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Capcom is great

July 19, 2005 ・ Blog

Killer 7 has finally come out, the last of the four (surviving) new games that Capcom pledged for the GameCube a couple of years ago.

Theyre all amazing games, polished, deep and imaginative, and three of them – Resident Evil 4, P.N. 03 and Killer 7 (the fourth was Viewtiful Joe) – form a kind of triumvirate that explore the concept of the modern shooter.

P.N. 03 was the first to come out. Almost terminally misunderstood, it is about position, timing and rhythm. People think that the controls are sluggish and frustrating, but they’re not. Match the rhythm of the game and you’ll find yourself avoiding enemy fire and sweeping out to dole out your own with elegance and calculated flair. You’re given a precise range of moves – you have to work out the best strategy to efficiently deal with each of the enemy types and win those points.

Resident Evil 4 is all about crowd control of the hordes of not-zombies that relentlessly come at you. The weaponry is perfectly designed, with each gun ideal for a different function. The shotgun will blow back and stall enemies, the rifle will drop specific targets in single shots and the machine gun will hold them back in wide arcs. It demands a steely nerve, a steady hand and careful timing of the reload. Accuracy is valuable, but not as important as careful prioritising in the heat of each intense, visceral encounter.

Killer 7’s bold visual style, self-consciously cryptic cutscenes and disparate control scheme hides a relatively simple game structure. Not a simplistic game, though. Killer 7 is about precision and puzzle solving. Each enemy demands a different technique to kill it efficiently, a weak spot to be exploited, an appropriate skill to be employed. The stark precision of the graphics mirror the precision that you have to use for each shot. You can blast away indiscriminately to start with, but soon, to kill fast, you need to shoot accurately and with thought.

Capcom is easily the most exciting third-party console game publisher around at the moment, and more is to come: the amazingly beautiful Okami. Imaginative, progressive, beautiful, fun, exciting. It’s a good time to be playing games.