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 anywhere else. Though only Nintendo games were available where I am from, I was always interested in other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:
Without further ado, here is:
6: 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.
While not a commercial success, the first No More Heroes game was an instant cult-classic. It resonated with fans of the weird and unique Double AA games that were a staple of the Game Cube and PS2 era.
It is natural that a sequel to such games is rarely straightforwardly received. Fans are usually more critical, and more specific in their love for the game, and that is difficult to carry over in a sequel.
Which is why there will never be a consensus that No More Heroes 2 is better than its predecessor, despite that being the case.
"Just sit back Sylvia, and watch me raise hell"
NMH2 picks up a little after the first game ended. Previously becoming the first ranked assassin in the United Assassins Association, Travis Touchdown left all his glory behind and disappeared into the wild. In that time, an evil organization took control of his city, Saint Destroy, and somehow managed to rope Travis back into the ranked assassins battles in a "classic" revenge tale.
Except, there is nothing "classic" about how NMH2 operates. Take the evil organization for instance. It's a pizza corporation whose CEOs Travis killed in throwaway missions in the last game. Elsewhere, you get a mishmash of pop-culture references and styles that should fail to mix at any level, and yet somehow wildly succeeds.
At its core, this is no different than the first game. However, it manages to outdo it in every regard by taking everything up to eleven.
Especially regarding some assets
Most obvious is the general sexiness and lewdness of the game. If the first NMH was the top button missing, then NMH2 is a fully-exposed cleavage and then some. Somehow, the game manages to install a teasing sensuality to its every cutscene, mingling sex with violent bloodlust, confusing both Travis and ourselves.
Here, the violence of the game is often parodied, and our gratification ridiculed. Yet, it's not by relying on that parody that the game succeeds.
No, those are stylistic elements that can only go so far and could work against the game is exclusively relied upon. Instead, Travis actually grows as a character in this game, and the game shows, dare I say, some much-needed heart to it.
Better Story: +4
Excellent Sense of Style: +5
"Hold it you violence loving bastards!"
If it's not broken, don't fix it, and that's exactly what the sequel does to the very good combat system of the original. In effect, the game still employs the same hack & slash, with high and low attacks as well as all the other evasive and attacking moves.
What it does is incrementally improves the system.
Everything feels tighter to the press, with some of the unreliability of the first game ironed out. Attacks feel tighter, and while the combat is a little slower, you get more control as a result. One massive improvement is in how grapples are now instant kill moves, which doesn't make them useless and continues the flow of combat.
HERE COMES MC HAMMER
In the first game, the bosses were a highlight, and that doesn't change here. With more of them, we can forgive the few duds, especially since there are some seriously varied and fun fights that showcase the best of the fighting system.
Additionally, two different styles of gameplay were introduced with two new beam katana weapons, one which is just going to be the dominant style to use. A better system would have employed faster weapon switching (maybe even switch combos), but that's just an extra wish.
Good Exciting Combat +3
Very Good Boss Battles: +3
"Chicks love bug killers, even more than doctors and pro-athletes, it's a little-known fact"
One of the major complaints I had with the first game was its pointless "open world" and boring mandatory mini-games. Both have been wonderfully addressed.
First, the open world was scrapped in place of a simple map menu. That's more efficient use of your time. Second, the mini-games are no longer mandatory, but they became increasingly unique and fun to play, with financial awards and optional ability upgrades as a further incentive to play them.
This game is probably impossible to make on the NES
Even without that incentive, these mini-games would be a lot of fun. Starting with the weird cat exercise game, it looks like they would only be a weird distraction. However, the mundane jobs are back, from bug catching to pizza delivery. Except, this time, each mini-game is nearly a fully fledged 8bit retro sample game.
Nearly each one of them is both challenging and satisfying by itself, but the availability of so many options makes for an interesting downtime between the game's levels. It is a significant improvement over the original in almost every way.
Excellent Mini-Games: +4
"He sliced me in half, sure, but he did it with gentlemanly grace"
What did not dramatically improve over the original is in its production department, with step upgrades at best, and some downgrades as well.
The game still retains its cool cell-shaded look, and enemy and character design are as good as it always has been. Yet, with increased combat, you see more of the same assets beings used, including repeating fodder models in bigger fights.
NMH has always hidden its lack of graphical muscle behind its amazing sense of style, and it mostly succeeds in the graphical department, except when you blot it up in larger TVs. Ultimately, the art direction is more important than raw graphical power.
The solution, hide everything with blood
The same cannot be said regarding the game's poor soundtrack, which is a step lower than the poor soundtrack of the last game, which was repetitive but decent. Here, at its best, it's repetitive, and inconsequential most of the time.
Besides the retro tunes in the mini-games, I struggled to connect with any of the game's tunes, even suspecting that I had the music volume at its lowest value at some point (I didn't).
Stylistic Graphics: +4
I liked NMH, but couldn't bring myself to love it. I cannot say that I love NMH2 either, but I can imagine myself having fond memories of the game. It is a solid improvement over the original while retaining the style that made it a cult-classic in the first place.
While I felt the first game reveled in being shocking and weird just for the sake of it, this is a game that starts out more shocking and weird but grounds itself in better characterization all around.
That, and with a massively improved mini-game collection, are two major reasons why I am firmly in the camp of the sequel.
We should never forget Jean the cat
Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:
After greatly enjoying the first No More Heroes game, it was Jonathan Holmes again who reviewed the sequel, enjoying it more and giving it a 9.5. The summary of his review being: "The thing about Suda's games is that there is always that question -- "Is that a mistake, or is it a comment on gaming/society/meaning of life?" It's an impossible question to answer, and one that invigorates Suda's fans as much as it infuriates his detractors. That's the thing about No More Heroes 2 that will probably puzzle people on both sides of that divide the most: the game is really low on anything that could be interpreted as a mistake. It's extremely well crafted from beginning to end, and rarely (if ever) sacrifices fun for delivering a message. No More Heroes 2 still makes me laugh, scream, think, and violently air-masturbate, even more so after the first play-through. That's more than I can say for almost any game this generation."
The comments section did not all agree with Holmes, with many favoring the first game over the sequel:
DustyBlue was very to point with this comment:
"I liked the first one a lot more, and for many reasons. As an original No More Heroes fan, I'd give this a 7."
Then there were those who think they would like it, but never owned (and never probably end up owning) a Wii, like L10nH3ArT:
"One more reason I wish I owned a Wii. If Wi (plural of Wii yet I say a long i sound. Or is Wii its own plural? Oh just place that newborn baby near that gander of Wii, that'll really stir 'em up for the kill. Just doesn't roll of the tongue.) were given away as standard government issue."
Finally, there were comments like xXNoMoreHeroesXx who (obviously) greatly enjoyed the game:
"GOTY 2010, FUCK YEAH"
I am generally not interested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the success of games I like. However, sales data is interesting in studying market trends, people's general interest, 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).
With the Wii firmly in it's "duct collection" phase, a niche game like No More Heroes 2 probably did not expect to get more sales. However, it must be disappointing that it sold only 440K units, which is lower than the first game.
Still, that was net positive for the developer, as the assets were simply upgraded from the first game, with a lesser budget for the sequel.
You can never compete with the Triple AAA in numbers
1- Play with the cat after every mission to unlock one of the game's best moves.
2- If nothing else, play the fitness mini-games to improve your health and damage.
3- Keep guard to block enemy bullets.
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- USe your grapples often, they are instant-kill moves now.
I can understand why some would still say the first NMH is better, but I cam firmly in the camp of the second game, which doesn't sacrifice the spirit of the original but improves on it in noticeable ways.
Next game on the list is actually my final Wii Review based on the GamesRadar best Wii games list, and it's Sin and Punishment: Star Successor which #5 in that list. The reason it is the last game to be reviewed is that already played the top 4 games before. After this review, I will review two more games on the Wii that I didn't get the chance to play before, and then finalize my Wii review series for good.
For Previous Wii game Reviews:
For More Screenshots:
None available at Moby Games