If someone had told me a year ago that the Wii would bring a game that is hilariously ultraviolent, constantly irreverent, and cheerfully bloody, I probably wouldn't have believed it. But No More Heroes is exactly all those things, and it is irresistible fun.
In No More Heroes you play as Travis Touchdown, an American "otaku" (fanboy), dirt-poor and pretty much a loser on all counts, until he wins a beam saber from an online auction and uses it to kill one of the country's top assassins. From that moment he is on a mission (encouraged by Sylvia, a mysterious vixen who teases him with not-so-subtle hints) to become the #1 assassin in the country.
The game is made up of open-world sandbox gameplay in the city of Santa Destroy, where you can take jobs to earn your entry fees, which include collecting coconuts, cleaning graffiti, and even catching lost cats. Other jobs are shadier, and entail killing either one enemy or a number of them in a specific time frame. You can also get upgrades for weapons, lots of new costumes, and do some strength training, among other pursuits.
When you're done exploring, the meat of the game is in the main missions, where you fight your way through hordes of enemies to reach the next killer on your list. The boss battles are surprisingly varied, for what looks essentially like a hack-and-slash sort of game. Many of them involve some fancy footwork and clever use of combat moves, but a few are quite surprising in how the final boss is beaten.
There is a story here, and it is clever and funny, with a surprising depth. Take the M rating seriously, though. Lots of sexual innuendo, crude humor, swearing, and just basic bloody violence make this NOT a game for kids.
That said, it is incredibly fun. It doesn't make perfect use of the Wii controls (so far, that honor belongs to "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed"), but combat is intuitive and satisfying. Basic combos are done with simple button presses, while special moves and death blows bring in the more dramatic motions. When you swing the Wiimote to behead one (or more!) of your enemies with a single blood-spraying stroke you feel like you've just done something pretty cool.
The graphics make nice use of the same sort of cel-shading seen in Zelda: Wind Waker, but here it gives a real noir feel to the action. Motion is smooth and natural overall, and the colors are amped up to accentuate all the action. The over-the-top kill strokes result in blood spraying across the screen and coins flying all over as the enemies fall over crying for their mama (literally). It is so ridiculous it's almost funny (the game often had me laughing at some of the situations).
Speaking of which, the audio of the game is equally strong, with excellent voice acting, perfect sounds effects, and well-chosen music. The music for the boss battles, where each assassin has his or her own theme, is nicely done and adds to the feel of the fight rather than distracting from it.
In Travis Touchdown, we don't have a hero. We have a gaming, anime-loving geek who most gamers can probably identify with at least a little bit. Stepping into the character and how he fights is easy, fun, and more than a little addictive. Even after you finish the game once you'll likely want to run through it again with your improved weapons and moves, just to explore the places you might have missed.
Travis might not be a hero, but sometimes it's fun just to power up your sword arm and kill everything you can. If this sounds about right to you, No More Heroes is worth your time.
No More Heroes was developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Ubisoft, Rising Star games and Marvelous Interactive. It was released on January 22 2008 in the states and on February 8 2008 in Canada. It was written and directed by Suda 51 (killer 7 ring any bells) and is one of the best mature titles on the Wii so far. As many fans of the game might know NMH2 is currently a working title and will be released for the early part of 2010. here's my review on No More Heroes. No … more
You are Travis Touchdown, a normal guy (with an otaku geek streak) who wins a Beam Katana through an online auction and uses the weapon to start a new career as a professional killer. One day, an assassin named Helter Skelter appears before Travis and the two face off in a battle. Travis emerges victorious and finds himself in the presence of Silvia Christel, a mysterious French woman who claims to be an agent with the UAA. Silvia gives Travis official rank of 11 in the organization. Now, it's up to you to become #1. No More Heroes takes place in the city of Santa Destroy, and you are free to explore the town to your liking, taking on missions large and small to collect money and purchase new weapons as you work up towards the 10 main killing contracts. Gameplay is all about using your Beam Katana (via Wii remote) to defeat enemies.