Suda51 games are generally characterised by being eccentric and fuelled by maniacal energy, and just to bring you up to speed, Killer Is Dead is unusual in only getting as far as the first part. Alright, so there's no law saying you can't do a quiet, slow-paced, unemotional game now and then. But I would argue that it doesn't sit well when the gameplay still involves madly hacking away at surreal monsters with a sword fatter than you are. But what I think is worth a closer examination is the seduction aspect, or 'Gigolo Missions'.
As mentioned in my review, how these work is that curiously named drink of water Mondo Zappa has a date with one of his lady friends, and then seduces them by looking into their eyes a lot and strategically looking away when you want to play hard to get. And also you need to get your own blood flowing by sneaking crafty looks at her tits and thighs whenever she's not looking. Then you give them free shit until they agree to a shag. Although the game doesn't use those exact words.
It's not painting a great picture of either half of this exchange, is it? Mondo comes across as weird and starey, while the women come across as materialistic, as well as weird and starey. But when you're trying to turn seduction into a win/lose minigame with understandable mechanics, the participants coming across as weird is kind of inevitable. No-one in real life will immediately sleep with you because you managed to max out their moistness meter. Would that they did. Perhaps this is an application Google Glass should look into.
At least Mondo does it because he likes the ladies. Well, I assume he does. It's hard to tell, because his 'liking the ladies' face seems to be exactly the same as his 'killing the nasties' face. But the point is he seems completely at home in female companionship, which is more than can be said for a lot of macho game heroes. What's also important is that women don't just throw themselves at him 'cos he's naturally awesome; seduction seems to be something he puts a lot of work into and around which a lot of his life revolves. He's not indifferently looking into the middle distance as his groupies cling to his knees.
And crucially, none of the women he romances are ever kidnapped or killed by the villain solely to motivate him, like an asshole cat owner holding the squeaky mouse slightly out of his pet's swiping range. Almost uniquely in action games, Mondo and his lady pals seem to have this strange idea that romance and sex can just be a fun thing consenting adults can do with each other without having to be punished for feeling emotions.
Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a pretty dumb mechanic and an at best skewed view of gender relations. At least these are characters in video games that seem like they actually have sex.
In the past I've pointed out that there's a stark difference between manliness and machoness, or the ideal of masculinity presented by big-cock action shooters like Gears of War. In brief, the former possesses strength, emotional control, respect, and probably also smokes a pipe, while the latter possesses strength, guns, the belief that all girls are icky, and guns. And there's an equivalent dichotomy between characters that can be described as 'sexual' and characters that are merely 'sexualised'.