Title: Let It Die
Version Tested: PlayStation 4
Available On: Playstation 4
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment Inc
Genre: Hack and Slack
Official Site: Letitdiethegame.com
Release Date: December 3, 2016
Where To Buy: Playstation Store
Let It Die can be a difficult game to put your finger on. It’s tons of fun when you first jump in. The quirkiness in the presentation and the easy to figure out gameplay keeps you curious to dive deeper and you begin to wonder how this game is F2P. You soon realize, however, that the thin exterior that looks so good at first is incredibly shallow and doesn’t hold up to prolonged investigation.
There isn’t much of a story to speak of in Let It Die. You are a person inside an arcade run by the Grim Reaper, or Uncle Death as he’s known in the game, and you are playing Let It Die. There’s a smug video game genius in there to give you game tips and a stereotypically annoying, teenage valley girl behind the desk giving you in-game quests. Then you jump into the game, a roguelike where you start in your waiting room, a base camp at the bottom of the Tower of Barbs where you have your storage, fighters and a couple shops. From there, your goal is to simply climb the tower until you reach the top, which is the 40th floor.
The gameplay itself is incredibly simple. You have weapon slots for both hands which are individually controlled by the shoulder buttons where you have a basic attack and a strong attack. You can also sprint, dodge, block, sneak and jump. This simple combat allows you to jump in quickly. While the game is difficult, it doesn’t feel artificial at first. Even though you can be downed in a few hits, so can your enemies. With enough patience you can defeat any enemy you encounter, but mistakes are heavily punished
The first 15 or so floors are a blast and there is a great sense of progression with good pacing. Your original fighter can only level up to 25, but there are benchmarks where you unlock stronger fighters that max out at 49, 74, etc. You level up quickly and that quick advancement keeps you wanting to play. Somewhere around floor 15 and especially when you get into the early 20s, the difficulty ramps up exponentially and the progression slows down. This is when things get frustrating and you realize the draw for spending money.
Let It Die eventually devolves into a brutal grind that requires hours of farming to prepare for battles. Aside from leveling your character, you have to upgrade weapons through finding their blueprints, then farming the materials needed to upgrade them. Then, if (when) your character dies, you have a few options. First, you can use one of the game’s premium currency, Death Metals (gained through in-game rewards or through purchase with real money), to revive your character to full life and continue the battle at the same point where you left off.
If you decline to use a Death Metal, your character dies, at which point you have two other options. You can either live and let die, rolling up a new fighter and leveling them up to speed, or you can spend kill coins, the game’s more common currency dropped from enemies and loot boxes, to salvage them, bringing them back to life with all their gear intact. The higher up in the tower you die, the more expensive the salvage is, eventually reaching obscene amounts when you get to floors 25+. Gaining the kill coins necessary to salvage is another long grind you’ll engage in frequently.
Every few floors you’ll encounter a mid-boss that blocks your progression until defeated. They are twisted abominations with cool and interesting designs. At first you’ll be excited to see what you have to face next, until you realize that they just begin reusing the same few mid-bosses over and over, making them stronger to add challenge. Every tenth floor you’ll face that areas big boss before being able to progress to the next set of levels.
Aside from the base PVE gameplay, there is a pseudo-PVP raid system where you can raid other players’ waiting rooms for gold and splithium (yet another currency). They set up defenses, which is just fighters that they have, and you try to beat them up and destroy their banks before the three-minute time limit runs out. All their fighters are bots, however, so you never actually get to take on another PC. You do this over and over again to farm currency and gain rankings within the system.
You also join a team named for a state or country which will periodically fight with another team through raiding each other, but the gameplay stays the same. Unfortunately, California has snowballed into having so many more members than any other team that most people just join them as they will win most fights. This raiding system loses all fun very quickly, but you are often forced to return to it for farming purposes because the rewards are just so much better than random exploration.
The sound design is decent in Let It Die. The game uses changes in music and certain environmental noises to indicate the presence of certain enemies and beasts which is a welcome warning. The voice acting is thin with each character only having a few lines. Uncle Death’s voice sounds like someone doing a bad Cheech Marin impression and can take a while to grow on you. There’s also a radio in the arcade with so many different music choices you probably won’t go through all of them. There is a lot of J-Pop and J-Metal which sucks if you’re me. You’ll most likely just end up picking the least annoying one or completely turning it off.
It has a great cel shaded art style and a unique anime-inspired presentation. It’s incredibly bizarre and charming enough to pull you in at first, but lacks any depth. Uncle Death and the other two character in the arcade repeat the same few lines over and over quickly losing their charm. After a few hours of play, you’ll have seen and heard almost everything the game has to offer aside from the actual tower-climbing gameplay. There is a small story sequence for each area boss which looks intentionally crude and low budget to fit the 80s arcade feel, but they didn’t completely go all in on this idea leaving it feeling like it has no cohesion.
The level design is monotonous. Every 10 floors share a common look and feel and often don’t look different enough to make any memorable. They give off the illusion of being procedurally generated, but really all that changes with each run is the location of the entrance and the exit.
Overall, it is difficult to judge my experience with Let It Die. The thorough enjoyment I had of the first 15-20 hours only seemed to intensify the extreme feelings of hate it evoked later on. It has a good amount of style and it provides a serious challenge that feels like it can be overcome with some patience and preparation. Also, it’s free, so it’s hard not to recommend it. For only the cost of some sanity, you get an experience that provides a lot of entertainment and will kill a ton of hours. Download it. Check it out. If you enjoy a challenge and farming, you’ll love this game. If you don’t, you’ll still have fun, but you probably won’t finish it.
Gameplay: Simple Hack and Slash, Rapidly Increasing Difficulty
Graphics: Great Cel Shaded Art Style
Sound: Decent Voice Acting, Good Environmental Warnings
Presentation: Tons of Style, Bizarre, Unique, Lacks Cohesion Throughout
- Tons of Style
- Good Early Progression
- Good Selection of Weapons and Armor
- Shallow Presentation, Lack of Cohesion
- Tons of Grinding and Farming
- Weak PVP