No More Heroes
Review by Chimamire_Ninja
"Suda 51 scores a Touchdown"
No More Heroes is the second game on a Nintendo console made by Suda 51. His previous outing onto a Nintendo system being the relatively underwhelming and poorly selling, Killer 7. No More Heroes carries a similar feeling to Killer 7 but is a much better game over all and it provides a truly entertaining gaming experience.
The story stars one Travis Touchdown in the fictitious city of Santa Destroy (which is apparently right in front of the Mexican border). Travis happens to be a homicidal wrestling fan otaku who is very steadily rising through the ranks of the United Assassins Association. As the new Number 11 he is poised to take on the ten best assassins in the association. Undaunted by the thought of killing others or being killed himself, Travis is focused on becoming the new Number 1.
The story is relatively simple but what really makes it good is the dialogue. Typically, you get cut-scenes just before starting a mission, and before and after boss fights and they're all quite enjoyable. Travis is not very likeable as a person but he fits the setting perfectly and I do like him as a character. Each boss has a unique and interesting personality and at times I wished I could get to know their characters better before lopping their heads off after beating them.
No More Heroes is a very unique offering from Japan in that it was made purely for the Western market. The atmosphere is a strange fusion of Japanese and American (and a mishmash of others) influences and it winds up being really fun. The controls are concise and work without flaw. If I had to describe in terms of existing games, I'd say that it plays like a very fun fusion of Dynasty Warriors, Killer 7, and Grand Theft Auto. Basic attacks are executed with the A and B buttons. The A button swings your beam katana in combos and the B button allows for beat attacks which stun your enemies.
When you're enemies are stunned (either through a beat attack or repeatedly being stuck with your beam katana) you can then use your wrestling moves on them. This is where the use of the wiimote really plays strongly. Sometimes you just move the nunchuk and remote in the same direction in one swing, or sometimes you have to move them independently and in stages to set up the more impressive moves. The only disadvantage to this set-up is that there is apparently no option to switch to left handed remote usage. So southpaws will have to do the opposite of what's up on the screen.
The wiimote is also responsible for delivering finishing blows, having the player swing it in a certain direction to match the arrow on screen when an enemy has had their health depleted. Dispatching enemies in this manner potentially allows the player to get special attacks. When someone is delivered a killing blow the game runs a small game of slots on the bottom of the screen. When three match you get a special depending on what matched.
Great. This game is done in the same cel-shaded style of games like Killer 7, Okami, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. No More Heroes takes the approach of making the game look relatively realistic but with the comic style wackiness thrown in to give it an edge. The characters all have their own style and look great. Since the game was designed with an English voice track from the start the mouths even sync up with their words during cut-scenes.
Unfortunately, the environments are somewhat dull. There is life in that people and cars amble about the town but the interaction with non-story characters is pretty much not their. And while en route to boss fights, aside from the goons you fight and the odd chest or button to smash, you don't really interact with anything at all.
This game is a good difficulty for most people. Sweet is Easy, Mild is Normal, and Bitter is Hard. To play on Bitter you have to beat the game beforehand but that's not much of an issue.
The main storyline is not difficult at first and just graduates you into a higher level of difficulty as you progress. That's standard video game practice however. I do hear that Sweet is quite a bit easier than Mild though (I did my first playthrough on Mild and have not yet played Sweet) so some people may have issues with the overall degree of easiness on the lowest difficulty.
The extras in this game are plentiful in terms of extra knickknacks and hidden references and such. There is not that much in terms of unlockables though which is unfortunate. That means that if you devote enough time to your first playthrough you can unlock and discover almost everything in that sitting.
As stated above, most everything can be unlocked in the first playthrough. However, this game has great gameplay and there are a few unlockables that I won't mention directly (for obvious reasons). The standard playthrough is between about 10 and 15 hours which isn't exactly a huge commitment. Because of that fact though, it means that after you beat it once you can return to it casually and not have to devote the better part of two weeks to beat it again. I'll definitely be playing this game (along with a few others I need to finish) until Brawl is released.
This game was supposed to be the game to break Mature rated games onto the Wii. Will we be seeing a deluge of M rated games now? I doubt it. But this game is really a gem that departs from the increasingly frustrating kiddy image the Wii is carrying. Rather than let it pass you by I definitely recommend a rent at the very least so you can say you played. If you like to collect games, want one that will likely become fairly hard to get in a few years, or are just looking for some solid entertainment then I'd say buy it.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/11/08
Game Release: No More Heroes (US, 01/22/08)
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