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Not a Hero nearly broke me

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Impressions of the PS4 port

Thank you, Roll7, for reminding me what an utter joy it can be to slide around in video games.

I'm not sure what I was so wrapped up playing last May, but it wasn't Not a Hero, the studio's cheeky side-scrolling take on cover-based shooters. I'm often drawn to these sorts of punishing action games that leave little to no room for error and feel euphoric once you sufficiently hone your skills after repeated ass-whoopings, but I missed it for whatever reason.

Our resident jokester, Steven, reviewed the original PC release. He described it as having a "good mix of contemporary and classic sensibilities" and gave it a seven out of ten. "Likable," per our site's scoring system. After taking a look at this week's PlayStation 4 port, I tend to agree with his assessment. The two of us may yet discover we share a hive mind.

I wasn't sure how I'd like cover-based shooting in a 2D game, going in, but in the case of Not a Hero, I'm quite fond. This isn't so much standing still, popping out to take a few shots, and retreating back into hiding as it is shuffling between safe spots to close the gap, sliding right next to (or into!) enemies, and racking up split-second kills. Think Vanquish more than Gears of War. Cover is plentiful, but you won't stick to it for long unless you're nervously waiting on your few precious health points to restock or your gun to reload.

Death comes quickly and repeatedly, both for you and for the hundreds of criminals you're meant to wipe out across three city districts. A single hit can be enough, especially in the later Yakuza-ish levels with samurai chasing you down. That's where I started to lose my cool over the lack of checkpoints. It's also where Not a Hero almost broke me with two overly long, overly demanding levels. (The exact same ones Steven struggled with.) By the time I hit the credits, I felt exhausted, not accomplished or elated.

Getting up to that point was great fun, though. Still an experience I'd recommend.

The story isn't as successful. Basically, you're helping an anthropomorphic rabbit claim his rightful spot as mayor by, uh, killing loads of people. The tone is Internet Silly to the point of going way overboard, at times, and the humor didn't consistently land for me. But on the whole, I admire the effort that went into the presentation -- particularly the funny graphics in the interludes. Great tunes, too. The story is there, if you want it, but otherwise you're only a few button presses away from getting into that next level.

As far as this specific port goes, I don't have much to say. Despite being a PC/Mac exclusive until now, Not a Hero has always struck me as something of a console-style, couch-sitting experience meant to be played with a gamepad. Aside from a couple instances of glitches (my character going invisible once; the occasional floating dead body), there wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

Existing fans won't find meaningful extras in this version to warrant double dipping, but it is a solid port of a surprisingly fresh little game. I'm glad I found my way to it. Shame about the canceled PlayStation Vita port, though. Not a Hero would've fared well there.

[This impressions piece is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Jordan Devore
Jordan DevoreCo-EIC   gamer profile

Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more + disclosures


 


 


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  • Not a Hero nearly broke me - Jordan Devore
  • Not A Hero coming to PS4, canceled on Vita - Chris Carter
  • Review: Not a Hero - Steven Hansen
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  • Not a Hero's BunnyLord promises a violent today for a better tomorrow - Steven Hansen
  • Not a Hero: Get a rabbit from the future elected mayor with murder - Steven Hansen
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    Filed under... #2D #Action #coolstorybrah #Devolver Digital #Impressions #Notable #PS4

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