by JSnake, reviewed on
Style over substance
No More Heroes is Suda 51's latest brainchild. Suda's last title was Killer 7, an offbeat and surreal rail-shooter with a bizarre plot and even stranger set of characters. While Killer 7 was critically panned for its shallow gameplay, critics and consumers alike praised its complex plot and sharp dialog. No More Heroes, like Killer 7 before it, focuses more on the story and dialog than on gameplay. That isn't to say Suda 51 hasn't taken measures to create a more interesting gameplay experience, it is just that Suda is once again going with the 'style over substance' belief.
One woman to bag, ten men to defeat
The game tells the story of Travis Touchdown, an assassin who has taken up the task of becoming the number one hitman. When Travis meets Silvia Cristel at a local bar, she tells him to get rid of an assassin called Helter Skelter. When he does so, Silvia reveals herself as a member of the UUA (United Assassin's Association) and tells him to kill the ten hitmen above him. Travis sets up a deal with Silvia: should he succeed in becoming the best assassin alive, Silvia will sleep with him. With this additional motivation, he sets out on his quest.
While the basic story isn't anything special (albeit Travis' motive is a little unorthodox), the dialog and cutscenes are. Suda fully displays their imagination and street smarts in the game's cinemas. The cutscenes are done with so much undeniable charm that it is hard not to love them. They range from the philosophical to the crazy and to the just plain awesome. The writing is almost too good. Sharp and witty dialog coupled with excellent voice-acting make the cutscenes probably the best incentive to continue playing the game.
Probably the biggest disappointment for younger gamers is that No More Heroes' dialog and situations are adult oriented and trust me, the game fully deserves its M rating. From numerous instances of characters saying the F-word to many sexually charged moments, this is definitely one game that the young ones should not play. But one could say that this game wouldn't be the same without the adult language and the sexual innuendos. It makes the game what it is and gives it a unique atmosphere, creating an experience unlike any other currently available on the Wii.
Money makes the world go 'round
As for gameplay, No More Heroes is a bit of a mixed bag. When you are carrying out assassination missions, you are golden. It is getting to these segments that can be a chore. In order to face the next hitman on your list, you need to pony up a large amount of money. To get this money, you first need to do various odd jobs like cleaning up trash or mowing someone's lawn. These tasks are usually repetitive and rather dull and they will likely run out your patience in a few minutes. There are small assassination missions (usually consisting of clearing a room of enemies within a few minutes), but they still don't give much money. This becomes especially apparent when you factor in that you have to buy upgrades for your sword and train at the gym in addition to paying the entry fee to fight the next assassin. When you fail a mission, you can't just retry which means that you have to go through all the trouble of gathering that money again.
No Pros and Cons at this time