Killer is Dead: Nightmare Edition is a crazy hack-n-slash action game that feels similar to games like Devil May Cry 4 (and probably others in the series, which I have not played), in terms of gameplay. But, that's pretty much where the similarities end - KiD: Nightmare is a bat-crap crazy game - which has unique characters, unique look for a cel-shaded games, strange levels, surreal elements that feel right out of a David Lynch film, an over-the-top ridiculous story + plot, satire elements, 4th-wall breaking elements, and God knows what else. That certainly isn't everything, as this is the strangest + most unique game that I've played since Deadly Premonition. Fortunately for us PC gamers, this game actually received a decent PC port...unlike Deadly Premonition.
Without giving away too much on the story...well, it goes something like this: Mondo, who also has one bionic arm, works for an agency that assassinates people + does odd jobs. The story is just utterly over-the-top and ridiculous from there so I'll just leave it at that, plot-wise. The game is often very cryptic, not giving you everything in dialogue + in a straight-forward manner. Many of it, is in the visuals. Even if you cannot decipher the surreal + ridiculous story in its entirety, there is something else there that can help quite a bit - which I will get to later.
Mondo is a character who seems to have no real attachment to anything - and just does what he has to do, whether in a main-mission or side-mission, not asking many questions and just going full-steam ahead. And once you finally get the full picture (especially if you also check out Theatre Mode - which I will get to), you'll likely understand why Mondo is the way he is, once we are revealed so much about himself & his past. Once you see this all, it'll make more sense: no wonder Mondo is so screwed-up, as he goes about the main-quest and especially the Gigolo missions like he does, with little attachment to anything & just going straight-forward with full-steam ahead.
Once you finish the game + you want some things to be cleared-up, do yourself a favor: look + read over the unlocked Theatre Mode (which you can access in-game, in The Office). This actually tells the story + each chapter, in all of its ridiculous insanity, in a very straight-forward manner. If there's something that needs to be cleared up, there's a good chance that it's in there. Though, not everything will be revealed - as it's possible some things are meant to be left ambiguous to be interepreted or leave wide-open for (hopefully) a sequel.
This game ran on Ultra settings at a very consistent + solid 30 frames per second, most of the time. I had very few hitches + slow-downs on my rig (i7 950; 1 GB VRAM GeForce 560 Ti; 16 GB RAM; Win 7 64-bit OS) - namely, on one part on the final level for the main-quest, actually. Some PC gamers might complain the game is locked at 30 frames (since many here do prefer 60 frames per second for a frame-cap), but the game runs smooth as silk for the most part & looks really slick. I'd rather have it at a stable 30 frames 99% of the time than say floating anywhere at anytime b/t 30 to 60 frames often, IMHO.
Its art-style oozes nothing but unique-ness. The game has a cel-shaded look, but it still looks much different than other cel-shaded games such as the FPS game XIII + Borderlands series. While it may not be the most technically looking great, its art style is ozzing style, personality, unique-ness - and that style is completely fantastic, with its look, use of colors, and everything. No other cel-shaded games looks like this - period.
The game offers up main-missions and side-missions, on the game's world-map. You select a mission and then go there. Most missions, they're quite linear - as you'll often wind-up going from point A to point B, in a linear fashion - hacking- slashing, shooting, and chopping your enemies up. Some maps are quite open, as you might have to find a few items in this huge map. Finish a map, you'll be graded - and you'll earn more money for items you can buy + also earn experience as you play to upgrade your character's skills.
As you do more main missions, you'll often unlock other side-quests. Side-quests can vary in their nature. When you finish an Episode (to the main quest), you'll often unlock other side-quests in which you re-visit areas (from the Main Quest) and have specific challenges to do - which basically have side-quests often acting like challenge-maps that you'd see in other games. It could be a timed-event. It could be finding a specific item in the area and exiting the area. It could be just a specific new side-mission in that area. Who knows, roll the dice - as that is pretty much the kind of variety & insanity that comes with this game.
There are even side-missions where you play a Gigolo and try to seduce girls, in which they often up certain weapons + upgrades that you can only from doing these missions. As silly & ridiculous as these Gigolo missions are, where you have to check-out the girls, look at them, ogle them, etc..especially when they aren't paying attention - this just enforces plenty of the game's already often 4th wall breaking + satire elements, making Mondo seem like a very flawed James Bond-like type of character - and slickly also being a satire on the world of assassins and spies, as well. Simply put: this game is loaded with over-the-top sex (from the Gigolo missions) and violence (from namely the main-missions).
Even when you finish the game's main quest, you can re-do any missions you've done or not done - and continue in the game-world, which is great for players who want to master the game. Also, when selecting a mission from the world-map - the player can switch the difficulty of the even the level itself at any time. Since each difficulty had your best grade tied to it, people who want to master this game are likely going to replay it.
With the X360 gamepad (which is how I played the game) - the combat looks + feels absolutely awesome. While it does take a little bit to get going as it eases the player into learning the game early on - once the game gets going, it gets going. The game gets better and better with its combat, once you get more skills + upgrades and more different enemy types to take on. Also throw in some awesome finishing moves (cutting people's heads off & slicing people in half) & incredible boss-fights, the game is nothing short of an action-packed roller-coaster ride.
After the 12-13 hours that I appoximately spent with this game (on my 1st run), I was left with an often awesome, unique & crazy game. This over-the-top, utterly ridiculous, hack-n-slash game is an absolute blast, especially in the main missions. While some of the side-missions (challenge style missions + the repetitive nature of the Gigolo missions) are nowhere as great as the main-mission stuff + sometimes leave a little left to be desired here, they're still optional for the player to have things to do + challenges to take on, if you feel inclined. The unique art-style implemented in this cel-shaded game look great and the game runs extremely well (even if it is locked at 30 frames per second). Add onto this all that the game also has unique characters & a bat-crap crazy story + plot, satire elements, and 4th-wall breaking elements - this game is going to have its own cult-following for this stuff alone. Add onto it that gamers who might not care about the story stuff might want awesome combat, excellent boss fights - that is here, as well. Gamers who want it all - action, story, plot, insanity, you're not going to be left behind. There's just too much to like + love here for gamers to ignore; especially hack-n-slash action gamers. Killer Is Dead is the name of the game, but it's more like Killer Is Alive. This game feels alive, thrives (in so many ways) & is an absolutely awesome hack-n-slash action game.
Grade = B.