If video games can be considered works of art, SUDA 51 is certainly a master of the abstract. The game designer’s development studio already released one masterwork of bloody surrealism in Killer 7, and now his development team, Grasshopper Manufacture, has unleashed a symphony of elegant bloodletting on Nintendo’s Wii console. The question isn’t if the game is any good, since I probably wouldn’t have used all of that flowery language to describe a piece of crap. The question should be, “how good is the game?”
No More Heroes is kind of like a movie where the story is so completely over the top, you can’t help but pay attention for fear that you might miss something big. The story is actually kind of ridiculous, as it follows a wrestling watching anime junkie named Travis Touchdown on his quest to “win the affections” (that’s the nicest way I could say it, okay) of a young lady.
He starts by winning a beam katana, which is nothing more than a restyled light saber a la Star Wars. Touchdown decides to take his new toy and challenge the No. 11 ranked assassin in the United States. He wins the duel, and as a result is now a nationally ranked contract killer. So instead of soaking up the thrill of victory, he decides to keep moving up the ladder till he claims that spot.
With the major story points out of the way, I can get to the meat of what made this game so highly anticipated, that being the play mechanics. No More Heroes is so easy to pick up and play, you might forget about all the Wii games that play horribly.
Most of the combat is performed by pressing the A or B buttons on the Wiimote while tilting it up or down to switch between high and low attacks. The only time the motion sensitive control is used in a major way is during grapple attacks and finishing blows. While they are an afterthought in most action games of this manner, the grapple attacks in No More Heroes give the player an immense feeling of satisfaction.
The finishing attacks dealt by Touchdown are so bloody; you might feel a little remorseful when you’re done playing.
Next to the combat, the biggest attraction of this game has to be its sense of humor. Every few seconds, you hear or see something in this game that is simply jaw dropping. Most action games take themselves far too seriously, but I can almost guarantee that you don’t get that feeling with No More Heroes. Take for instance the between level phone messages.
Travis checks his answering machine only to hear a lady from the neighborhood video store talking about various adult videos that are overdue and one that was accidentally replaced by someone doing strange things to a pillow. And lets not even get started about the save screen. Some things are just simply perfect for a video game, and No More Heroes delivers all of them in excellent form.
Some games make you appreciate the effort taken in the concept stage. Some games leave a lot to be desired in the aesthetic department but play like a dream. Next to the repetitive nature of some of the side missions, No More Heroes is stylistically and mechanically superb. If you have a Wii, you should give this game a whirl. If you don’t have a Wii, what’s wrong with you?