Review by DDJ

Reviewed: 02/04/10

Nearly flawless, very fun... and yet somehow unremarkable.

Review in Brief
Game: An action beat-'em-up in a modern-day dystopia, with a subtle but notable strategic twist on the typical beat-'em-up framework and a heavy dose of dark humor.
Play Time: 15 hours for the main plot, 50+ for full completion.
Good: Incredibly well-constructed game, with varied gameplay, notable markings for plot progression, and perfect overall size; motion controls used appropriately; very distinct visual and audio style; distinct focus on dark humor.
Bad: Contrived adult content; characters and world both lack identity; minor interface problems; an extreme lack of identity.
Verdict: No More Heroes is one of the most solidly-constructed games I've ever seen, but it still comes across as somehow uninspired and unremarkable; there simply is no identity to the game.
Rating: 7/10
Recommendation: Still, a must-play for Wii owners who don't mind violence and adult content.

"Nearly flawless, very fun... and yet somehow unremarkable."

When I review a game, I like to have an angle. It's all well and good to just talk about the good parts and the bad parts of a game, but modern games go deeper than that. They balance different audiences, different cultures, different objectives and different technical issues, and the outcome oftentimes can only be seen as the sum of these lesser parts.

So I have a bit of a problem reviewing No More Heroes. Why? It doesn't give you an angle. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, but it's an interesting reflection on the game. It's a solid game, to be sure. It doesn't do anything horribly wrong, it has the right amount of content, the right amount of challenge, the right amount of variability. It balances the various things that a good game does very well.

But maybe that's the problem. It does everything right, but it doesn't do anything amazing. The only word that can describe it is 'solid'. It doesn't blow you away, but it doesn't annoy you. It draws you in, but it doesn't capture you. You enjoy it when you're playing it, but you don't turn off the game and keep thinking about it.

It's solid. That's the only way I can describe it. Really, the impression I'm left with from the game is that the developers created a checklist of things that make games good, and just ran down the checklist to create a game that met each one. Some games appear inspired by a great new idea or an excellent plot, but No More Heroes definitely feels like it was created very deliberately to meet a precise set of requirements.

The result is a very solid game that any older Wii owner should play (if you don't mind extremely gratuitous amounts of adult content), but not one that is going to win any awards or send kids talking at the lunch table the next day. It's simply solid. Maybe the gaming industry has spoiled us to consider anything but 'greatness' to be a disappointment, and that's a shame; No More Heroes demonstrates that a game can be nearly flawless without being perfect.

Game Description

In No More Heroes, you play Travis Touchdown, a new assassin in the rather ambiguous suburban town of Santa Destroy. You are the 11th-ranked member of an assassin's league, and your goal is to become #1. The only way to do that is to kill off the 10 assassins ranked above you. Those are the game's 10 "bosses".

As part of that, though, you'll have to go through other tasks as well. Each boss fight requires an entrance fee. To earn that money, you'll complete part time jobs like collecting kittens and picking up trash, and assassination side-jobs that usually involve beating a certain number of enemies. You'll earn money from these that you can also use to purchase weapons upgrades, new clothes and strength enhancements.

The game's battle system is something of a standard beat-'em-up. You, equipped with a lightsab-- er, beam sword, will take on other enemies and bosses. The battle system mixes strategy and force, as elements like targeting, blocking and timing play a role, but oftentimes battles will boil down to mashing the A button. The battle system isn't the only game-like element of the game, either; you'll also go through smaller missions that involve driving, arcade-like shoot-'em-ups, and other interesting twists (or complete reinventions) of the game's basic framework.

The game is tied together by a loose plot; really, it's less of a plot and more of a set of characters whose interactions you witness. You'll watch Travis work alongside his representative from the assassins organization as he tries to work his way up, as well as his interactions with the various bosses. The game supplies a very alternative style of humor, and provides a very unique graphical and audio setting as well.

The Good

As stated above, the best way to think about No More Heroes is that the developers came up with a checklist of everything that makes a game good, and simply ran down the list making sure their game had all those characteristics. As such, the game has a lot of strong, positive elements. The problem is that usually these elements underlie one cornerstone for the game, and that's what No More Heroes lacks; but that doesn't take away from how well the game accomplishes certain feats.

Well-Varied Gameplay
If you've ever read one of my reviews before, you know I absolutely swear by varied gameplay. Not since the days of Pac-Man and Space Invaders have gamers been content to play a game that consisted only of doing the same thing over and over and over. In modern gaming, varied gameplay isn't just a good idea; it's a fundamental part of creating a good game.

It can be a bit of a trap, though. To hit the 'varied gameplay' objective, gameplay has to be varied enough to be interesting, but not so varied it becomes overwhelming. You don't want a game that's so all over the place that you're never doing the same thing twice. But you still don't want a game that becomes boringly repetitious quickly either. It's a subtle balance.

No More Heroes strikes that balance perfectly, in multiple ways. Game-wise, there is an undeniable core: battling. The battle system will comprise at least half the time spent playing game-like portions of the game (that is, not just running around doing things, but actually "playing" something). It's strong and consistent enough to provide the necessary foundation from which more variability can be built.

From there, we see a wide variety of different game styles within No More Heroes. There are numerous "small" variances, such as motion-based part-time job mini-games. There are multiple slightly deeper scenarios, involving fighting enemies using your bicycle on a freeway, speeding around them in a stadium, or using your sword as a baseball bat. And even the regular battle system itself supplies some refreshing variation; while there are a suitable number of open-area typical free-for-all battles, there are also instances where a subtle change (for example, fighting on a narrow bus or subway) provides a substantial notion of change.

The variability in the battle system can be seen more clearly in the boss battles. As stated before (and in the opening minutes of the game -- don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything), the game revolves around 10 boss battles. These battles provide the perfect level of variability within the battle system. All the bosses have unique strategies and attacks, and all require the player to learn their patterns, strengths and weaknesses in order to emerge victorious. No two boss battle are the same. But at the same time, the battles aren't so bizarrely different that entering each one is like starting a whole new game; you still use the skills and techniques you've picked up throughout the game, you just need to learn how to apply them to a more complex enemy.

There's a broader variability in the game's overall tasks as well. While a heavy portion of the game is clearly dedicated toward progressing through the plot line, there are other tasks as well: there are weapon upgrades to purchase, collectible outfits to buy, and new skills to unlock. You can train to increase your character's strength and search for money in the fields. There are multiple free battles to be found around the world map, and you'll also spend a lot of time working on part-time jobs and assassination side-missions to earn money for the main plot. Thus, while the game's focus remains on the main plotline, there's enough else going on that you don't feel like you're bottled into a hyper-linear scenario.

Overall, the varied gameplay in No More Heroes is so well-executed that it's clear that the developers made an extremely deliberate attempt to manage this aspect carefully. As a result, the game has a very solid foundation to build from.

A close cousin of well-varied gameplay has to do with the size of the game. Size means a lot of different things; its obvious applications include the length of the game's plot, and the size of the game world. It has other applications as well, though: how deep is the battle system? How complicated is the equipment system? How many different types of gameplay are there?

There's not an "ideal size" (although the size should at least be large enough to warrant the price of the game), but it's important for the size to be relatively well-balanced throughout the game. You don't want to play an epic 60-hour RPG whose battle system is so shallow that you've unlocked every element of it in the first 10 hours; but you also don't want a 10-hour game to have such a deep and nuanced battle system that you've barely gotten the hang of it by the time the game is over.

The size of No More Heroes is perfect for its game type, and well-balanced across the various different elements. The main portion of the game is a simple plot that runs the player through 10 boss battles, each preceded by a short "dungeon" of some kind. The "dungeons" are enough to be notable, but not so large that they take away from the bosses at the end. Each of these battles takes about an hour, once you factor in often having to fight the bosses two or three times (don't worry, if you lose a boss battle, you just start it over again).

Outside of that content, you must earn money between battles to continue. This can be done by completing side-jobs (which are mini-games) and assassinations (which are basically small, self-contained battles). These two areas are suitably deep as well; there are eight mini-games and sixteen assassination missions, and all can be easily understood in one or two tries. They can be challenging, but they are never overwhelmingly challenging, and that is very important considering their role as a supplement to the main game plot.

Lastly, there are several pieces of optional equipment that can be purchased if the player is willing to play these side-missions more, including sword upgrades, sword attachments, and different outfits. Here, too, the content is suitably sized. Sword upgrades are straightforward (rather than using multiple weapon paths, multiple levels of customization, etc.), and the collectible items provide a nice additional incentive for completionists without annoying those who would rather ignore that faculty.

Overall, the game is perfectly suitably sized for its genre, style and content. The plot length is the right length, the additional sidequest content is appropriately complex (or non-complex, as the case may be), and the equipment systems are simple enough to match the game style while still providing notable enhancements.

Strong Boss Battles
As is common knowledge about the game, the game is separated into ten main boss battles. The objective is to beat all ten bosses. Given that the focus of the game is defeating these ten bosses, a substantial amount of the game's quality is reliant on the quality of these battles.

Fortunately, the battles are implemented perfectly. The various boss battles are what I would call the "right kind of challenging". We can all think of bosses that are challenging because they're just "cheap". We can all think of bosses that are just confusing. We can all think of bosses that are just easy. And we can all think of bosses that are just tough, without demanding any change from the normal game flow (just more health, for example).

The No More Heroes bosses don't fall into any of these traps. None of them are what I would call "cheap". With one or two exceptions, their skills are all fairly balanced. But at the same time, they're far from all the same. Each has unique skills, but they all still fit inside the general framework of the game. They're not terribly confusing; you're still fighting them with the same skills and strategies you've used throughout the game, but you're definitely applying them in different ways. In some you'll dodge more, in some you'll block more; in some you'll be more aggressive, and in some you'll be more cautious and deliberate.

In terms of overall challenge, all the bosses are difficult enough that you'll likely die the first two or three times. But here's where No More Heroes strikes a difficult balance: you don't feel discouraged. When you die, you die having learned more about how the enemy battles. You know what to try next. In some cases, you know how to win, but haven't perfected actually doing so yet; but you're consistently learning and getting better. Even though it might take four or five tries to beat a boss, you feel like you get closer with every try: and that's what makes the boss battles effective. They're not discouraging, yet they're still challenging, and that's a balance that's very difficult to strike.

Well-Segmented Progression
This section will be short, if only because of how incredibly straightforward it is in the game. In any game, it's important to give the player indicators that they're moving forward, and allow them some view of where they stand in regard to completing the game. In Pokemon, it's badges; your badges indicate your progress. In many Legend of Zelda games, it's the temples or dungeons; you know how many dungeons you have to complete, and how many you've beaten so far. This is an important feature to let the player feel like they're always moving forward.

No More Heroes plot naturally lends itself to this. Beat 10 bosses. You know how many you've beaten, you know how many are left to beat. You know where you stand in regard to the game as a whole. It's important, and No More Heroes achieves that easily.

Visual and Audio Style
One immediately clear element of No More Heroes is its extremely unique style, both visually and auditorily. Let's start with visually.

Visually, the game alludes to an anime-style design, but brings it into a more accessible and less cliched medium. While characters' overall designs reflect that traditional Japanese style, the graphic renderings of them bring them to a new light. The game goes for an interesting shadowy style that gives the characters a grittier feel, and it carries over into the world as a whole to create a very jaded world for the game's cynical tone. The game also varies the locales quite well, avoiding the tendency for every location to mesh together.

There is a bit of an oddity to the visual style as well. The game somewhat oddly opts for an arcade-esque depiction of many game items, like key locations and the health meter. I find this to be a rather odd design decision, and it frequently clashes with the game's overall feel. However, for what it is, it's very well-implemented.

In audio, the game is very unique as well. The sound effects can get a little repetitive ("My spleen!" will echo in your ears), but musically the game's soundtrack enhances the atmosphere aptly. What's more interesting are some of the unconventional uses of the audio. In an early battle, for example, the main character can be heard thinking out loud throughout the fight. These interesting uses of audio can be found throughout the game, although what's perhaps most notable is the game's willingness to be silent at times as well.

Finally, the game combines certain visual and audio elements to provide some very satisfying gameplay moments. For example, when you slash your sword and kill five enemies at once, you actually feel increased power in your blow through a combination of the sound effects and visual cues. You feel like there is actual power behind your character's actions, and that is something that can be very difficult to create.

Appropriate WiiMote Usage
There is a tendency amongst Wii games to overuse the motion controls. Many games don't seem to understand that it's okay not to use the motion controls even though it's a Wii game, and as a result, the controls often feel very gimmicky and faulty.

Not in No More Heroes. The majority of the game's control is done through the buttons, as it should be, but the motion controls that are included are very appropriate. For example, swinging the WiiMote will slash your sword -- but only under certain circumstances in the battle, when the game basically slows to a halt to wait for you to slash. In this way, the sometimes-faulty motion controls aren't aggravating as they typically aren't time-sensitive. At the same time, those in-battle time-sensitive motion controls that are used (for example, shaking the WiiMote to recharge the sword) are simple enough that the Wii detects them just fine (although clearly no one told the developers that the Nunchuk's motion detection is terrible.

Motion controls are primarily used outside of battle, actually. There are various motion-driven minigames where twisting the remote turns a lawn mower, or flicking it picks up a scorpion. These are all very simple, and thus the motion control is acceptable; in fact, these games would border on tedious without this added active element. You'll also use motion controls for training your character to get stronger.

The game also makes a couple other interesting uses of the WiiMote's unique hardware. For example, you'll frequently receive phone calls in the game. In these cases, the phone call will actually play out of the WiiMote's speakers, and it's useful to put the WiiMote to your ear -- like a real phone. There's also a unique control where walking around the regular world will occasionally cause a faint vibration that indicates a buried item. These both make good use of the WiiMote without relying on it too highly.

"Alternative" Humor
Probably one of the most memorable elements of No More Heroes is its distinctly alternative tone and style of humor. The game happens in a borderline dystopia, and has a very cynical overall tone (peppered with odd philosophical bits, but we'll get to that later), and the humor style is one of the most interesting elements.

On the one hand, the game makes very liberal use of dark humor. Pulling from its ultra-violent elements, it uses violence in humorous ways oftentimes, as well as seemingly shocking features like bondage and torture. Everything is so over-the-top, however, that these elements come across oddly humorous.

But at other times, the game opts for a hilariously slapstick style of humor, where lines are given that are so unbelievable that they can't be taken as anything but jokes. This is especially prevalent late in the game, when characters regularly break the fourth wall. I'd explain more, but I don't want to spoil it for you; suffice to say, however, that it's quite hilarious.

The Bad

Earlier in this review, I called the game flawless but unremarkable. That's going a bit overboard; the game isn't flawless. There are problems, which I'll detail here. But interestingly, none of these have a terrible impact on the game. They're minor drawbacks, but they're not major issues; some fade into the background, some you get used to, and some are just me nit-picking. One, though, does hurt the game substantially, as I've already alluded to.

"Nintendo Does M-Rated"
Nintendo doesn't have very many M-Rated games, and for good reason: it comes across incredibly contrived. I know that Nintendo didn't have an active role in the development process of No More Heroes, but it seems that their family-friendly history impacted the game in an odd way.

Almost as if because the game is for a Nintendo console, the developers appear to have gone overboard to make the game seem adult. In the process, they overcompensated ridiculously, to the point where the adult content feels at times contrived and at times over-the-top.

The problem starts with the main character's voice. It's simply too soft for his attitude. The main character is meant to be a hard, cold punk, but his voice comes across much more like a smooth-talking teenager. Thus, when he curses or talks about vulgar subjects, it just feels... strange. It feels like the voice actor himself is uncomfortable with what he's saying, and that comes through in the character.

At many times, the adult content feels very contrived. Early in the game, the main character refers to a "smokin' hot chick last night". In my mind, I saw "WE'RE GOING TO ALLUDE TO SEX NOW" flash across the screen, as lines like that are such a clearly blatant attempt to present a more adult subject. This type of contrived content is continued throughout the game, with multiple jokes about porn and sex. It just doesn't feel natural.

The cursing in the game feels unnatural as well. The characters don't curse very often, yet when they do it's not terribly different from other things they say; it's not used as emphasis, it's just sprinkled on top more generally. As such, it feels like the developers just had a certain quota of f-bombs they wanted in the game, and didn't pay attention to where they were put. Thus, when a character cusses, it almost takes you out of the game as it feels very unnatural.

The game also goes for an ultra-violent presentation of battle, but it goes so far that it's just comical. Almost every 'kill' consists of chopping a character in half from head to waist, or cutting their head off. Blood spews everywhere. It's intentionally violent as can be, but as a result, it's just somewhat distracting and way too over-the-top.

Finally, as other reviews have indicated, you save by going to the bathroom. Seriously, guys? Are we 12?

Battle System
If you've already played the game and you're reading my review just to see what I have to say, you probably see this listed under 'The Bad' and immediately thought "this guy doesn't know what he's talking about". But stay with me.

The Battle System isn't terrible. It's actually pretty fun. It incorporates enough strategy to be engaging, but enough repetition to be accessible. It's pretty well-implemented. Unfortunately, though, it has a host of problems as well. As I mentioned earlier, none of these problems are so severe that they really threaten the game; but if I'm going to write a ten-page review of the game, they at least deserve a mention.

First of all, the battle system throws you in to some pretty tough fights. Sure, it gives you a tutorial on the basics in the beginning, but you're barely getting your feet wet in the battle system by the time you face the first boss. As a result, the first boss tends to be the hardest -- not because he's actually the hardest, but because you have so little experience with the system before facing him.

Battles take place over very large dungeon areas; there's a separate "battle mode" for these instances, but you'll be running between fights within the battle with the same control mechanism (in other words, it's not like an RPG where battles are set off completely from the main view). But the problem here is that often when battling, you'll end up circling, turning around and generally moving naturally within the space; but, when you've slayed a couple guys, you're not really sure which way you were headed. Too many places in the game lack visible direction, so every time you battle something you get turned around and end up backtracking.

The battle system does err on the slow and slightly clunky side sometimes. You get used to it very quickly, but what feels like a standard beat-'em-up actually involves much more deliberate attacking. The game has a tendency (except in boss battles) to become little more than 'follow the on-screen prompts' at times, and it's often hard to tell when you've been hit as there's not much visual feedback to indicate it. The game also differentiates high and low attacks and has notably different situations where each is beneficial, but does a poor job presenting situations where one is preferable to the other; choosing between high and low becomes little more than trial-and-error.

The battle system can also get a bit too repetitive at times. Many battles boil down to "wait, block, dodge, attack, repeat" over and over. Battles with multiple enemies break this framework, but introduce another problem: it's very difficult to single out a specific enemy. There are instances where one enemy is much stronger (or more annoying) than another, but you'll have difficulty attacking the one you want.

Overall, the battle system problems vary from minor annoyances to passing issues. They're not major, but they do warrant mentioning.

The Heroes
The game has only two consistent characters: you, and your liaison that helps schedule your battles for you. They're both pretty unique as far as video game characters go, actually, and definitely are very memorable.

Here's the problem, though. The characters are actually very poorly defined. They're nearly bipolar in some respects. They'll vary from ruthless killers to uninterested observers to Greek philosophers. The character you see as a cold assassin has flashes of emotion, compassion and responsibility, but they somehow don't seem to reflect on the deeper nature of the character. It remains a single, cold, uncaring character that inexplicably has flashes of actual emotion and thought. As a result, the character is somewhat hard to connect to, as there's no indication that he's very realistic.

What little definition the main character has is further destroyed by various in-game scenes. The character could very well be defined as a cool, confident fighter: great with the ladies, great with a sword, not a care in the world, you know the type. Yet you're prompted throughout the game with the knowledge that your character apparently rents pornos, and he goes crazy when he thinks he's going to get a little action. It just doesn't match the character.

The co-star is similar. As the co-star, her flip-flopping is a bit less important; but it's also far more blatant. She goes from coworker to tease to romantic interest to boss to bully all within a span of a few seconds. She loves you, she hates you, she couldn't care less about you -- and yet it's not because she's conflicted, it's just because she's poorly defined. Both characters are very hard to relate to, much to the detriment of the game as a whole.

Santa Destroy
Santa Destroy is the town in which the game takes place. So what can be bad about it?

Well, first of all, it's completely unnecessary. With a couple insignificant exceptions, its only purpose is to force you to take a few minutes biking from place to place. Really, the only goal it accomplishes is getting in your way. Rather than just being able to choose what you want to do next, you have to get on your bike, ride a minute across town and choose it.

Usually this is okay; the town serves to tie the game together and provide context. However, here the town is so bland and ambiguous that it doesn't really create a nice environment; and many of the important locations are separate from the town itself anyway. If its purpose is to contextualize and facilitate locations to make it feel like a real town, then taking the player out of it whenever something relevant happens kind of defeats the purpose.

In many ways, Santa Destroy suggests that the developers were attempting to emulate Grand Theft Auto. But what makes the town important in Grand Theft Auto is that the game is a sandbox game; there are relevant things to do that involve actually moving around the world and interacting with it. Santa Destroy doesn't serve this purpose.

The problem is exacerbated by its very ambiguous time period and location. The town looks like it could have been lifted right out of suburban Chicago; it's unremarkable. If the game wanted to take place in a location like this, that's fine. But then there are some truly bizarre time issues thrown in. Characters use advance beam swords to fight, yet all other signs suggest that it's simply modern day. There have been no other advancements, so where did they beam swords and other advanced technologies come from? It breaks the realism of the game (which there was already very little of) in a noticeable way.

Minor UI Problems
The game exhibits some notably annoying user interface problems that really begin to wear on you after a while as well. These are just silly and inexcusable, so while they don't have a major negative impact, they're also really stupid to begin with. It's like someone flicking your ear -- sure, it only hurt a little, but why the heck did they have to do that at all?

The first of these is the iffy health meter. The health meter is displayed as a series of dots in a heart shape. Getting hit removes some of these dots. That part's simple. Throughout the game, though, your health meter expands to give you more health. How is this accomplished? By adding additional hearts? Nope. By expanding the size of the heart? Nope. By changing the color of the heart as a whole, so each change in color is like suing up a whole heart? Nope. The inner half-dozen dots change to a new color. When you get another expansion, they change to another new color. Then, when they decrease, the inner dots change from color to color first, before the main dots start disappearing.

That might sound minor, so let me paint a picture. Imagine the heart-shaped health meter. Now, imagine another one, but turn the middle 6 dots green. Now imagine a third, but turn the middle 6 dots white. How much health does each heart have in relation to the others? In this game, the one with the white dots is nearly twice as much as the others, as getting hit will turn those dots from white to purple to blue to yellow to green before taking away the red dots. But in battle, are you going to notice that at a glance? No, and that's a problem.

The game also inexplicably disables the pause function during scenes. You can't pause a scene halfway through, even with the Wii home button. I don't know why, but it's pointless. And it's also extremely non-intuitive trying to load a saved game. When you open the game up, it picks up right where you left off; but what if two people are playing and you want to switch games? Shouldn't you be given that choice at the beginning? You'd think so, wouldn't you?

No Identity
But finally, we arrive to what I consider the crucial weakness in No More Heroes It's hard to describe, and you might think I'm silly for even thinking about it this way. But somehow, while No More Heroes is a very solid game, it still somehow lacks an identity.

Some games exist to express a certain plot. Some games exist to provide an engaging battle system. Some games exist to provide great multiplayer. But all games, in my opinion at least, have at least one feature that can "carry" the game. When someone asks, "What do you like best about that game?", there's an answer.

In No More Heroes, there... somehow isn't an identity. It's very difficult to describe adequately. Is it the plot? No, the plot acts more like the plot of Portal; it's there to facilitate the gameplay and provide a little bit of humor. Is it the battle system? No, the battle system itself isn't deep enough to carry the game, and while it's fun to take part in, there's not enough variety to make it the game's cornerstone; it, again, facilitates the rest of the game. Is it the overall fabric of the game, the cycle between bosses and sidequests? No, this acts more as content-filling measure to allow the game to be more complete.

Every element of the game exists primarily to "facilitate" some other part of the game that just somehow isn't there. Yes, the game is fun. Yes, the game has charm. Yes, the game is still somehow memorable. But the game doesn't do any specific thing better than the majority of other games. It doesn't have a focal point. It has a foundation, but nothing is built on it. It's carefully, deliberately created, rather than inspired. It's just a solid game: solid, but unremarkable.

The Verdict

The Wii game library is notoriously narrow, and No More Heroes provides some much-needed variety. The game is one of the most carefully constructed, deliberate, intentional games I've ever seen. Every element reflects notable time taken by the developers to ensure all gameplay features exist in a perfectly-balanced ratio. In this way, the game borders on flawless; there are no major structural flaws to the game. You won't find a better-made game.

There is, however, a problem. The developers execute the game design flawlessly, yet there still is something missing; there's no identity to carry the game. All aspects of the game are solid and well-implemented, but the game design itself lacks inspiration. It's not that the game doesn't do anything new; it does. But the game doesn't focus on or actively present any particular aspect of itself as the "main event".

The result is a very solid game, but still somehow unremarkable. The developers did everything they set out to do flawlessly, but somehow what they set out to do simply wasn't ambitious enough, epic enough, or new enough to really give No More Heroes an identity.

My Recommendation

For any adult Wii owner, No More Heroes is a must play. Be warned, the game is ultra-violent and loaded with as much adult content as you'll find on any Wii game. At the same time, though, the violence is so over-the-top that it comes across almost comical, so that might not be a huge issue.

The point is, this game comes highly recommended to any Wii owner who doesn't mind adult content in their games. The game is short enough to complete in a rental period, though there's enough additional content to justify a purchase as well, if action games are definitely one of your favorite genres.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: No More Heroes (US, 01/22/08)

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