Buoyed by my achievement last year of completing a video game all by myself, Ric decided to listen to the hints I’d been dropping since it came out and got me a copy of Lollipop Chainsaw for Christmas.
“What’s that?” I hear you say? Self-proclaimed feminist Gamerwife is playing a game where the protagonist is a panty-flashing walking sex object? Yup. I sure am. And I’m loving every minute of it.
First off, the feminist question. Again, it’s about context. If the character was meant to be some sort of rocket scientist and looked and sounded the way she does, maybe there’d be a case for this. But the whole thing is one giant ode to exploitation films, just like game co-creator James Gunn makes during his day job. Also, rainbows and hearts come out of zombies when you hack them apart with your chainsaw. Complaining about a little fan service seems like it’s sorely missing the point. That said, the existence of well rounded female characters like FemShep or the new Lara Croft do a lot to mitigate Juliet Starling’s stereotypical physique. But, other than her appearance, she’s actually a pretty strong, likable character. So there.
Now, on to the game itself.
The gameplay in Lollipop Chainsaw is not difficult. It’s a button-mashing score attack game where you alternate between bashing zombies with your pom-poms and hacking them to pieces with your monogrammed pink chainsaw. Combo are unlocked for purchase at the “Chop-to-Shop” store, as are a plethora of revealing outfits for Juliet. There are a lot of mini-games to break up the button-mashing, most of them involving strapping your boyfriend Nick’s decapitated head to a zombie body and fumbling through a quicktime event. Okay, maybe only I was fumbling.
The story is pretty bare-bones, but the dialogue is cute, witty and peppered with profanity. The only real complaints I have with the game so far is that loading screens go on FOREVER and there seems to be a pretty substantial delay when you switch to your chainsaw. I don’t know if the loading time is a PlayStation 3 issue or built into the game itself, but the combat is so fast and furious, waiting a full minute for the next level to load can seriously mess with your momentum. As for the chainsaw delay, I guess that’s probably a design choice, but again, with a button-masher you want your character to react as quickly as you can slam your thumb into those buttons. Right?
While I am having fun playing it, I’m glad Rick waited until the price dropped to something reasonable as this is far from a full-price game. It’s entertaining, simple and satisfying for a noob like me, but certainly nothing revolutionary. But Rick does enjoy the fact that I complain about my thumbs hurting after playing. Maybe he’ll make a gamerwife of me yet.