Let It Die First Impressions - First 3 hours Of Pain

Surprise! Suda 51's latest project is now officially out for those that own a PS4. During this year's PlayStation Experience, a new trailer was shown and revealed that the game is now available for download, free of charge. I turned on PSN US and there it was, requiring 33GB of space from my 500GB PS4. Once the download was over, I started the game and got my ass kicked.

It's difficult. It's more tolerable if you compare Let it Die to let's say the Souls series, but it's still no slouch since your death can result in you losing your character and all the items picked up along the way. It's a rogue-like dungeon crawler with Suda 51's weirdness injected from art to how much blood is thrown at the screen. it's great fun, and there's a lot of character thrown at you at the start of the game, but there's so much to take in.

You Start Fresh With Each New Character, And Everything Eventually Breaks

Unless you have gear stocked up in storage, you start with some random guy/girl with nothing but their underwear at level 1. You are simply tasked to reach the top of the Tower of Barbs. As you go from floor to floor. There will be enemies to kill, bosses to fight, and loot to pick up. Again, if you die, and you didn't fall back to the game's safe hub to store your hard-earned loot - you lose everything. To add more insult to injury, armor and weapons all have durability, so you are forced to never be comfortable with a specific gear. I find myself constantly adjusting to what I can find, clearing one floor after another. Characters can level up and improve their stats by spending the experience earned at some contraption found in the waiting hub, but once that guy dies, say goodbye to that leveled up character.

The grind is real but the progression in weapon masteries gives you the idea that you are moving forward. Based on my first 3 hours with the game, weapon masteries affects all your characters. There's a series of weapons from the straightforward to the absurd - I've experienced a hammer, a baseball bat, a clothes iron, even a gun that shoots fireworks, each of these weapons have durability/ammo and get closer to breaking or becoming useless with each use. If you so happen to get the last hit with a specific weapon, you get experience to that weapon mastery. Once a weapon mastery levels up, you get permanent passive perks like - reduce stamina use, increase damage input, or even give a new move to use with that weapon. 

Does the weapon masteries make much of a difference? Well it feels like it does, but again this is based on the first three hours. I've yet to reach the 6th floor of the Tower of Barbs. 

Yet Another Randomly Generated Experience

Yes, each floor you go through will not be similar to let's say floor 2 of your last character. From what I've experienced - level design, enemies, loot - are randomized. This is a game that requires you to learn the basic functions and simply adjust to what each floor throws at you. To add more difficulty and randomness to each room, they throw in player characters that died in the game called Haters. It's their take in the Souls formula of somewhat fusing online with their single player offering. These Haters are AI controlled enemies randomly dumped in your floor without warning, and it will have all the gear and levels when it met his/her demise as a player. You can distinguish that you are fighting a late character of a player if its name is highlighted in orange. It's pretty random because I've encountered a level 25 Hater during my second floor. I of course ran and lets just say everything went downhill really fast.  

It has a decent difficulty curve at the start but I'm finding progress thanks to the unlocks available moving higher and higher in the Tower of Barbs. The randomness of each floor still throws me off guard but I'm finding myself determined to reach the top despite getting discouraged once my character dies. There's an in-game currency that you earn as you go through the tutorial and can be used to revive a character that just died, or use it to upgrade other features in the game, like storage space for example. They promote the in-game currency in the most hilarious way and they really try to sell you the importance of it, provoking to spend, but I find myself not budging because i'm finding joy with what's available at zero cost. 

More to Come...

The world is beyond weird, but it fits if you are familiar with Suda 51's previous work. The game never takes itself seriously and it's better for it. The need to spend real money to enjoy the game at higher levels is unknown right now, and there's more features to explore. There's a multiplayer component, blueprints to craft weapons, materials to gather for crafting, and quests being unlocked as I go higher. I noticed a level cap for characters and I've heard of new batches of characters that  can be unlocked as I go higher in the Tower of Barbs. I've fought one boss so far and I hear there are mid bosses and bosses. What's the difference? I will know once I encounter more of them.

There's a lot of meat for this surprise Free-To-Play title on the PS4. I see the sense of challenge, and the purpose to move forward despite the heavy penalty for dying. I don't find it cheap in terms of how difficult it can be, and that's a good thing with a game like this. My journey is currently on-going and we'll see how this game feels once I reach the top of the tower. That is, if I have the chops to reach that high. 

By: Carlos Hernandez