Review by Exodist
"A fun and funny game, but not without flaws."
No More Heroes has stayed on my radar of Wii games to look out for, since it seemed interesting and so I borrowed it off a friend. NMH aims to be a more mature game for a much more different audience than the Wii mostly appeals to, and as such, didn't sell well (in Japan at least). However if you do have a Wii which you don't play much, this may be of interest to you.
The story was decent enough in No More Heroes, although it doesn't actually reveal anything until the end of the game. You play as loser Travis Touchdown who has no job, no money, no girlfriend, and rents a room at the No More Heroes motel. He heads to the deathmatch bar where he meets Silvia, who offers him the chance to become an assassin. Using his apparently cool bike (nothing but a nuisance in the long run), and his rather cool beam katana (which he won on an internet auction), he sets out to earn a bit of money. However after becoming rank 10, he sets out to get all the way to rank 1, and thus the story is set out. It doesn't sound much and it really isn't, the game throws in some random plot twists at the end, and it all gets a bit random, although this is actually intended due to the humour, so its not as ridiculous as Condemned 2 (the end was a joke).
The gameplay is simple, frantic and fun, but one thing brings it down: repetition. The game has a free-roam section, and an assassination section. During free-roam, you must travel to different locations on your bike, which controls horribly, crashes easily, and whenever you accelerate, decides it needs to do a wheelie before boosting off to look cool, which makes you prone to crashing and is generally annoying. During this time you must make money to pay for the next assassination, made by doing a variety of things. Firstly, you can do part-time jobs, in which more are unlocked the higher rank you are. Part-times jobs are mostly unique, one sees you mowing people's lawns, picking up litter, whilst the next minute you're rescuing lost cats and destroying mines. Whilst they don't give you much money (usually you get a fixed amount per mine destroyed etc), they do earn you an assassination ticket.
You can take these to K-Entertainment, and do different assassination gigs. These gain you much more money and are generally more fun, they mostly require you to kill kill kill! You can also unlock free-missions, where you have to fight a bunch of enemies with 1HP, I only ever did one however and gave up, assassination gigs are where its at. After you get enough money, you pay for the assassination and off you go! However you can spend your money on different stuff, like buying new beam katanas, upgrades, clothes, videos, and training at the gym. Although it doesn't sound too bad, the free-roam mostly sucks, its quite annoying having to drive everywhere considering how much the bike sucks, instead of exploring you will just go to your destination instead.
The next aspect of the game are the ranked fights, and the combat. Ranked fights are all the same, you pay the money, arrive, go through room after room, and fight. Thats it, you just go into the next room, fight the same enemies again, and move along. There aren't any puzzles to break up the action, just fighting. Fortunately the bosses are a little better, they're mostly the same but a few bosses require slightly different techniques. Mostly you strike when they're vulnerable, after their attacks until they die, in which you're treated to a gory death scene (or in my case, a rather silly looking death-scene, stupid censored version). The combat is fairly simple. You use the A button to attack with the beam katana (thankfully, you don't have to swing the remote to attack normally), where as B will do a stunning attack (you can then perform a wrestling move, executed via the movements of the remote and nun-chuck shown on screen). Depending on whether you're holding the remote up high or low you do different attacks, although I just blocked attacks (done simply by targeting an enemy) and attacked after. Killing an enemy prompts you to swing the remote in a certain direction which adds a little flair to the combat.
One of my main problems is that sometimes the controls just don't work. On quite a few occasions I am sat there swinging the remote in the right direction and it recognises it as either the opposite direction (in which case swinging down counted as swinging up a few times), or doesn't recognise it at all (which happens a lot when doing a wrestling move). Whilst fighting you can also gain power-ups, however you mostly get them once all the enemies are dead, meaning you have to wait until the power-up has been wasted. Another fairly random feature, is the battery power that your katana has. When you attack, and block attacks, your katanas battery will drain, requiring you to refill it. You can find items across the levels which power it back up, but you can just press 1 on the remote. After this you must shake the remote to refill the power. Its pretty random and probably unnecessary, but its there so live with it. Overall though, despite its incredibly repetitive nature, its fast and fun, so its not all that bad.
I knew the Wii didn't have much power but it took me a long time to get used to the graphics. The game is plagued with horrible blurry textures, and lighting effects. The game attempts a kind of realistic-cartoon look which is OK, but ruined by the lighting. Lighting effects in this game consists of black. Driving around Santa Destroy looks truly horrible, as objects appear right in front of you, and of course, most of the screen is black. However a few effects were pretty good, I liked the blood effect (or black blood in my case), and the character models were OK (mostly, only for the main characters though). For the most part I quite liked the music, and the voice acting was fine.
No More Heroes is a very different game compared to a lot of other games on the Wii. Whilst the Wii is mostly a casual, family console, this game stepped in to offer those who wanted a more 'mature' (if that's the right word) and 'hardcore' (again, if that's the right word) experience. No More Heroes is a great game, and despite its flaws, I recommend it to any Wii owner.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 04/28/08, Updated 04/29/10
Game Release: No More Heroes (EU, 03/14/08)
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