Let It Die, like so many games from Goichi Suda’s mind (Suda 51) is one crazy experience. It’s a game, inside a game. It’s also an online asynchronous MMORPG (think the ill-fate Mighty Quest for Epic Loot or the Sleeping Dogs spin-off Triad Wars). You play a nameless and faceless protagonist in a bar, and your only guide in life and the game/s is a Finnish skateboarder named Uncle Death. He may have magical powers, or I could just constantly be high on acid. In any case, if you’ve a PS4, Let It Die may be a F2P game worth checking out.
Let me preface this review with something that needs being said, and will immediately turn some of you off – in one specific way, Let It Die is Pay to Win. You see, the game’s core mechanic is like Dark Souls, but a roguelike where you tackle floor after floor of a tower, trying not to die before you reach the top. There are save points and the like, which let you get back to a previous floor easy enough. But when you die, your character drops all their stuff and gets turned into a “Hater”: a player character that roves the tower and hunts down other players. They can invade random PS4 players’ games too, which is one of the ways asynchronous play comes in.
But how is any of this P2W? You will earn a rainbow skull currency in the game called “Death Medals”. These allow you to instantly resurrect your fallen character right after death. You’ll get a fair amount from the daily logins and as player retention rewards, but not nearly enough to stave off all the dying you’re going to do. And since you can also buy Death Medals, you can effectively pay to resurrect infinitely, and eventually power your way to the top of the tower. There’s also a “subscription” membership that gives you these medals and other bonuses monthly. This doesn’t really effect other players, but it’s a way to essentially “whale” it to the endgame.
Weapons break, death comes fast, and the game is hard… so it’s Dark Souls with a P2W hack. To some, that’s just no Bueno. To others, it’s a fair price to pay. To me, it’s something that can be ignored, if you feel like playing honestly, or are good at games like this. I’ll not lie, Let It Die’s PR gave me some death medals, and I used a few on the second boss, sure enough. But eventually, you level up a character, get good blueprints to make good items, and staying alive becomes more about patience than anything else.
But it’s clear the game wants you to take the easy way out. While I’m sure there are plenty of folks who can make it to the top without death medals, I’m not one of them. If I hadn’t been comped a few for this review, I’d probably have broken down and bought them.
Aside from this complaint or controversy, Let It Die is a pretty good time. It’s a very solid roguelike with genuinely funny moment to moment experiences. It gets more than a little frustrating when your early weapons are always breaking, but that’s the natural difficulty of these games. They’re hard until you push through the wall, like running more than a few miles at a time. You just have to get past the part where you want to smash the controller, and then you’re golden. That’s not exactly going to be for everyone, but for PS4 owners looking for a unique twist on Souls gameplay, Let It Die is both free and well made.
The more interesting content comes in the form of sending off your army of plugged-in matrix cadavers off to raid your friends and stranger’s bases. They can come back with goodies and crafting materials, or even tattoos that you can use to make your character have better stats. Like I said, it’s a weird game, and uniquely something only Grasshopper Manufacture could put together.
The downside to Let It Die’s F2P nature is its temptation to just pay real money to breeze past hard fights or floors. It’s also worth mentioning that the combat can be clunky, even if it has its own unique rhythm and flow. This isn’t a From Software title, even if it’s trying hard to be just that. It’s clearly a Grasshopper game with its own unique look, foibles, and inconsistencies. Still, I’ve been having fun in Let It Die, and would recommend it to any PS4 owner who wants a new difficulty Action RPG to try. Just beware its calm and calculated stare at your wallet while you play.
- Solid core gameplay
- Unique visuals and presentation
- Free – mostly?
- Stilted combat
- Really likes your wallet