Let It Die
If there's one thing we can expect from Goichi Suda (better known as Suda51), it's that anything he does is going to be over the top. Blood doesn't just flow in his games, it spills out over the floor, threatening to soak into the carpet and never come out. Humor isn't tongue-in-cheek, it pokes and prods until maybe you're just a bit uncomfortable.
Such is the way of things in his next game, Let it Die. All we know about the story is that a tower has emerged in Tokyo, destroying part of the city. Suda wouldn't tell me any more when I inquired. He wants players to uncover the story for themselves.
Players are dropped into the environment mostly naked, with human and demon enemies patrolling the area, waiting for a bat to the head. You'll find better gear (and pants) along the way, and you can equip three items in each hand. I had a sword, two-handed halberd, crossbow, nail gun, and circular saw by the time I finished the brief demo.
The gameplay is bloody and brutal, with light action-RPG elements in the way the game displays damage and handles communicating weapon and armor stats. It's still heavily planted in the action side of things, as you methodically slash, block, and dodge, but the added layer of gear rating helped me make informed choices about what to keep and what to toss.
The art style is heavily reminiscent of one of my favorite Suda joints, Shadows of the Damned. In fact, he told me of all his games, Let it Die has the most in common with that tag-team project with Shinji Mikami. It doesn't share a universe with it, but the two games have the same vibe.
Let it Die is a free-to-play game, but it's largely a single-player experience. There is asynchronous multiplayer, though Grasshopper Manufacture won't be detailing how that works until later. The same goes for the monetization, which will help speed players along, but won't be used to gate content.
The final encounter in the demo was a pulsating, lumbering mound of flesh that attacked with corpses ripped from its own back. The fight was intense, requiring me to dodge and time my attacks and make use of a special move that charges as you fight.
I'm intrigued by Let it Die, in no small part because of the mystery Suda has created around the game. I have oodles of questions he isn't ready to answer yet, as he wanted to focus on the combat for our first playable experience. It was the right call. The gory combat feels well-paced at this juncture, and I'm eager to dive deeper to learn how the game will keep players hooked over time to make the most of its business model.
Let it Die will be out this year on PS4.