‘LET IT DIE’ Review: Death Is Inevitable

out of 5

LET IT DIE, from developer Grasshopper Manufacture, is a free-to-play game unlike any other. Players level up different characters using insane weapons and gory finishers in a “rogue-combat” style of play, similar to the Dark Souls games. In 2026, the earth is decimated by tectonic forces and a mysterious tower appears and seems to reach to the heavens. Now you must take control of various avatars and fight your way through each floor, climbing higher and higher into the unknown.

From the mind of Goichi “Suda51” Suda, creator of cult favorites such as Killer7, Lollipop Chainsaw, and Killer is Dead, LET IT DIE is a dark, bloody, and hilariously good time. If you enjoyed any of his previous games, you likely have a dark sense of humor, and LET IT DIE is more of the same.

After the awesome intro with voice work from Mark Hamill, players are introduced to LET IT DIE’s mascot, Uncle Death, a grim reaper with a skateboard. Uncle Death will guide you and teach you how to play. He is one of the best new characters I have seen in a game in a long time and is constantly breaking the fourth wall and making me laugh. Many of the characters in LET IT DIE are well designed but Uncle Death is the star of the game.

After a teaching level, players begin in the Waiting Room, the bottom of the tower. This is your base, where shops, storage, and the PvP hub are located. The Waiting Room is also the only place you can safely log out of LET IT DIE and not suffer a character death. From there players start the ascent up the tower, via the escalator. As expected, the higher the floor, the harder the enemies, but you can also get better items and gear.

Combat in LET IT DIE is deemed “rogue-like” by the developer. In a third person perspective, players lock on with the right stick, dodge or block with the circle button, and attack with fists or whatever weapon is equipped with the right and left triggers. Combat is fast and difficult at first. The limit of a three hit combo tends to keep things simple but also can be frustrating as when enemies start attacking, if the first hit connects, it’s very hard to avoid the following and can lead to some very fast deaths. The camera angles are problematic during combat, so be careful when fighting in close quarters. Interestly NPCs can inflict damage on one another, so if you find yourself ganged up on, try running around in circles and “kiting” them to attack each other. I recommend sticking with one or two types of weapons when starting out. Weapon types will level up with use and these levels will follow all of your various characters, giving you an edge when starting a new one.

LET IT DIE is also different from other MMO games in the sense that players should not become attached to any item, character, or resource. Weapons and armor degrade from use and being attacked, and cannot be repaired. Your resources can be stolen by other players via raids, (But revenge is fun and rewarded) and as you unlock better characters, that first one you maxed out has to be destroyed to get the upgraded specialists. So as the title suggests — LET IT DIE.

The floors in the Tower of Barbs are connected via escalators, but players can also pay Kill Coins, the main resource, for use of an elevator, or even spend real cash on an “express pass” that will allow use of a special elevator free of charge. These are very important as you do not want to log out while on any of the floors. I found this to be a tad frustrating when my wife is ready to leave and I refuse to suck it up and take a death, running around for 30 minutes looking for that elevator. If you do die during combat, players are given the chance to resurrect right on the spot for a “Death Metal.” This is the pay-to-play aspect of LET IT DIE. Death Metal can be purchased for real money in the Playstation store, so in theory you can keep coming back from death as many times as your wallet can handle. Between this, the express pass, and other future purchasable perks, publisher GungHo Online hopes to cash in like they did in previous games.

The different floors of the tower are filled with loot chests, many of them random, and depending on your character’s luck score, will differ in rarity. Players can also catch or stomp on many different critters throughout the tower for healing and other bonuses. Keep an eye out for mushrooms as well, they provide much needed healing and power ups. Most of LET IT DIE is “farming” for not just experience points, but also resources to research new armor and weapons, saving enough power-ups for a boss fight, or generally gathering Kill Coins for replacement gear. Having played many RPG and other MMO games, this came easily to me and I find it enjoyable. If you don’t like repeating stages in a game, you will likely hate this aspect.

The music in LET IT DIE is a collection of punk, EDM, and metal from various bands, many japanese, and it fits in well with the dystopian setting. Players can change the music played in their Waiting Room, in the arcade via the radio on the counter. After a few hours I got many of the songs stuck in my head, but if you prefer, it can also be turned off. The graphics in the world that Grasshopper Manufacture has created is not perfect, but they have managed to set a new bar for free-to-play games. Many of the floors look the same, and it can be confusing with the same textures and the same dead bodies all over the place. Make sure to utilize the map.

Once players are familiar with the combat system, they should check out the PvP aspects of LET IT DIE. You can attack other players’ Waiting Rooms, but be ready because they in turn can set up characters in defense, and also get revenge later. When raiding, players can steal other player’s Kill Coins, SPLithium, and even kidnap their characters, bringing them back to your Waiting Room to torture them into submitting to your command, becoming one of your selectable characters. Players can also deploy characters to other players’ tower floors as a “Hunter” and they will kill NPCs, gather resources, and kill other players’ characters if they cross paths. This also occurs when your character dies and you do not pay to restore them, they become “Hated” and will run around that floor killing other players and your character, until killed. An original but frustrating aspect for new players when first exploring. My suggestion, run or sneak past them.  

With so much to do and so many hours of play time ahead of me, there is no way to cover all aspects of LET IT DIE. It is a very complex game under a bloody and violent, if somewhat basic, combat system. Many will be turned off by the brutal PvP and unforgiving difficulty. The beauty of LET IT DIE is that it is FREE-to-play. So you have nothing to lose, Senpai! I hope people around the world will give it a shot. If you enjoy it like I do, figure out a plan to level characters, research equipment that fit your play style, and avoid PvP until you are ready. LET IT DIE is an original and unforgettable gaming experience that shouldn’t be missed. I look forward to seeing it grow and adapt as all good MMO games do.

LET IT DIE is available for the Playstation 4 via the Playstation store for FREE. This review is based on the version of LET IT DIE at the time of this publication.

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