For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:
Without further ado, here is:
S2: No More Heroes:
Genre: Action Adventure.
Publisher: Ubisoft, Marvelous Entertainment.
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture.
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
The Nintendo Wii was perfect for three types of games other than Nintendo's own. Motion controlled titles and party games are natural to think about, but so was the case for risky mid-budget titles too different for the HD market.
This latter case is where No More Heroes fit in; it's a risky title that would have been too expensive to produce and watch fail on the PS3. Instead, it managed to moderately succeed as a cult-hit on the Wii.
Unfortunately, that success is much less than what it deserves.
"I wanna be NO.1, how about that, short and simple for you?"
If about anything, No More Heroes is a game unapologetic in being a game about style. From its cell-shaded look, to the name and design of each character, this is a game that attempts to imbue a constant sense of coolness, all the while making sure that its as awkward as it is cool.
Travis Touchdown is a douche-bag creeper ; a character that is as unapologetic as the game in his negative traits. A frequent bragger, never returning his rented porn videos, and a perverted otaku as well, he is in many ways a parody of some form of gamers.
Propelling the story is a sudden quest by the Assassain's Association for Travis to become the first ranked Assassin. This is not a very efficient organization, as it offers its members the opportunity to rank up by killing their betters. As I see it, that is more internal assassinations than any outside business.
So, the story is actually very simple. Starting at number 11, Travis needs to kill 10 more assassins to become number 1.
Travis fights some crazy dudes
Naturally, that's not going to be simple or straightforward. Suda 51 gets the chance to create at least 10 memorable characters to fight, and mostly succeeds through creative character design and boss fights.
It all has the delicious cheesiness of a B-Movie plot, with all the nonsensical twists and plot holes associated with the genre.
It's not all plain sailing though. Beyond the limited exposure to each character, there is nothing fleshing any of the out. Travis himself gets repetitive and annoying, as well as his crush. Accents are utilized in a weird way, and the sense of style of the game is more skin deep than you first think.
Great Character Design: +5
Excellent Sense of Style: +5
Not Very Fleshed Out: -2
"Trust your force, and head to the Garden of Madness"
Backing its unique style is some stylish combat. Wielding a laser katana, Travis not only kill his enemies, but dismembers them, splashing behind him violent streams of blood.
The crux of combat is simple. Holding the Wii-mote high and low and pressing A is responsible for high and low slashes, witha B button for kicks in order to break guards. With that system, the idea is to beat up your enemies by attacking them reverse what their guard is.
As a hack n' slash game, No More Heroes can be frantic fun. Jumping from one group of enemies to the next with streams of blood going everywhere is very exciting. However, when the game attempts to be a technical action game like the more superior Devil May Cry of Bayonetta games, it simply does not have the depth or reliability to do so.
Not that you need much skill to dispose of fodder
This is why, in the absence of a difficulty switching option, I would recommend taking the lower difficulty.
Taking that choice, you will be enjoying the spectacle of the combat, and not suffer many of the frustrations I encountered. When it clicks, everything is cool, but it often is not a very responsive system, and there is little room to train properly. It gets better in the mid-game, after you get a more powerful Katana.
Regardless, the system works very well with the excellent bosses in the game. Each fight is somewhat unique, and that works for the theme of the game trying to climb to the first rank.
Good Exciting Combat +3
Very Good Boss Battles: +3
Combat Lends to Sense of Style: +2
Some Reliability Issued:-2
"The road to becoming a first rater is long and hard. Get your ass in gear!"
The only major problem I find in No More Heroes is main part of its design. Between ranked matches, Travis must collect money to be able to get into the next match (that answers how the association make their money).
To do that, he must do some odd jobs around Saint Destroy, a boring town less-populated than GTA 3's Liberty City.
By odd jobs, I mean cleaning the beach, mowing lawns, cleaning graphiti, and otherwise mundane tasks. That open up assassination jobs where non-creative mixes of enemies are disposed-off. If the mini-games representing each job were fun, or if the assasination jobs had more creativity, this down time could have been a cool feature of the game.
The motorcycle is cool, but pointless, still cool though
As it is, it appears to be as useless of padding as the small open-world of Santa Destroy.
None of the NPCs around town are interesting or fleshed out. Collectibles are lazily hidden around town, with some optional one-hit matches thrown liberally around town. The whole thing is devoid of any personality or purpose.
When you realize that before this travesty, the Yakuza and Shenmue games had small town with tons of things to do, you realzie how much missed potential there is in Santa Destroy.
Worst yet, if this game was shorter by 10 hours by taking out the money making bit and instead employed more creativity in differentiating the levels, it would be a better paced game.
Boring Town Gameplay: -4
"He only looks tough because his mother is an ugly bitch"
To back up its sense of style Grasshopper Manufacture must heave realized that a regular graphical style would not work, and decided to go with the cell-shaded look that just works so well. It's cell-shaded, but with a focus on shadows and contrast that looks cool in both cut-scenes and motion.
Also, it manages to hide the graphical shortcomings of the Wii behind its stylistic graphics. Characters look great, and their unique designs pop really well. Of course, not every flaw is hidden, as the low resolution is obvious in some of the environmental details. That's ore obvious later in the game, where it appears the budget started to get stretched thin.
Matching its visual flair are equally expressive animations. Travis and his enemies are expressive in their movement, and that fluidity adds to the excitement of combat.
Combat is fluid AND stylistic
As for its sound, you cannot fault its voice acting. Travis sounds like he looks, and the various bosses almost all showcase their personality in their words. One annoyance are the aforementioned weird accents shifts, which don't always work as intended.
For the soundtrack, it's full with good sounding beats and melodies that mostly work for the game. Especially in its main theme which is very good. Unfortunately though, the game relies on that theme very much, remixing it in all of the stages, which works well for short movies but not for 10+ hour games.
That means the good boss themes are hidden in what could be a short fight, and instead the main theme is the only memorable thing you will hear all game.
Excellent Graphics: +5
Repetitive Soundtrack: -1
No More Heroes does not disappoint in its style, and it has some exciting combat to boost. If you are willing to ignore its obvious flaws in pacing and those boring open-world segments, you will be in for a good time. In fact, I can see it being a hit for people who have a particular taste in Suda 51's games.
You can also play with your pet cat, which is a bonus for me.
Such a great cast of characters, and that
"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"
The review for No More Heroes in Dtoid had a weird format. Two reviewers took on the game, and both liked it. Anthony Burch starts by giving it an 8.5, saying: "In the end, though, No More Heroes is a must-buy for any self-respecting Wii owner. The open world stuff is lame and the game always seems about a step and a half away from feeling incredibly repetitive, but the Wiimote usage and imaginative, unusual stylistic touches make No More Heroes one of the most unapologetically enjoyable games I’ve played in quite a long time. One cannot play through the game without noticing its various flaws, but by the time you’ve simultaneously decapitated four bad guys in one glorious, motion-controlled sword slash, those flaws will be all but forgotten in the flood of gruesome, wacky fun which No More Heroes has to offer."
Jonathan Holmes doens't offer any rebuttals in his counter review, but his dissatisfaction with graphics lowers the rating to an 8, saying: "No More Heroes almost feels like it's cheating. A game this unpolished looking doesn't deserve to be this fun. People already turned off by the Wii's lack of graphical horsepower may not be converted by NMH. If the game ends up a retail failure, I don't believe it will mean that mature Wii games don't have an audience, but rather that developers can't get away with Dreamcast quality graphics on the console anymore. If NMH looked as good as it could, I would recommend it to each and every of age Wii owner out there. Hopefully I'll be able to make that same recommendation for the high budget, No More Heroes sequel that as of now only exists in the land of maybe."
The comments section for this review was nuked.
I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).
Like many Wii cult classics, No More Hereos didn't sell particularely well, especially against a backdrop of the console "collecting dust". This feels like I am repeating myself at this point. It only managed to sell around 560K Units.
It is worthy to note that this not very far from Ubisoft's Red Steel games (which also were a dissapointement). However, these sales were enough for Grasshopper Manufacture to greenlight a sequel, which means the game actually managed to pull some profit.
That wouldn't have been the case on the PS3 (which version did not sell or review very well).
Now that's a combative attire for the beach
1- If you want a relaxed time and interested only with the characters and style of the game, don't pick the hardest difficulty.
2- Using the jump attack (when you learn it) to knock over enemies and stab the while they are down is very effective.
3- The above tactic is useful especially for gun wielding enemies.
4- for boss battles, try charging an attack to try and interrupt a boss mid-move. It works especially well (REQUIRED) in the final fights.
5- To get the true ending, simply buy all the katanas you can buy (three of them).
6- To buy moves, you need to find some basketball looking things around the town.
7-Don't forget to regularly pet the cat.
With the first No More Heroes game impressing me despite some obvious flaws (I can't but like the game), I am very much excited for the sequel.
Which is all good, as the next game I am playing is No More Heroes 2, which sits at #5 on Gamesradar's list. From what I gathered, there is a clean split between those who prefer the original over the sequel, and it will be interesting which side I will end up in.
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