Resident Evil creator and RE4 director Shinji Mikami teams up with Goichi ‘Suda 51’ Suda, the man behind Let It Die and Lollipop Chainsaw, for a slick, psychedelic, and terrifying Capcom horror game about invisible monsters and two gods fighting for control of reality. It’s an excellent pitch, but somehow, in the history of the greatest games ever made, Killer7 is often forgotten. Originally released in 2005, if you haven’t played it yet, or need an excuse to go through it again, you can get Killer7 right now for just under $5, and even play it on Valve’s superlative handheld the Steam Deck.
Killer7 is one of those rare, almost aberrant occurrences where a highly personal, totally unique, and in some cases impenetrable game somehow gets a mainstream release. Though it comes from Mikami, the mind behind Resident Evil, and perhaps takes some cues from the likes of Silent Hill and other great horror games, it’s completely, wonderfully its own thing.
You play a team of assassins, the eponymous Killer7, except each member is actually an alternate personality of an ancient god, Harlan Smith. Locked in eternal conflict with a rival god, Kun Lan, Smith and the Killer7 have to stop an army of invisible, exploding monsters named Heaven Smile from disrupting a delicate peace between the United States and Japan.
But that’s only the surface layer. Killer7 is a game about death, madness, trauma, the afterlife, terror, and the bizarreness of everyday life. You can swap between members of the 7 whenever you want, and they each have unique abilities and play styles.
Dan Smith is a grinning psychopath with a six shooter. Kaede Smith is a silent, ghostly figure who can open doors using her own blood. Con Smith is a blind teenager who wields a pair of handguns. Coyote Smith is the Hawaiian-shirt-wearing master thief. Mask de Smith is a Mexican lucha libre wrestler with a grenade launcher. Kevin Smith is a hunched, silent assassin with albinism who uses throwing knives. And Garcian Smith is the enigmatic pseudo second-in-command.
If you haven’t played Killer7, you owe it to yourself to experience one of the best horror games – and best PC games, period – of the last 20 years. Verified for the Steam Deck, it’s on sale right now for $4.99 / £3.87.