Let It Die Preview

Princess Elsa should stay far away from this.

Let It Die is a strange beast, but that's nothing new when it comes to Suda51. Set in a post-apocalyptic carnival that's been turned into a killing ground, It's just about as comprehensible as, say, Killer7. Of course, if you look at Suda51's work closer, there's more substance in the narrative than what meets the eye, but you may need to scratch your head and visit several analytical forum threads before you can start figuring out the symbolism. But Let It Die, a free-to-play grindhouse-style action brawler, is more straightforward than that.

As a point of comparison, Let It Die is essentially what happens when you take FromSoftware's Souls franchise and filter it through Suda51's eyes. The game slants more toward a splatterhouse, with your player character crudely swinging whatever sword, knuckles, bat, or makeshift weapon to smash (mainly) humanoid enemies into bloody paste. You can cycle through three weapons on each hand; you can find better equipment as loot drops from enemies and lockers (yes, pants are good); and you have to pay close attention to your spacing with enemies. It only takes two enemies to overwhelm you, as you bob and weave through their attacks, since one clean hit can knock your character's health by quite a bit.

It's difficult not to notice other influences from Dark Souls either. All weapons, be it a baseball bat or a circular saw, have limited durability which needs to be restored or replaced. There will also be a home base with vendors, where you can spend money and save your progress, though it wasn't shown during the PAX West demo I played. Plenty of stat-boosting items can be consumed for temporary boons, while health is restored by eating frogs. (You read that correctly.) The developers didn't explain why frogs are the HP-restoration item of choice here, but I'll just file that under the giant umbrella known as "Oh, Suda…"

Of course, Let It Die wouldn't be a Suda51 game without having a smorgasbord of quirks, non-sequitors, and whatnot. The point of the story, from what can be discerned so far, is to ascend an unruly conglomeration of buildings assembled as a tower, which may remind you of Tartarus from Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3, one level at a time using escalators (because why not?). Dying in the game makes a female insurance agent pop up on the screen asking whether you wish to continue. (Just go with it.) And the blind boss at the end of the demo throws corpses as weapons and attempts to track you by using echolocation. Actually… by comparison, that's probably the most "normal" thing in this paragraph.

Let It Die, as the title suggests, expects you to die excessively. But there's a method to the madness. When your characters meets the grave, a zombie version of it will populate the world of other players, which might lead to the game becoming more difficult over time. But having higher-level zombies means having a higher chance of better loot and more experience points, so it should even out. Beyond this asynchronous multiplayer feature of sorts, the online portion of the game largely remains a mystery.

As for the free-to-play model, the developers ensure that none of the microtransactions will be pay-to-win, merely shortcuts that will ease progression. That better be so, or there will many who will literally let it die.

Let It Die will be a PS4 exclusive and release some time in 2016.