Mankind is dead, blood is fuel, and hell is full. This is the only context you need to start playing ULTRAKILL. In this game, you are a machine that feeds on blood to survive. Humanity has gone extinct, and machines like you are the only beings left on Earth. When there is no source of blood on the surface, you dig into Hell to quench your thirst.
From a gameplay perspective, this looks like unadulterated chaos at breakneck speed. Each projectile you fire feels like it's been aching to destroy since the dawn of time. Your weapons function as extensions of your arm, limited only by your reaction speed and skill. My personal favorite weapon is the Marksman Revolver, which requires you to flick a coin and shoot it out of mid-air. If you hit the coin, your bullet is automatically redirected to the enemy's weak spot, and this maneuver can defeat some opponents in one shot. Although the Marksman Revolver is quite powerful, it requires intense focus. Once mastered, however, it looks graceful.
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The most fascinating aspect of ULTRAKILL is its ability to seem effortless. The first time I watched my friend attempt a speedrun of the game, I was left in awe. Every one of his movements was intentional and precise, and he skated across the map like it was ice, when I had only learned to hobble along the outside wall.
ULTRAKILL is not easy, despite how experienced players make it seem. To defeat enemies and gain combat style ranks, you must flit between equipped weapons, dodging melee attacks and parrying projectiles. The only way to regain health is by dealing short-range damage, forcing you to get up close and personal at low HP. Your opponents move fast and shoot faster, demanding absolute focus. Since ULTRAKILL requires you to execute multiple mechanics simultaneously, it has a steep learning curve. As you embark on the pursuit of mastery, however, you begin to realize something exciting.
You'll begin thinking, "I'm getting the hang of it. I'm hitting coins mid-air, I'm dodging difficult attacks, and I can parry now. Everything seems natural, and I don't have to consciously think about each action. This feels awesome."
This is where ULTRAKILL truly shines, in these moments where you witness progress with your own eyes. With your newfound experience, you can execute maneuvers you previously considered impossible. You understand the rhythm of combat, and even if you can't explain how, you can dash through attacks gracefully. It is utterly exhilarating.
While I'm not yet at complete mastery, realizations like these encourage me to keep going. They remind me how far I've come as a player, inviting me to hone my skills to a razor-sharp edge. I may be able to hit a coin in mid-air, but how about two? Can I complete a boss fight without dying? These questions fuel my drive for progress, prompting me to find my limits and surpass them. One day, like my friend who gracefully skated through the game's hardest sections, I hope to make ULTRAKILL look easy.
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