There comes along, once in a while, a game that utterly stuns you with its uniqueness. It resides so far outside the bounds of what you, or others for that matter, are used to that even as you play it, you sit slack-jawed in disbelief. I’m not talking about a game with new, unique gameplay features or a boundry-pushing technological advancement. I’m talking about an air, a mood, a certain…something that lends it an aura of the special or the strange.
Looking through the catalogue of one Goichi “Suda 51” Suda, you will find several games that fit this category. His most recent contribution to gaming, Shadows of the Damned, was reviewed a ways back by my companion Suiko on this very site. Still, even that gem was diluted somewhat by the (not unappreciated) presence of Shinji Mikami. Suda’s games tend to be a bit rougher around the edges, both in terms of content and the game’s actual construction. Regarding his style, his magnum opus is probably Killer7, a horrifically dark and strange little gem that defies any real attempt at description. Being part surreal horror, part rail shooter, and 100% crazy and unique, not to mention touching on some rather ugly issues (terrorism, cult mentality, the variability of reality, child trafficking, suicide, rape), it handily shows Suda’s propensity for wholly individual and utterly unrestrained expression.
His other opus, No More Heroes, is similarly unbound, but for entirely different reasons. Where K7 was dark and disturbing, NMH is ridiculous and over-the-top. Where K7 asks you questions about the world around you, NMH just tells you to strap in for the ride. Where K7 casts you as seven psychotic killers, NMH casts you as one really, REALLY expressive one. And it is good, it is all good. NMH is one of the most enjoyable, fun and wholly unique experiences from this generation of consoles, and deserves to be played by anyone with an open mind and a taste for the eccentric.