In the gaming industry there are few people as unapologetically authentic as Suda 51 from GrassHopper Manufacture and at PAX East I was able to meet him and try his new game Let it Die. The game itself surprised me with how much I enjoyed it because it will be a Free-to-Play title and that usually ends my interest pretty quickly. Let it Die has all the hallmarks of a Suda 51 game, crazy characters, over the top scenarios, and shocking visuals, and in the end I could not help but enjoy myself playing it, the fact that Suda was next to me reacting as I played didn’t hurt the experience at all either.
Suda was on hand when I checked out the title and, with the help of a translator, I learned that the world of Let it Die is one formed after an apocalypse event has occurred and all of the surviving people are in a sprawling tower. It is a brutal existence Suda told me so everyone is out to get you and each other so you have to kill to survive and let it all die as the game title suggests. The game is a third person survival action title and as the demo booted up I was greeted with a character only outfitted in a dirty pair of underwear. I smiled and noted to Suda and the translator that it now feels like a Grasshopper game; I am running around almost naked. They laughed and Suda let me know that I would soon find some gear and weapons. I also asked if I would be able to customize characters in the full release and they assured me that many customization options would be available so the character represents what you want on the screen.
The game was very natural to get a hang of as I played the demo, as you find clothes, armor, and weapons (which happened pretty quickly) you are given the option to equip right away or put into inventory. The game also lets you attack with each hand and as you find weapons you can equip multiple ones on a quick bar for each hand so as you battle you can swiftly switch between weapon types. There were many aspects of combat that made the game engaging and fun throughout the demo. There were some stealth mechanics for quick kills, reinforced attacks that drain energy and if you stun enemies a deadly finishing move that we all exclaimed at when it happened. I stunned an opponent at just the right time and Suda got excited and tapped me on the shoulder – ‘Hit Y’ he said and I did with the right timing which initiated a brutal killing blow that was similar to Mortal Kombat‘s Fatalities. We all shared a laugh at the carnage I was able to unleash and I was told that usually people don’t trigger that event in the demo and they were glad I was able to pull it off.
The demo progressed and I died a couple of times as I was still getting the hang of the blocking and dodge mechanics for some of the tougher fights. I learned from Suda at this point that you will have a set number of lives given to you by a mysterious Insurance Girl, once you use up your insurance the game will put you back at the start losing your weapons and items. I asked about this and if there will be ways to get more Insurance or lives and they said yes, but that they cannot reveal how that will work at this time. It reminded me of Dark Souls, but with a Rust level of starting field, you are naked and alone in a dangerous environment and have to scrape your way to the top.
The demo took place in a run down deranged carnival like environment and as I neared the end fight I experimented with some of the other items I was collecting. Mushrooms and frogs are all around and can be assigned to quick slots like weapons. If you eat them they give a variety of effects including some negative ones. I also found a host of cool weapons, mostly melee, including a huge two handed naginata style sword and automatic weapons. The last boss appeared and Suda warned me that this would be a tough fight, I took a mushroom that boosted my attack and started attacking the boss who was a hideous mass of body parts, it was as gruesome as it was deadly. With some dodges and reinforced attacks I was able to take out the beast (while discovering that rear attacks cause more damage) and finished the demo. Suda and the translator congratulated me on my victory and let me know that the demo is hard to complete and especially hard to pull of finishing moves so I did a great job.
Let it Die is very interesting especially as a departure for Suda 51 and his creative team who usually concentrates on story and character driven titles like No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw. This game is procedurally generated, the story will more around you than about you, but I was assured by Suda that the game will have a terrific and crazy story that lives up to his legacy and despite how dark the game is it will have it’s darkly funny moments as well. I asked Suda about the Free-to-Play aspects of the game and was assured that this will not be a pay to win style game, but that they could not revel much more about the systems they will put in place. I let Suda and his team know that I enjoyed the taste of the game and was looking forward to the release on PlayStation 4 later this year, to close out our chat I asked Suda for a few words to describe the game. He said, “Brutal, Crazy and Death.” After having played the demo and met the man behind it I would say those words describe it just fine.