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In 2026, a massive cataclysm will rock the world. Earthquakes will ruin nations, chunks of Japan will fall into the ocean, and a massive city-spire known as the Tower of Barbs will rise from the sea and beckon adventurers to explore its heights.  Oh, and a skateboarding grim reaper wearing 3D glasses will also be there to dole out advice to those who dare the climb.

…Yep, Let It Die sure sounds like a Grasshopper Manufacture game to me.

I recently had a chance to get some hands-on time with Let It Die, Grasshopper’s upcoming free-to-play PS4 action game, and it’s just as wacky as one would expect from the same house that brought us Killer 7, No More Heroes, and Shadows of the Damned. While I only scratched the surface of the Tower of Barbs, it did give me an idea of what to expect when it launches later this year.

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First off, let’s talk about the aesthetic. The look and tone of Let It Die is very much in line with other games from this developer. By fusing a mix of ‘80s anime with Western pop culture, the style certainly stands out. The overenthusiastic Uncle Death serves as a guide-slash-host with a personality that would be at home in any early homemade thrash-skate movie.

Combat is very action-forward with some mild RPG elements thrown in. It’s not the most graceful of games, with dodging being a bit… well… dodgy, and issues with locking on did get in the way at times, but nothing too problematic.

Let It Die’s weapons appear to be cobbled together from items that are found laying around in the environment. Instead of traditional fare, I found electric irons, firework launchers, and crudely assembled clubs — all of this would be right at home in a Dead Rising game. I also saw a revolver or two scattered about, but don’t expect standard weaponry to be common, and either way, don’t plan to hold onto anything for long. Every weapon has a set durability, limiting how many times it can be used until it breaks.

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I hate how everything gets compared to Dark Souls these days, but let’s face it, when it comes to Let It Die‘s leveling and death system, I could clearly see the connections. Killing the denizens of the tower earns Kill Coins that can be used to level your fighter’s stats. Die before getting back to the Waiting Room (essentially the game’s hub zone) and you lose them and your fighter.

A plucky ‘death insurance’ salesgirl can insure your fighter, bringing them back to the moment of death, but you have to pay for it with one of several types of currency in Let It Die. The build I played had tons of this currency banked, so I’m not sure how often (if it all) you can earn this outside of the free-to-play business model, but this system is my largest concern.  If it’s too stingy or locks too much behind paywalls, dying will quickly go from mildly frustrating to infuriating.

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Additionally, dying causes your “Death Data” to be shared across other games, letting your deceased fighter appear in other player’s worlds as a tough opponent. These “Haters”  (as they’re called) are more dangerous than the native enemies, but offer up greater rewards for killing them – they’re equipped with whatever the player had when they died, and are clearly marked if you wish to avoid them… if you can avoid them, that is.

Overall, I’m reluctant to give a full endorsement to Let It Die until I see how it operates in the wild. The controls weren’t nearly as tight as I would have hoped for, and the free-to-play route the game is taking is concerning enough to give me pause. However, I love the style of the game and the allure of the mysterious Tower of Barbs makes me want to dive in. Since it’s going to be F2P, my suggestion is to take a look for yourself when it launches later this year – there’s no risk in taking a look to see if it’s your kind of game.

 

 

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