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    Review: No More Heroes
    Sunday, 17 August 2008
    It’s not too brash to say there just isn’t enough unpredictability in modern gaming. Sure, there’s enough variety of genres covered across the board, but nothing that quite flicks the Vs to the majority and runs around the field with its testicles showing. Legendary oddball Goichi “Suda 51” is clearly annoyed at this state of cosmopolitanism, and with No More Heroes, he has created one of the most unique games of this generation.

    Of course, coming from the man who brought the world Killer7 and promotional toilet roll, it probably isn’t surprising to learn that No More Heroes isn’t exactly what you would call a genre game. If it is to be classified as anything, it would probably be best described as an arcadey-style action game, with sandbox adventure elements and several death-dealing mini-games with a nitrogen-powered motorbike thrown in the recipe for good measure. The story isn’t exactly sober, either.

    No More Heroes starts with the main protagonist (well…) of the game, Travis Touchdown succeeding in auctioning for a “beam katana” lightsabre weapon on the internet, but then unintentionally being flung into a league of the country’s top assassins, and the name of the game is that you have to kill to survive. The basic gameplay thread that ensues sees you progressing up the league by taking out all the killers above you. This obviously comes free with the exhilarating opportunity to slice through dozens of personalityless suited goons in the main levels.

    It should be noted that before all this even begins, the first thing you notice about No More Heroes is its how gorgeous it all is. Taking a leaf out of Killer7’s book, the whole game has a seamless cel-shaded visual direction. Married with the over-the-top violence and frankly unnecessary amount of f-bombs, it isn’t hard to look at this as a colourful variant of Sin City. However, unlike Frank Miller’s knack at creating interesting characters and engaging set pieces, Suda 51 much prefers to parody the inspirations it borrows from, from the instantly hateable dialect of Travis to villains that would make a Bond movie cast blush. However, not all these parodies are as harmless as these.

    For example, the streets of the overworld are full of amusingly brain-dead civilians and blocky vehicles have laughably disproportionate collision boxes. Of course, while these “flaws” may be intentional, they’re still evident. It soon becomes a chore to navigate around the sterile Santa Destroy, and the mundane but financially necessary side missions just make the game outside the missions seem like a hub that you’ll come to dread. But mark our words: for the main missions – it’s more than worth it.

    Being 10 bosses above you, there are 10 main levels to progress. Each one is totally different from the last in terms of design, gameplay mechanics, types of enemies and even one-off gimmicks. One level saw you simulate Travis’ dream about a 2D shoot’em up; so you were actually playing a vertically scrolling shooter for that part of the game. Suda 51’s own personal tastes shine through in No More Heroes, and they’re executed sublimely. It’s the boss battles themselves, though, that are really the game’s forte. A hugely diverse range of characters with mad settings and even madder, over-sized weapons – you’ll be biting at the bit to knuckle down and get scrapping. The fast pace and ridiculous difficulty ensures you’ll forget about the relatively simplistic controls (it’s essentially one button to swing your sword).

    No More Heroes certainly isn’t a short game; clocking in at around 13 hours, with no room for multiplayer. The manic fights you’ll have will guarantee at least one replay, and there’s a wide range of collectable clothes for dedicated finishers. But it will always be the first time you play through it that you’ll remember. From the shocks and scares to the surprising and downright weird - with No More Heroes, Grasshopper has succeeded in making one of the most creative and diverse games so far this year. It’s an experience that truly needs to be experienced.


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    posted by D_prOdigy @ 15:16  
    • At 17 August 2008 at 18:01, Blogger darksnowman said…

      No More Heroes is actually £15 in Game at the minute. I was looking at it yesterday morning- I may have to pick it up sometime, but its not high up my priority list tbh.

    • At 18 August 2008 at 12:06, Blogger flameboy said…

      Yeah I seen it cheap in Game and am tempted to pick it up for future play as it is a game I missed as I bought my PS3 the week it came out.

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