Let it Die, oh how we knew barely anything about you…Yet something about this little number announced officially back in 2014 seemed so…Compelling – Mad Max fused with No More Heroes with its’ roots set in Manhunt with a dash of Suda51 goodness? Sign me up!!
However, sadly, Let it Die is hardly the fantastical fusion we hoped it would’ve been – Plagued by an in-your-face Free-to-Play model, mixed with somewhat clunky combat, unfair level scaling and slightly awkward voice acting all come together into a deep, but underwhelming package.
Let it Die originally started life as Lily Bergamo, a completely different game under Suda51’s imaginative brain that set to star a female protagonist finding her way within a western-eastern fused world in the year 2043 – Let it Die is, clearly, quite different from those origins, bursting out from Suda51’s comfort zone like an angst-filled teen rocking out of his parents’ home to go make his way in the modern world…
Set as Suda51’s way to broaden his horizons and experiment with new forms of gaming popular in today’s culture, Let it Die takes the commonly hated F2P model with microtransactions and all, and applies it to what many would consider the equivalent to a Souls game. I must admit, I was quite impressed with how Suda was using player anger and desperation to earn some moolah, however the game is certainly more than pushy in how it presents these options. The goal of Let it Die is to reach the top of The Tower of Barbs, a large structure formed from the very land itself – Within the Tower of Barbs are odd machinations that hunt down entrants, with any entrant whom dies within the Tower being reanimated as a “Hater” (Essentially a zombie); this means that when you die in Let it Die, you, and other players, can find your hulking reanimated corpse as an enemy within the game to defeat, acting like minibosses of sorts.
This is where Let it Die introduces their F2P elements – If you die, you can purchase “Insurance” that revives your character on the spot for a small fee (From which this relevant currency can be bought with real world money), stopping your character from becoming a Hater, allowing you to continue to your next death. Players can also earn one piece of equipment every 24 hours, get daily login rewards and develop weapons and armour using materials, which takes real time to create. I wouldn’t outright call it a “Wait to Play” format, however it is a little annoying when you’re trying to develop your new kickass sword and have to wait a few minutes to even try it out. Weapons and armour too have durability, which sadly cannot be restored or repaired.
Now, allow me to get onto my main gripes with Let it Die – For starters, the combat and controls feel rather clunky, with button presses often registering far too sensitively; this is an issue, especially with ranged weapons like pistols or firework launchers, since after you shoot your first shot, you’re oddly ‘locked’ into firing another if you so much as touch the fire button – These weapons often opt for a Red Dead Redemption styled “Over the Shoulder” form of aiming, although other ranged weapons like firework launchers rely on either auto aiming, locking-on, or fire based on your characters’ facing direction, which can be extremely difficult when you’re in a sticky situation. The lock-on itself is a little clunky too, often targeting enemies behind your intended target.
Usable items too are a bit of a pain to select, with your PS4 DualShock 4’s touchpad being the main way to access your items – Mushrooms and Beasts you collect both provide positive and negative effects, like explosions, healing, poisioning or blinding, and are selected in this format; the left side of the touchpad primes items to be thrown with X, and the right side & center of the pad make you eat whatever is currently selected – This awkward way of controlling my items lead to me more often than not munching on a bomb or a poison mushroom, consistently leading to my untimely demise.
Unfortunately Let it Die’s problems don’t quite end there – The game, despite being a “tough-as-nails” Rougelike, is unbalanced as all buggery, with one of my early experiences being a fresh Level 1 character, who made it triumphantly up to the second floor of the Tower…Only to be presented with a single corridor, and one Level 24 Hater. And I got one-shotted. Yup. How is that even fair? Too many times have I lost a character on a pitifully low floor, only to try to retrieve them and find a Hater at Level 20-50 blocking my way up the Tower with an assault rifle or sniper, or some form of overpowered weaponry for the floor. The reason games such as Dark Souls are fun are because the deaths you suffer are from a result of your own poor choices, rather than just plain, outright putting you up against a deathly overpowered foe! Whilst it is very possible to overcome these enemies, the fact that you’re more than likely going to be one-shotted is simply offputting.
Some people over at the subreddit R/LetItDie too have noted that with much higher floors such as Floor 20 & 30, the difficulty spikes up to such a ridiculous point that its’ near-essential to use the microtransaction Insurance system to buy your way further up the tower. Honestly it’s kind of sad to see such a reliance on paying your way up the tower, however I must admit…It is clever.
I know that I’m ragging on Let it Die, and that it seems I’m just trying to choke the life out of it, however when a game slaps you with a hugely overpowered enemy that just demolishes you, and robotically says to your face “That’ll £0.50.”, I find it insulting. I wanted to love Let it Die, with it’s amazing soundtrack, sound design, and signature Suda51 goodness, but cheeky business practices, clunky combat and unfair difficulty spikes hold back what could’ve been Suda51’s graceful explosion back into the modern gaming scene.
I would personally rate Let it Die a 5 / 10; if I had to purchase the game, you could expect a far lesser rating.
Keep your eyes out for Luke (Self-Proclaimed Souls Fanboy!)’s opinions on Let it Die, coming soon! Maybe it’d open your eyes further!