Blood, neon, and straight-up murder
Hold up! Don’t like reading? Watch instead…
The creativity fog the first-person shooter genre has been stumbling through for the last 15 years is starting to lift.
We might have to overcorrect for a bit because damn if this game isn’t like an acid, coke, and peyote injection for the eyes, but only good can come from more titles like this hitting the shelves.
Tokyo Underground Killer is a first-person action game set in the coolest parts of Tokyo set in the coolest parts of its stereotypes in your mind.
If you didn’t catch that, Tokyo Underground Killer is a hyper-stylized, neon-heavy, ultra-violent manga come to life — like a mashup of No More Heroes, Shadow Warrior, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
In Tokyo Underground Killer, we’ll be playing as Kobayashi, a deadly assassin, who uses supernatural abilities fueled by the blood of his victims. These mystical abilities — like all good vampire-like superpower tropes go — also act as a curse. He needs to constantly “feed” himself or he dies. Personally, it sounds like a fantastic game mechanic that forces players to keep a frantic and frenetic pace.
To help separate our enemies from their T cells, we’ll get access to 13 blood skills, 7 weapons, and a razor sharp sword. We’ll see how the sword combat handles. I’ve said it before but I’m not a fan of first-person melee combat — swinging is not like shooting and pressing buttons to do it in a game doesn’t feel right.
With that said, the baddies we’ll be massacring across Tokyo are actually part of a group — Flatliners. And like any crew of flunkies, it looks like we’ll be assassinating their bosses along the way. Sounds a lot like Kill Bill.
But there’s one huge problem if you haven’t caught on yet.
Tokyo Underground Killer is a first-person shooter/slasher coming out of Japan — specifically, Osaka. And if you know anything about Japan and FPSes…
Stop reading if you’re sensitive.
I have no idea why, but Japan’s attitude toward first-person action games has always been like Infinity Ward’s attitude toward fan feedback… they don’t give a fuck.
Japan’s ultimate contribution to the first-person action experience to date has been something like… Gundam — clunky, flat, boring, and about 15 years behind the design curve of the industry.
But Tokyo Underground Killer looks like Japan’s finally learning.
The developer, Phoenix Game Productions, is not only developing and publishing this title, but they’re also co-developing Phantom Fury alongside Slipgate Ironworks.
Phantom Fury is a throwback, 90s nostalgia-laced FPS based in the Ion Fury universe. Its developer is a studio out of Denmark and its publisher is one of gaming’s OGs, 3D Realms — the company who’ve had its hands in gaming classics like Duke Nukem, SiN, Max Payne, Shadow Warrior, and more.
Phoenix Game Productions is rolling with the right people and it shows. They’ve recruited two western talents to help bring Tokyo Underground Killer to life.
The in-game storyboards are being drawn by Hans Steinbach — a German comic book artist who styles himself after manga.
And the soundtrack is being produced by none other than Andrew Hulshult — the same dude responsible for the blood-pumping symphonies of Doom Eternal and the recent Prodeus.
We’ll see how Tokyo Underground Killer turns out — I’m loving its vibe.
The industry needs more of these games that completely nail a unique and coherent universe.
Hopefully, this game doesn’t go the way of Hotline Miami though, Phoenix needs to bring some depth to the game or they risk fizzling out quickly.
See you in Tokyo, and as always, stay cool, gentlemen.