Killer 7 is one of those games - it's very strange, on every level: in its mechanics, visual style and even its story. In fact, it's difficult to quantify exactly what the game is about or what exactly is going on even when you've actually played it, but damnit, I'm going to give it a try.
Killer 7 is about a wheelchair-bound assassin known as Harman Smith, a man who also has multiple personality disorder. At this stage you'll probably need to stop and ask yourself something: how useful would a wheelchair-bound man with a personality disorder be to the assassin business? It's an excellent question; however, things aren't quite as simple as they seem. You see, each of Harman's personalities has both a distinct physical form and skills, which make his particular career seem a lot more feasible.
These multiple personas make up the titular Killer 7, a team who for the course of the game are required to help the UN take down the mysterious 'Heavens Smile' cult, led by an old rival of Harman's. It seems this rival, Kun Lan, can create mindless zombies by simply touching them. Plus, they're invisible. Oh, and they explode when they get too close to you. As if the invisible thing wasn't bad enough, right? Anyway, it's down to Killer 7 to take these guys out, though the manner in which you do this is far from conventional.
In early screenshots of Killer 7 it was difficult to tell exactly what was going on. Some showed a third-person view, while others showed first-person. The truth is something of a mixture. The majority of the game plays out in an on-rails third person viewpoint, which is controlled by merely pressing a button down to move forward. This feels a little restrictive, especially when you consider the freedom many other games give you. It could be argued that this was a stylistic decision and does give the game a different flavour; however, I don't think the game is strong enough in other areas to support this restriction, though it's hard to deny how pretty the game looks. It's very different and even if the game is a disappointment I can see the look of the game attracting a strong fan base.
Combat in Killer 7 in initiated the moment you hear some evil cackling, signalling the approach of a Heaven's Smile zombie. In order to see these enemies you're required to go into first-person mode and then either fire at them or use your special ability. The problem here is that this feels a bit too much like a shooting gallery. All that's required from the player is to take out the zombie before it gets too close and explodes. Other, static enemies require you to shoot a yellow weak point, but based on what we have seen there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of variation beyond this.
The game's saving grace is the large roster of playable characters, and their differing abilities and skills. Killer 7 also allows you to change between these different characters whenever they're needed and should prove to be very handy. It should also offer some much-needed variety. Indeed, Capcom have promised that each character will be necessary in order to complete the game. Adding to this is the ability to upgrade characters at the end of each level, which should allow people to experiment with their favourite persona.
The full game of Killer 7 promises to offer much more, and we'll be able to see how the individual Smiths' skills help once we get our hands on it. However, at this stage Killer 7 seems to fall uneasily between genres, offering a mish-mash of different shoot-em-up games, which may struggle to find an audience. It still looks fantastic and has some real potential, but let's hope the full game isn't another example of style over substance.