Lollipop Chainsaw is certainly one of the more interesting games that I have played this year so far. Ever since I saw the first promotion for it in Gamestop I thought to myself, "That looks very goofy." And goofy it is. Lollipop Chainsaw pulls no punches and quite frankly I really liked it.
Now before anyone posts comments about it, yes, I'm aware that this game does have its fair share of haters. Yes, I'm aware that my score may be higher than what you would give it. Yes, I'm aware that it's short. Yes, I'm aware that most people feel that this isn't a sixty dollar game. I'm not going to dissuade from any of that. This is my review based on my experience with the game, so please remember that.
The only reason why I bring up those points is because this game has a very mixed impression with gamers. That and I'm tired of people telling me that I'm being "generous" with my scores and "I wouldn't have rated it that". As it is, gamers can be very mean about some things. Sometimes they are so demeaning toward something that they would take personal offense if you liked a game that they hate. News flash people: Just because you like something doesn't mean that other people do. Lollipop Chainsaw is a good game, if you can work around the technicalities.
First up we have story. One would think a story involving a chainsaw wielding/zombie hunting high school cheerleader would be something out of Quentin Tarantino's ideas. Yet, the whole story of Lollipop Chainsaw is pretty good. It's not mind blowingly awesome or revolutionary or psychologically messes with you. It's an average story about an outcast who seeks revenge on society for making his life hell and does so by summoning the Dark Purveyors (undead, yet otherworldly warlords). Just so happens that our main character, Juliet, and her family are slayers of all things undead and supernatural. Also, let me say, I had no idea what I was in for at the last section of the game. In a good way, granted.
How about gameplay? I really thought that the gameplay here was going to remind me of No More Heroes. Far from it actually. The gameplay here stands on its own. It has it's own style and separates it from other hack and slashers. It's also very addictive, especially when you get new combos to add to your fighting style. You can have a move for slashing at zombies' legs and another where you spin around like a tornado causing excessive damage. You can even activate a super meter where Juliet's chainsaw attacks will do automatic kills on zombies. This is especially helpful with Sparkle Hunting (yes, you read that right) which I will explain later on.
The only problem one would have with the gameplay is the camera. There are moments when you're moving the camera in a closed off area or even a small area and it focuses too close. As a result, it could hamper your ability to see enemies closing in from certain angles. Other than that, I don't see a reason for people to moan and groan about it. If you're really good at moving the camera in a third person game or are an experienced hack and slash gamer (like me), then this will give you no problem.
Zombies are very easy to take care of when you know your moves. Probably the biggest problem they could cause is when you're trying to rescue other classmates. The health of your classmates is weak, but expected. REMEMBER: Don't dawdle, just focus on the rescue and make quick work of enemies.
Juliet can also purchase upgrades and costumes from shops that pop up throughout the game. You can purchase these upgrades through zombie medals. Gold zombie models are the most common to get and platinum are the hardest (albeit when you slay a strong zombie you get one). The one bad thing to ever purchase at the shops are the platinum medals. Now that may sound good, but believe me when I say that buying one platinum medal in exchange for five hundred of your gold medals is a terrible deal!
The easiest way to get both types of medals is when you execute three or more zombies at the same time. This is Sparkle Hunting. It boosts your score and multiplies your earned medals per zombies you kill. Trust me, it's easier than it sounds and the reward is well worth it when you're netting dozens of medals from one fight.
You also can get collectibles throughout the game. There are different lollipops you can find across the game, phone calls from your family, and music you can purchase. That seems to be one of the things you can do for replay value, but I'd rather play it for the game itself and get cool moves and costumes.
Anyway, the graphics are pretty good. Cell shaded seems to be the style gone for here and it works. This universe has its own small mythos and the gameplay is complimented by the cell shading. Character models are original, including the bosses. All of Juliet's family have different personalities and styles that are easily recognizable. The Dark Purveyors have great designs. You face off against similar zombie models, but that's sort of expected.
When it comes to the environments they are essentially small areas with some hallway structured areas. In other words, they can range from big room/area to narrow pathway. One thing that did bother me was how restrictive areas can be. You can't even jump over cars on your own. Juliet is very athletic, so jumping over cars should not be a problem.
There are some problems with the sound in the game. A few times there was overlapping of dialogue and it would repeat a few times until you moved on to a new area. This was more so common in the farming area of town. Voice acting was pretty good. When you see the cast, you can look up their filmography. The soundtrack is flat out phenomenal. Believe me when I say that you will get "Lollipop" and "Mickey" stuck in your head. Overall, overlapping dialogue was the main issue, but sound was solid otherwise.
So my conclusion is this: Don't listen to the people on the hate train. It is not 4 hours long and the gameplay is not complicated. The game will take you between 5 to 6 hours to beat. And as ridiculous as the story is, it isn't unbearable to work through and it's actually pretty tame for being over the top. The characters are likeable, the humor can be dark but funny, and the gameplay is good. Is it worth 60 dollars, though? No. It's more of a 30 dollar game. The price is what's turning me away from recommending it as of now. You can rent Lollipop Chainsaw, but if it seems like something you want to own just wait for a price drop.