Review by Wiggis
"Nintendo's stylish, vulgar and underrated classic!"
Nintendo's Wii console is one with a lot of stigmas attached. Many consider the Wii to be a "kiddie-console" meant only for the young. Others say all it has is "shovelware", games that are simply thrown together for the sake of a quick buck. While true to a degree (likewise of many other consoles before it), Wii is also the home to classics that will keep gamers talking for years to come. Amongst those titles is one of the most stylish, bloody, vulgar and bizarre games ever...
STORY: 8 / 10
No More Heroes tells the story of Travis Touchdown, an anime otaku who loves masked wrestling, fighting to the death and his cat, Jeane. After winning a beam sabre in an online auction, Travis's use of the weapon gets him caught up with the UAA, aka the United Assassin's Association. An associate of the UAA, named Sylvia, officially declares Travis Rank 11 and that he must fight his way to number 1.
Considering that this game and the Gamecube's "Killer-7" title share the same director, it's no surprise that No More Heroes' story is as strange as it is. Given that, it is not hard to follow as everything seems to strangely make sense by the end of the game. It isn't the most compelling narrative, but you'll always want to beat that next boss just to see what happens next.
As an added bonus, breaking from the mold of previous Wii titles, this game very vulgar, very bloody and does not skimp on the violence. Some of this could be chalked up to shock value, but given the game's genuine humor it does help add to the overall value of the No More Heroes experience.
GRAPHICS: 8 / 10
No More Heroes' cel-shaded graphics look great, making the game's overall palette bright and vibrant. Enemy models may look similar, but you won't mind as Travis dodges, pummels and kills with utmost style and flair. Attacks are clear with little to no confusion as to what is going on in even the most heated battles. Environments are varied, ranging from a baseball field to a school, and are well detailed for a Wii game, save for the actual city of Santa Destroy itself which can at times feel a bit soulless.
As impressive as the graphics themselves are, No More Heroes injects yet more graphical zazz into the mix with it's use of classic 8-bit graphics. These are used in a number of ways, from it's map screen to menus to the end-of-level stat screens. All of it looks great when paired with the game's overall cel-shaded look. It's not the top graphical muscle of the Wii elite, but it is one of the most unique.
SOUND: 9 / 10
Amongst all aspects, the sound truly surprised me the most. The voice acting is far better than what is expected of a game such as this. In addition, No More Heroes boasts a truly catchy soundtrack, with songs like the main theme and the motorcycle-riding music being standout songs. Even the "bad songs" like the clothing shop song will remain trapped in your head for hours.
Every sound effect is perfect. Scrolling through menus emits chimes that evoke memories of classic arcade titles. Recharging your sword gives of a small victorious fanfare. Also, activating your sword plays the classic "woosh" any beam sabre makes. Picking up your motorcycle after a crash makes the perfect metallic groan. But the best of them all is hearing an enemy yell about his spleen after being sliced in half. It never gets old.
CONTROL: 9 / 10
No More Heroes shows the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are more than capable of handling an action title. Pressing the A button swings your sword, pressing B kicks and raising or lowering the Wiimote switches between high and low attacks. After hitting your foe with a number of sword attacks, an arrow forms over the enemy. Swinging the remote in that direction will finish the attacker. Opting for a B button attack will show a prompt for both the Wiimote and a Nunchuk that will activate a wrestling move to viciously hurt or outright kill your opponent. As you progress through the game, all of these ideas are expanded upon, making the number of ways you can finish those in front of you off numerous and fun. The only hangups in combat occur when there are too many people on-screen or when camera angles no longer want to help. But those moments are low enough to keep from detracting the enjoyment to be had.
Outside of combat, nearly everything works. Playing baseball, playing with Jeane, driving, cleaning, etc. all show off controls that are as tuned as a concert piano. The control's only low point exists in a cat-collecting mini-game, which thankfully needs only to be played one time. Even the Wiimote's speaker gets great use! Very little needs to be changed for control perfection.
GAMEPLAY: 9 / 10
Travis begins No More Heroes at the 11th Rank and it's a long way to the top. Getting there splits the game into two halves: money collection and fighting in ranked battles.
Collecting money is primarily done in 2 ways: side jobs and assassinations. The side jobs, a more diversionary money making method, involves actions such as collecting coconuts, pumping gas and exterminating scorpions. There's decent money to be had here and they're overall rather fun, but the real meat and bones are in the assassinations. Assassinations range from killing a marked target as soon as possible to racking up as many kills as possible in the allotted time. While a lot more straightforward than the side jobs, these are pound-for-pound worth more money and help tune your battle skills.
While you need the money earned to access ranked battles, Travis is also able to spend his hard-earned wages towards items such as clothing, videos, training and beam sabres and parts. Where the clothing is purely aesthetic, everything else adds to Travis's overall power and list of moves, making him a more efficient killer.
Submitting your entrance fee for a ranked battle will have Sylvia send you in a new direction to kill your next intended target. Between Travis and the bosses he must kill are hordes of nameless henchmen just waiting to taste your blade. Each of these boss fights are unique, funny and memorable, ranging from an arena singer to a girly girl to an old lady with a shopping carriage. The strategy needed to bring these matches to their ends vary fight to fight and almost always end in the bloodiest ways possible.
Now, where slaying and slaughtering make for some of gaming's greatest guilty pleasures, earning the money can sometimes take more time than it should, especially if one wanted to collect everything. It isn't enough to keep an average gamer to seeing the game to the final boss fight, yet it may dissuade less patient gamers from fully completing No More Heroes. Luckily, though, some side jobs and assassinations are worth great money and getting everything is not needed to see the full 100% ending of the game.
OVERALL: 9 / 10
If you're one of the many who believe that Nintendo is incapable of having top quality mature titles on it's system, you owe it to yourself to play this classic. It's comedy, gameplay and boss fights will make this a game that will be talked about for years to come. It's a truly unique title that boasts more originality than most video games made today.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/20/10
Game Release: No More Heroes (US, 01/22/08)
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