Saturday, February 09, 2008

Review: No More Heroes

You may have seen a new game for the Wii on the shelves entitled No More Heroes and wondered what it was all about. It's about $50 dollars of pure awesome action fun. It's about a man named Travis Touchdown who wins a beam sword on an online auction and then enters the world of ranked assassins in a quest to be number one. That alone sounds interesting but what really sets the game apart from sandbox violence games like GTA is the execution of it all.

The graphics are done in a cell shaded style, more reminiscent of Viewtiful Joe than Killer7 but realistic instead of cartoony. Adding to this is the complete punk rock and anime fan style that permeates the game. Travis wears a leather jacket and tons of pop culture t-shirts and buys wrestling videos in his spare time to learn new movies. While I haven't found that many jackets yet, there are a metric fuckton of t-shirts that you can buy or find as you cruise around the fictional town of Santa Destroy on a souped up motorcycle. Every villain you fight has their own particular style to counter yours and most of them are pretty over the top. The framerate is constant and the flow of blood and coins as you scrap your way to the top never relents when you begin a mission until right before the boss.

Gameplay is fantastic. Instead of the sandbox world you can play in and have more fun than the missions themselves, in NMH, the world makes you want to do the missions, as it is fairly spartan save for a few locations. I rather enjoyed this as everything you can find in the overworld to do is fun and increases your stash or powers. In between missions, you earn money by doing part time jobs like mowing lawns and filling up cars with gas, which could sound boring but it's fairly fun. After that, you get assasination missions for smaller targets to earn extra loot. You don't have to do many of these if you want to just go from mission to mission to progress the story, but the game makes it fun and several of the powers you can buy and earn are fairly helpful and will make the game that much easier for you.

In the overworld, you do the usual running around but you lack any fighting controls as there is nothing for you to fight. Once you get into a sub-mission or a ranked mission, you can start killing stuff. Most of this is handled with the A and B buttons on the Wiimote. Also determined by the Wiimote is the stance you take. If you hold it high, your stance is high and if you hold it low, your stance is low. This goes for sword hits, stunning kicks and blocks as well. Once you engage an enemy, you can lock on with the Z button and dodge with the control pad. When you hit them, you have several options. If you use the sword solely, you'll get a deathblow message when they're out of life and then you create an arterial spray. If you use a stun, you can perform a wrestling move with the Wiimote and nunchuk. These are fairly easy to do and you get on screen prompts so you know what move you have to do, taking some of the onus off of you.

I'm only ranked 7 out of 10 now and still working my way to number 1, but it's a great game and if you don't mind the violence, it's well worth picking up. Unlike the GTA games, I'd say the violence isn't gratuitous but instead a necssary part of the story. Travis lives in a world fueled by kung fu and wrestling movies and video games and this is what the game reflects. It's not as arty as Killer7, but much easier to digest and a more complete work of art.

No comments: