run into a zombie with a bomb strapped to its chest it’s rather enjoyable to kill, but by the time you kill your 1000th zombie with a bomb strapped to its chest you’ll be over the whole concept. It wouldn’t be such a problem if the game wasn’t 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.

Pros

– A very unique personality that’s 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

Cons

– Combat lacks fluidity
– Combos aren’t 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 aren’t very fun, and one-hit kills suck

The 411


Smells like teen spirit.

It’s a shame that there isn’t 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 it’s 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 it’s everything else in Lollipop Chainsaw that makes it a passable experience and worth checking out.

Graphics8.5The art style and use of color is fantastic. Too bad the camera can be a pain. 
Gameplay6.0There’s a lot of great variation to keep the gameplay fresh, but the meat of the game isn’t very good. The combat is lackluster. 
Sound7.0The voice acting is enjoyable, and the music is good, but it loops and gets repetitive. 
Lasting Appeal6.0There’s plenty of stuff to collect and unlock, but the game is rather short, even for an action game. 
Fun Factor 7.0You won’t have much fun hacking away at zombies, but the presentation and mini-games are enjoyable. 
Overall6.5   [ Average ]  legend

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Mark Salmela

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