The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle review

Saying the Wii has no hardcore games is like saying Charlie and The Chocolate Factory has no confectionery, complete rubbish. Anyone who says that must have been blindfolded, walked into gamestation and randomly picked up Carnival Games time and time again. Whilst I can spew off for hours about metaphors over how bollocks that statement is, there’s some element of truth there, so in effect making this whole paragraph a waste of time.

Games aimed at more mature gamers seem to go un-noticed in game shops or hardly appear in them at all, lost under a sea of mini game compilations and movie tie-ins, it’s because of this that No More Heroes was a surprise success, earning a sequel to be put in production fairly quick after release. If you’re not familiar with No More Heroes, you play as Travis Touchdown, an otaku psycho who weilds lightsabre beam katana and accidently ends up competing in a brutal deadly competition where he has to become the number 1 asassin in town…by killing the other 9. The game was fantastic, funny, well made and a nice parody of movies and games in general and although it had some minor issues, it quickly became a favourite of mine. So now I’ve finished the sequel, lets get reviewin’

First things first, in concept, No More Heroes 2 is the same as the original. Travis has to get to number 1 in the Asassins league. His reasons are different now, in that the number 1 asassin, the head of Pizza Hutt Batt has killed his best friend. What’s nice though is how things are shaken up a bit with the formula. There’s no more sandbox gameplay, which is a relief considering Santa Destroy was dull as dishwater and you no longer have to pay to do missions, which means no more grinding on mini-games.

Whilst this should be a good thing, it’s not, because the developers have gone back in time and replaced the side-job minigames with 8 bit NES style versions, which are the most fun parts of the game and now the only use for them to is get money for weapons, health/attack upgrades (via a visit to a fat Freddie Mercury’s gym) and cosmetic changes like T-shirts.

Now that Travis is stuck at rank 50, you’d think there’d be 49 boss fights. WRONG! Through some neat plot devices, that number gets chowed down (each boss which has more than one person counts as 2 ranks, which gets ridiculous when fighting the high school jock and his 24 cheerleaders) to about 12. But the twelve or so bosses we get, whilst most rely on similar tactics, are creative, hard as nails and fun to fight. Each making the already loopy world of No More Heroes even more looped.  Travis isn’t alone either, Sylvia is more on his side this time, despite being as manipulative as ever, Shinobu returns with a metal hand and Travis’ long lost brother Henry shows up, the latter two playable for certain parts of the game.

This sort of thing is probably really common in Santa Destroy, to be honest…

Whilst it is fun to play as both Shinobu and Henry, they’re both possibly the weakest aspects of the game and feel a distraction to Travis’ story. Also, the game decides to mix up their controls a bit, whereas Travis can grab any enemy by pressing A, Shinobu performs a jump and henry does a dash attack. At moments where you’ve learned to instinctively grab an enemy, jumping by accident is annoyingly common. Also Henry’s section doesn’t last long enough by getting a single boss fight which is complete filler, which is a shame because No More Heroes 2 makes up and does better the original in nearly everyway, but it’s small things like that which bring the whole package down. But it’s still a fantastic game if you get over those small problems, it’s basically the video game equivalent of Kill Bill with toilet humour (literally), if you get it, you’ll love it.  I recommend it highly, if you can find a copy, obviously.

*Also, I’m not sure if you have to play the first one to appreciate it, I think it would definitely help, but chances of finding a copy are rare (However, I believe a port is being released on either Xbox/PS3 next year)

** Also also, didn’t have anywhere to put it in the actual review, but there are some really fun, but pointless side-bits such as the Bizarre Jelly 5 (an anime show within the game) game, which is a lot of fun and probably has the best bit of music in the game,  and then there’s the getting your cat to lose weight side-quest. Seriously.


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