DLC review: Killer is Dead - Smooth Operator pack

Included with each collector’s edition/launch day copy of Killer is Dead, the Smooth Operator pack provides players with another full-fledged mission to take on, as well as an extra gigolo mission and alternate costumes for both Vivienne and Mika. The costumes are purely for aesthetic purposes and hold no bearing on the outcome of the new mission or any others. The gigolo mission with vampire Betty is a bit more challenging than previous interactions with Koharu or Natlia, but is ultimately just as shallow in design. The real substance of the Smooth Operator pack comes from the extra mission, dubbed ‘Episode 51’, wherein Mondo travels to an old castle to seek revenge on a Wire-vampire hybrid at Betty’s request.

As with many of the main game combat missions, Episode 51 opens with a series of moving pictures as opposed to a full-blown cinematic sequence, which details how Betty, despite being a vampire, was bested by another vampire who infused his body with Wire material. After this quick backstory segment, the game shifts back to its usual hyper cel-shaded standard. While this DLC pack still basically looks as good as anything in the main game, the fact that Mondo is sent to explore an ancient castle nestled within a dark forest gives it a very distinct aesthetic that is both fresh and familiar when compared to the Area 51-inspired base where Mondo fought Giant Head or David’s lavish mansion on the moon.

The setting also proves the most challenging to see in, at times, with Mondo needing to scour the dungeon for torches to light his way. Even the most brightly-lit portions of the castle still look dim in contrast to other levels, which certainly aids in perpetuating a classic monster movie vibe, but simultaneously leads to Mondo bumping into walls as well as the occatsional retracing of steps. Typical gameplay is broken up with the inclusion of a manned turret section and notable integration of both Mika and Bryan into the narrative. Aside from a brief appearance from Mondo’s unicorn friend, Episode 51 has practically no ties to the main storyline of Killer is Dead, and as a result, can be played at nearly any time once it has been installed.

Episode 51 offers a decent challenge factor while providing significant rewards in the forms of money and ore, and can prove a rather enjoyable means to boost stats and abilities. The time it will take to complete this DLC mission is pretty typical of the earliest up to the mid-game missions – not nearly as lengthy as Mondo’s storming Hamada Yama’s hideout, but comparable to his first visit to David’s mansion. With all the attention to detail and overall production quality of Episode 51, it certainly feels like a mission that was originally intended to be released as part of the full game.

My rating: 7 (out of 10)*

*(rating applies solely to downloadable content, not its inclusion with the content on the original game disc or other downloadable content)

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