Finally a truly new, original, adult-oriented game for the Wii, something that’s not a port or a modified retread (I’m looking at you Resident Evil 4 and Umbrella Chronicles). No More Heroes is a magnificent breath of fresh air on a console that is plagued with 3rd party shovel-ware. No More Heroes boasts the unique art-style of Suda 51′s other title, Killer 7, though it thankfully has a different play-style than Killer 7′s on rails shooting.
No More Heroes is a 3rd person action game in which you control Travis Touchdown, a stereotypical gamer who wins a beam katana in an online auction. Realizing that he has no money, Travis takes a job to kill “The Drifter” an assassin named Helter Skelter. After killing The Drifter, Travis unknowingly becomes the 11th ranked assassin in the UAA, a governing body of Assassins, he must now keep fighting since others will want his position as 11th. Travis wants to be number one, that’s your job, which is actually pointed out to you by Travis in the opening cutscene. After said cutscene you are immediately thrown into the first “dungeon”, you are given the choice of following the tutorial, which is very helpful, or going right to the action.
After you finish the rank 10 fight you are set loose into Santa Destroy, California, the setting for the game. From here you take on various jobs and assassination missions in order to raise money for your “entry fee” for the next ranked battle. Unfortunately this is the games biggest flaw. Navigating Santa Destroy atop the Schpel Tiger, Travis’ motorcycle is frustrating since the collision detection is terrible in the sense that you stop before you actually hit something, or you nail it spinning you into the other direction. While there is plenty of things to find hidden throughout the city, balls, dumpsters with money or t-shirts, and buried treasure, until you find enough balls to unlock the dash ability, navigating the city is a pain. I might be a sucker for collect-a-thons (only if they give bonuses and are not crucial to the game) but unless I can navigate through the world efficiently they become a huge hassle.
While navigation may be troublesome, what you get once you reach your destination is worth it. The side jobs are never repeated (unless you choose to repeat them) and the side assassinations are enjoyable due to the excellent combat system in the game. Side jobs are unlocked after defeating a boss and assassination missions are unlocked be completing the side job. Sure, there may only be a few types of enemies in the game, but hacking your way through them never gets old. There is however a catch. Meet flaw number two of No More Heroes, failing a mission. Upon failing either a side job or a side assassination you are placed where the mission took and are forced to trek back to either the job center or K-Entertainment (where you receive the assassination missions) to take it again, then you are forced to make your way back to the mission site and try again, frustrating and made even more so by the terrible navigation system.
The only other type of “side quest” is the free battle. Free battles are unlocked after completing a new assassination mission and are the only other flaw in the game. In free battles you can only take one hit before the missions over. Sounds like a nice challenge doesn’t it? Only problem being that you often lose due to a cheap hit, which is made even worse by the fact that you can’t replay the mission immediately. You have to wait until it decides to open itself back up (The respawn time is a mystery). It might not have been as big of a deal if the missions themselves weren’t so difficult to begin with.
Even with its flaws, No More Heroes is still one of the best games on the Wii. The best aspect of the game, the boss fights, makes the rest of the game bearable. In these boss fights you enter a “dungeon” in which you must clear out all of the enemies and make your way to where the boss presides. You do this using your beam katana, which is mapped to the A button with killing blows requiring a flick of the Wii-mote, or wrestling moves, use the B button to stun enemies then again to grab them, then follow the onscreen cues, to carve your way through countless enemy hordes. The bosses are all unique and imaginative and the plot that strings it all together is so ridiculous but is perfect for the game.
The art style from Killer 7 is used here and suits the game perfectly. The visceral fountains of blood that emit from enemies when you decapitate or split them from head to toe add to the over-the-top feeling of the game. The game uses sound in both conventional and Wii-centric ways, with the beam katana effects and the voices from your cell phone all emanating from the Wii-mote’s speaker. The soundtrack of No More Heroes is fantastic and does a superb job of helping set the feel of the game.
No More Heroes may have its flaws but they don’t prevent it from being a great game. The ridiculous over-the-top plot and style aid in creating a unique experience that all Wii owners should partake in. If you are in need for a good Wii game to take for a spin (and if you own a Wii you do) let No More Heroes be that game.
Interesing graphical style with superb menus
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Excellent combat hampered by the aweful open world
High quality soundtrack
Great for the first time and new game plus always gives reason to go back
One of the best games on Wii