22
Apr
08

Good Gaming Friday: No More Heroes

Yes, I know it’s a day late, but I had a headache, and couldn’t be doing with trying to think enough to write a review. But anyhows, enough of that, here’s this week’s game:

No More Heroes – Nintendo Wii

From the moment you get past the minimal starting screen, the game lets you know that it’s, well…a game. The main character, Travis Touchdown, breezes through the intro, as he proclaims; “I know you gamers have short attention spans”, and this is the first step of stylised madness that Grasshopper, the developers, have become renowned for after Killer 7 on the Gamecube/PS2.

After this brief introduction, you gain control, and the rather intuitive control system comes into play. Travis wields a ‘beam katana’, a weapon that looks like a cheap home-made lightsaber, and is one of a number of Star-Wars riffs throughout the game. Rather than going for a Twilight Princess style of combat, with Wii Remote swings being copied on screen, combat relies on a judicious use of the A, B and Z buttons. The former two being used for attacks and grappling, the latter for targeting and blocking. The Wii-Remote’s motion controls are used to affect your combat stance (High and Low), and to perform wrestling moves and Deathblows, which either finish off a minor enemy, or cause large amounts of damage to the tougher types and bosses.

After the initial fight with minions, one thing you’ll notice is that the main levels are very linear, though this works in the game’s favour, as it keeps the combat fast and frantic, with very little of the wandering about and getting lost that’s present in a number of modern ‘action’ titles. This changes once you reach the city of Santa Destroy, the hub that serves as a means of training, buying new clothes and weapons, and working through missions to gain enough money for the entry fee to the next mission. In a satirical take on Grand Theft Auto’s numerous sub-missions, the Job Centre sends you out on exciting tasks such as mowing lawns, finding lost cats, and cleaning up graffiti. Once one of these is completed, you’re given a ‘ticket’ to obtain Assassination Missions, which are more combat orientated, and range from defeating 100 enemies in a time limit, or defeating a group of enemies without taking any damage.

One thing that you shouldn’t expect is Grand Theft Auto with lightsabers though. The in-between mission sections are deliberately dull, remember, the game knows it’s a game that’s satirising games with free-roaming cities and the ludicrous things you’re able to do in those. That’s not to say it’s not fun to play, but the real meat of the game comes in the more linear ranking matches, especially the continuously challenging boss battles against ranked assassins. There’s one at the end of each ranking mission, and each one requires vastly different tactics to defeat, in a similar style to the variety in bosses with the Metal Gear Solid series.

I’ve deliberately left the plot and characters alone thus far, for fear of spoiling parts that reviews I read managed to. Be assured though, it’s less complicated than Killer 7, though still just as downright crazy in parts, with not one, not two, but three major plot twists that turn things on their heads towards the end of the game, especially if you obtain the ‘Real Ending’, which provides access to the real final boss.

There’s still so much that can be said about this game, but to do so would require another review-size text, so I’ll head to the summary, and just implore you to buy it:

Pros: Intuitive and easy-to-master combat, crazily-inspired characters and story.

Cons: Deliberately dull out-of-mission city, steep learning curve for beginners with bosses.

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