Review by TheRedneck14
"The Kiddy Image of the Wii has just been assassinated"
No More Heroes is the latest game from our favorite Japanese madman, Suda51 from the company Grasshopper Manufacture. Like most of his games, there is some hilarious writing, and buckets of blood.
Now, this game is a great change of pace from the recent shower of crap that Wii owners like myself have had to wade through like Carnival Games [or basically ANY Minigame Compilation on the system], it is great that we are finally getting some "real" games that actually have a plot, but sadly No More Heroes has a few problems that keep it from being as great as it could be. Lets light this candle.
Personally, I loved the story because I knew before I bought that game that Suda's games were absolutely bizarre, twisted stuff. I am saying this because if you do not know that, and if you cannot deal with that then you will not really like this game very much.
The basic premise of No More Heroes is that you are an Otaku named Travis Touchdown who is obsessed with wrestling, video games, porn, and Anime/Manga. At the beginning of the game he gets a Beam Katana on some kind of Ebay site [basically, a Lightsaber with a little bar on the side to make it seem more realistic], and takes on an assassination job to kill Helter Skelter. Having done so, he becomes the 11th ranked assassin in the UAA [United Assassins Association], and begins rising the ranks to become #1 now that he has become a target.
One of the things that I loved about the story was just how bloodthirsty Travis was, he would even say things like "there is nothing more exciting than hunting your fellow man", along with the freaky people you wound up fighting. I found almost every single person I met that was a main character to be deliciously insane, along with the dialog you would hear that is some of the most entertainingly vulgar stuff I have ever heard. You will even see plenty of things in the story that are satirizing several things in the gaming industry itself.
Now, I will leave the rest of what I did not reveal for you to find out, it is so much more entertaining if you can experience it yourself without me blabbing it to you.
I was not sure how to score this part, once you begin playing the game you will notice that almost everything you do is highly reminiscent of the old 80's Arcade beat-em-ups, and so many things seem like they were intentionally bad. But I'll cover that later.
What you will be doing for most of the game is running around Santa Destroy [a fictional city in California, although seeing how screwed up everything there is it could really be California] doing odd Jobs, or Assassination gigs to earn enough money to enter the next ranking battle. Personally, I thought that a lot of the Jobs were boring and I would just do the Assassination levels where you could earn a lot of money at once so I could make a lot of money really fast.
There are also plenty of things to collect, you can buy clothes, videos that contain Wrestling moves [more on that later], training to make you more powerful, collectible Cards, and upgrades for your Beam Katana's.
The combat in this game is simple enough. You are mostly using your Beam Katana, and some Melee moves [including the Wrestling moves] in order to kill whomever you are fighting. After you have their health lowered enough, you get the Wiimote signal to swing it in some direction and get a gorey finishing move. You can also enter "Dark Side" mode if the slots on the bottom of the screen line up, which makes you really powerful.
The basic thing you want to do in this game is get into the Ranked Matches, and those are really worth the 50 bucks you will wind up shelling out for this game. Basically, you are in some part of the City with whoever the freak you are fighting is [my personal favorite was the guy in the superhero suit with a Crotch Laser], and you really have to think to take them down.
Unfortunately, even though there are some amazing boss battles in this game, the rest is not much that is too exciting. After you begin the quest to get to the next ranked match, you will often have to traverse through a bunch of cookie-cutter Arcade-esqe baddies and slash them up until the door opens, and you can move on to the next area. This is not really much fun, most of them are really easy to kill, and you are just fighting the same damn thing over and over again. Another problem is the City, when you get do drive around in it there is just not much out there that is too exciting to do, and you can't even do much in the City so id does not seem like it was worth including in some parts.
But make no mistake, even though there were some damned monotonous parts in this game, the Boss Battles were exciting, and all of the references of the old Arcade Games were entertaining to see.
There is not too much of a challenge in this game. If you know how to make money fast then you will get to the ranked matches soon enough, and the only enemies that will give most of the people on this website a challenge are the Bosses. Luckily, there are some tougher difficulties that will be enough of a workout to complete.
No More Heroes is a good example of how Wiimote controls should be done. Moving around is easy enough, and there is not too much of a strain on your wrist because the only real time you will have to swing the remote around is when you have to give the finishing blow, or when you use a wrestling move. One of the more entertaining things about the controls for me was the animation you saw when Travis was recharging the Beam Katana by shaking it, you just have to see it for yourself.
Unfortunately, this game is not a visual masterpiece for the Wii [I am guessing it is from a low budget].
As I said, you will see some boring areas throughout the city, and most of the cookie cutter enemies you fight look almost exactly the same.
But, there is also a great art style to keep the game from looking horrible. Most of the main characters are very well designed, the clothes that you can buy look great, the Beam Katana has a nice Lightsaberey glow effect, and the shower of blood you will see when someone is hacked in half is just so damn entertaining to watch. But, there are also some very well done Arcade-esqe menus in this game that look like they were ripped directly from the Atari 2600, almost everything is done in Pixels, and the green frame really reminds me of battlefield.
The only serious problem I had with the graphics is that there is a horrible frame rate, and there are many pop up issues when you are driving around the City.
Don't let these flaws bother you too much, there is a great artistic direction, and the stylized blood that will cover the entire screen when you are really hacking away at people is just part of the charm of this game.
Thankfully, the sound in this game was good enough to keep me entertained.
The main things that I liked were how well most of the characters were voiced, so many things in this game just made me laugh out loud the first time I heard them. Also, you should keep in mind that this is a very twisted game, and like with the blood there is also a torrent of expletives that you should not allow younger people [or your parents/grandparents] to hear unless you know that they can handle it. The sound effects are also well done, although what I heard the most was the sound of the Beam Katana
Unfortunately, everything else was kind of bland. But the high quality of everything else made up for it.
The story is decent, and all that will really immerse you is all of the crazy things you will hear people saying during the cutscenes. Other than that there isn't much to captivate you unless you just like hacking up people.
After you have beaten the game it is not as much fun as the first go through. All I would recommend is to get the "real" ending, beat the tougher difficulties, and try to collect all of the items.
Hilarious writing, great artistic style, great boss battles, excellent voice-overs.
Poor graphics, horrible frame rate, repetitive, boring City.
Should you get it:
I would advise any Wii owner who is sick of all of the shovelware we have had to deal with to get this game. Although, if you want a serious game then stay away.
No More Heroes is a great game that had a few problems. Luckily, part of the charm of this game is just how absurd everything you will see in it is, and how much this game is basically a parody of old Arcade games in the way parts of it play out. Anyone who has not tried this game should buy it as a way to hold himself or herself over until the next real Wii game that actually has a damn story in it comes out.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/15/08
Game Release: No More Heroes (US, 01/22/08)
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