Should I Buy? – No More Heroes


Originally conceptualised as an XBOX 360 game by Goichi Suda, known better in the industry as Suda51, No More Heroes was one of the few titles on the Wii that didn’t make hardcore gamers balk at Nintendo’s little money printer. Suda51 made a name for himself in the west with his cult hit Killer 7, a shooter that attempted to emulate the visual style of a comic book.

No More Heroes itself takes inspiration from a myriad of sources, with the game’s boss characters draw from both American and Japanese sources in their creation leading to a fantastic cast of surreal degenerates.

The premise of the game is that you control Travis Touchdown, an angry, cynical, down-on-his-luck, self-centered social reject with an anime obsession. Wonder where they got that from? One day he buys a beam katana from the internet and then uses it to kill a guy in a bar fight. You soon find out he was actually an assassin, and by killing him you’ve taken his place in the League of assassins and can’t get out, so Travis decides to just fight his way to the top.

And that’s pretty much the whole game. You raise enough money to challenge the next assassin tehn go through a mini-dungeon killing all their underlings until you fight the big cheese themselves.

Raising the money can be pretty monotonous. It requires you to drive all the way across the map to a job agency, then drive all the way to the job, then back to the agency to start it again if you need to. And you will, the prices quickly escalate.

And all this driving takes place on Travis’ bike, which is both too fast and too slow. The thing’s too fast to control properly yet the map is so big that it takes ages to drive across. And another thing, the world is empty. There’s a few locations like a bar you can visit occasionally for new moves and the Beam Katana store, but aside from this handful of place you’ve nothing to do but the money grinding and assassination missions.

When you finally get round to these missions though, they are fun. Fighting the faceless mooks isn’t very exciting, but this game excels at boss battles. In battle you hold the Wiimote up, down or in the centre to swing it at different locations etc. All fairly guessable stuff and it works reasonably well. There’s an extra form of challenge from the charge bar of your katana. As you use it, the charge runs low and you’re unable to attack or block. This means you need to find a safe break in the fighting to charge it back up again by shaking the Wiimote.

Each boss uses the tried and tested old school method of giving each boss a truckload of health, a wacky weapon and a predictable attack pattern. But the game doesn’t pull punches, you’ll have to learn how to counter their strategy and as you start to win they get faster, give you less chances to counter and use new moves. All that good old stuff.

This is a game with a tangible fondness for all things retro, and I appreciate that. It’s not just for games either, at times it can feel like the lovechild of Quentin Tarantino and Terry Gilliam.

There’s a lot to wade through to get to the good parts, and whether or not you can stand the grind to get to them is a question of how invested you are in the tense, old school  bosses. The game only offers up ten of them, but they’re all pretty memorable and all feel unique.

 

Price: £3.50 CEX

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