Preview: Let It Die Is Fittingly Outrageous For Suda51, But Extra Gruesome

It should go without saying that Let It Die, the upcoming free-to-play action title that bears the Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture names, is going to be outrageous. The trailers that have been released for the game certainly indicate as much, showcasing all manner of over-the-top violence, monstrous creatures, and absurd themes. I mean, there's a Grim Reaper-type who rides a skateboard! That's got the signature Suda51 brand of lunacy written all over it.

I spent some time playing Let It Die at publisher GungHo Online Entertainment's Los Angeles offices recently. As a huge Grasshopper Manufacture fan — No More Heroes 2 is one of my favorite games of all time — I'd deem it an understatement to say that I was excited to get a hands-on go with the upcoming brawler. I played a fairly early build so, naturally, it wasn't entirely fleshed out. But even so, the foundations for a fun adventure are certainly there.

Starting With Nothing

When you begin playing Let It Die, your character will start out with absolutely nothing — no clothes, no weapons, no items. As you explore the procedurally generated stages, you must begin scavenging by defeating enemies and picking up essential items, such as mushrooms, that give you varying stat boosts. While playing the game, I guided my half-naked character around a grim carnival area. I spotted a hostile character with his back turned in the distance, so I slowly and quietly made my way toward him before delivering a devastating back suplex and stomping him to death.

Yes, there will be wrestling moves in Let It Die. This is a Suda51 game, after all. Anyone who played the No More Heroes games is likely to remember the large number of offensive maneuvers at their disposal. And as a fan of both wrestling and those earlier Suda51 games, I'm really looking forward to seeing what other Lucha Libre finishers are tucked away in Let It Die. Oh, also, killing enemies results in a fountain of coins flying from their dead bodies, which is yet another familiar No More Heroes reference.

But back to my unarmed dude wearing nothing but tight briefs. After defeating my first enemy, I was able to pick up the baseball bat he'd been holding and equip it for myself. As you'd expect, this blunt weapon is ideal for bringing the pain and taking down any baddies you come across. I spent most of the demo with the baseball bat, but other weapons, such as blades, will also be available for you to snag.

Weapons will all grant you different types of attacks, and you'll even be able to pull off special finishers that are heavy on the gore. In addition to weapons, you'll also be able to pick up your fallen foes' armor and suit up. Judging from the huge boss creatures we've seen in the Let It Die trailers thus far, you're going to need all the protection you can find.

Dark and Gruesome But Still Lighthearted

As if the professional wrestling attacks weren't indicative enough, Let It Die will offer up that signature lighthearted style that Grasshopper Manufacture titles are known for. At one point, I was killed by some enemies and one of them actually did a cartwheel over my fallen character's corpse. It was hilarious, and it made my defeat sting a little bit less.

Even with the funny moments, though, Let It Die isn't as colorful as previous works from Grasshopper Manufacture. The whole thing has a grittier look to it, with crumbling industrial buildings and an ominous tone. In terms of the visuals, I was reminded slightly of Shadows of the Damned, though the dark carnival area I played through was even eerier than Suda51's vision of hell in that previous project.

Enemy designs are also dark, with almost-skeletal figures stumbling toward me, ready to go in for the kill. By the time I reached the end of the demo, I was faced with taking on a hideous mid-boss. This monster was quite large despite not being an end-level boss, and it was kind of grotesque to behold. Its massive body was filled with smaller bodies, and its main attack basically relied on the creature pulling those bodies out of its own and tossing them at me. It was equal parts deranged and comedic.

Surviving The Nightmare

Let It Die is an intriguing project for a number of reasons. For starters, it spawned from the canceled Lily Bergamo, a Grasshopper Manufacture project that gained a strong following due to its attractive promotional art and attention-grabbing trailer. Let It Die is said to feature a lot of gameplay and design elements from that scrapped production. Aside from that, the fact that this new game will be free-to-play is an especially curious decision on the part of the developer.

Also interesting is the way the game handles death. If you meet an untimely demise, your player data will be uploaded to an online server. It will then be unleashed into other players' games as an enemy, and its attack logic will be based on your unique play style. So while the game won't be a traditional online experience, it will have some neat server-based features.

What I played of Let It Die felt somewhat bare and empty with regard to the number of enemies on the map, and it was kind of rough in terms of polish. That said, I still enjoyed my time with it and had a few laughs along the way. I imagine the final product will be a much tighter experience that takes the core ideas presented so far and expands them in meaningful ways. Ultimately, I'm pretty stoked to see the game evolve, and I look forward to seeing what it becomes.

Let It Die will be out exclusively on PlayStation 4, and it's expected to launch later this year.