No More Heroes Hands-On

We check out a 95 percent complete version of the next game from Killer7 creator Suda 51.

No More Heroes is a crazy swordfighting epic from Suda 51, the maker of the unique and compelling Killer7. In the game, you are set up to take out the world's top 10 assassins to prove yourself as the best. We recently had an opportunity to sit down with the game for a couple of hours, play through the first two boss fights, explore our hero's flat and the town of Santa Destroy, and engage in some of the side missions.

Our play session opened with a tutorial on the game's combat system, and this led straight into the first mission--to take out the current 10th-ranked assassin, Death Metal. The combat system is intuitive enough--you move Travis with the Nunchuk's joystick and attack using the Wii Remote. The A button lets you attack with Travis' katana-cum-lightsaber. The height of the attack depends on the orientation of the Wii Remote: If you hold it up, he will attack high, and if you hold it flat, he'll go low. If you keep slashing at your enemy, eventually a finishing move will become possible, which calls for the Wii Remote to be swung rapidly in the direction shown onscreen. A successful swing will see Travis executing the enemy with a slash in said direction, reducing the foe to a cloud of exaggerated black pixels and coins--unless you're playing the US editition, where this stylised "dusting" is replaced with more obvious and visceral fountains of blood.

Guns for show. Katana-cum-lightsaber for a pro.

Each time you perform a finishing move, three slot-machine wheels spin at the bottom of the screen to give you a chance to go into one of four "dark" modes. Each has its own characteristics and bizarre name, which Travis shouts as the mode engages: "Strawberry on the Shortcake," "Blueberry Cheese Brownie," "Cranberry Chocolate Sundae," and "Anarchy in the Galaxy." These modes make combat briefly a breeze. One will slow down time for your opponents, making your sword uberpowerful, and each blow landed will lead to a finishing move that doesn't care about direction. Another will send you into a black-and-white mode that reduces combat to simply pressing the button displayed onscreen to perform an excessively violent one-hit kill. And yet another will let you shoot lethal balls of white fire at all comers.

Your beam katana has limited battery life, however, and it is drained when you fight normally, when you hold down A to concentrate the power for one big attack on multiple enemies, or when you lock swords with an enemy, which happens if you both attack at the same height at the same time. It is recharged when you collect power-ups from crates scattered around the level or when you wave the Wii Remote left and right after pressing the 1 button--though while doing this you can do nothing else and are hence vulnerable to incoming attacks. This doesn't appear to crop up very often, but it does add an interesting edge to break up the run-and-slash combat.

The Wii Remote's trigger is used for melee punch-kick combos that can stun your opponents and is then used to go into wrestling holds once your enemies are dazed--when dazed, your enemies stagger back with stars spinning around their heads in an over-the-top old-school style. Once you have an enemy in a hold, you are then called upon to wave the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in a particular direction to pull off each stage of the throw. The first throw calls for them to be swung upwards at the same time, but the later throws incorporate movement in different directions, sometimes sequentially.

When your sword doesn't get the job done, it's time to grapple.

Once you've thrown your foe to the ground, a tap of the A button dusts him with a swift downward blow through the chest. As well as attacking, you have a number of defensive options. Pressing Z locks onto enemies and blocks incoming blows, and the D pad lets you roll out of the way of incoming blows, though in the course of our demo, these were needed only in boss fights and in the most intense combat segments.

After introducing combat in this way, the first level launches you into the mansion of the 10th-ranked assassin, Death Metal, which contains a large number of sharp-suited goons coming at you with swords and guns. You need to eradicate all of the goons in one area of the mansion before the doors open up into the next, but there's not much challenge to the task, since your foes tend to be both easy to find and vocal with their aggression towards you. Scattered around the main sections of the mansion are health-restoring pixelated pizzas, batteries to recharge your beam katana (which saves you from recharging manually), and trading cards. Each mission contains five cards showing the masks of luchadores, which are Mexican wrestlers. Collecting them all unlocks some extra content, though the Rising Star representatives we were playing the game with wouldn't reveal what it was.

Finally, once all the henchmen are dead, you reach the boss fight, which is introduced by way of a telephone call. As you walk down a long hall, the Wii Remote starts vibrating and ringing, and the call is answered as you lift the Wii Remote up--with the sound for the call being piped through the speaker. After a few words of encouragement from the ever-so-slightly mad French woman who sent you on the mission to kill Death Metal, you are presented with the option to go to the bathroom--which lets you save--and the chance to restore your health and katana battery before the fight. In this room, you also obtain your first new wrestling move, via a mask you find on the floor.

The first boss fight is underscored by a rambling, self-doubting, and occasionally funny monologue from Travis as you attack a skull-tattooed psychopath who is wielding what looks to be a giant glowing razorblade. If you defeat him, you end up back in your flat with a big pile of schwag, after a cutscene involving the woman from the phone.

You'll have to kill plenty of henchmen before you can get close to any of the 10 boss characters.

Travis' flat in Santa Destroy provides your base of operations for the game, and it contains everything you could want: a fridge with food to restore your health (with a teasingly unplayable Nintendo 64 next to it), a wardrobe to keep all the clothes you buy and find as you explore, a video player to watch either J-pop videos from Heavenly Star or Mexican wrestling (which will teach you handy melee combat moves), a drawer under your bed where you keep your weapons (and pornography), and even a cat to play with.

On leaving your flat, you are again presented with the same scantily clad French woman, who explains that you need to come up with a sizable entry fee to take on the next boss. She then kicks you in the head and out of her limo as you attempt to place your hand on her thigh after she suggests that you stop complaining about the entry fee and go earn some cash.

Cash is earned through a series of minigames and assassinations. We did one of each, collecting coconuts for a beach vendor by executing melee combos on trees, and taking out the leader of an evil pizza-delivery firm. These missions take place all over Santa Destroy, but luckily you're not limited to moving around on foot--you have a souped-up fat-wheeled bike to zip around town on. The bike is controlled through a Nunchuk-Wii Remote combination. The A button speeds you up, the trigger applies the brakes, and the Z button engages a speed boost, and you can do a wheelie by flicking the Wii Remote up. One nice touch is that if you get too far away from your bike on foot (or if you lose it), you can press the 1 button to have the bike delivered. The game will also reportedly feature races on the bike, but we didn't get a chance to try them this time around.

The height of your attack will be determined by the orientation of the Wii Remote.

On top of all this, when wandering around Santa Destroy you can dive into dumpsters to reclaim T-shirts. If you combine the shirts with your original wardrobe and the small selection available in Santa Destroy's alt-clothing emporium, Area 51, you'll end up with more than 100 shirts in your wardrobe. You can also change Travis' shades, jacket, jeans, and belt to get him looking just the way you want. Clothes are also not the only thing to spend money on. You can improve your melee combat at the gym, for a price, and there is a weapon shop where you can obtain new beam katanas and upgrades for old ones. No More Heroes, with its distinctive look, dark humour, and simple but challenging, satisfying visceral gameplay, is shaping up into a game that fans of Suda 51 and Wii owners in general should look forward to next year.

Written By

Want the latest news about No More Heroes?

No More Heroes

No More Heroes

Discussion

128 comments
Evo700
Evo700

this game makes me wish I had a Wii.

wii360fan
wii360fan

Looks great. I can't wait until Tuesday. I'm getting this as soon as I can get to the store.

hvnscld77
hvnscld77

sounds pretty damn interesting, i was quite interested when i read about it in a nintendo magazine so when this comes out it will be a definate buy

Gaticus
Gaticus

GambitSE said:No one has this game in there living room, so I don't understand how people can judge something that isn't before them and hasn't been released. The footage of the game looks great, and the graphics are fine. Ignorance runs rampant @ Gamespot now. ------------------------------- Well said, but it does look like it could hold some lasting appeal.

Fang_lord
Fang_lord

Graphics look awesome, reminds me of Killer 7, which is expected as it is from the same guys... Gameplay sounds totally bad ass, and hopefully the controlls will work. This should keep mem pccupied till Brawl comes out. Also, have any of you idiots seen PS1 games recently? i mean come on! N64 graphics still look pretty bearable, and i wouldnt mind playing my n64 any day, but PS1? I diont think so.

lightman3000
lightman3000

so the american version has all the cutting up people and blood and not all that lame exploding in to coins crap

Nirvana0511
Nirvana0511

Why are so many people bashing this game? It's like Shenmue with a Lightsaber in a world using Jet Grind Radio Graphics...... It looks and sounds sick to me.....It can't hit the stores fast enough imo. Shenmue was bad ass (the first one, the 2nd was awful), and this is shaping up to top that.

blackie8
blackie8

dude i usually dont reserve games but i am reserving this one it looks great!

zbu85
zbu85

Please Please Please let this be a good game for the WII! Link, Mario, and Leon can use some company up at the top

GambitSE
GambitSE

No one has this game in there living room, so I don't understand how people can judge something that isn't before them and hasn't been released. The footage of the game looks great, and the graphics are fine. Ignorance runs rampant @ Gamespot now.

Kid_Mega
Kid_Mega

Wth is up with everyone? Were actually gonna get something other than a Mario, Metroid, and Zelda game, and just because this is different you're gonna get turned off by it? Nintendo NEEDS more third-party support, especially for the Wii. The DS is getting alot of support like this...I play it more than I do my Wii.

chainz94
chainz94

This sucks! You don't swing the wiimote to attack,you just point it on a different height and then press the A button!!??!! This dissapointed me sooooo bad...

grimybrit
grimybrit

Why do people make games so bloody? It's sad...

sneasel59
sneasel59

suda 51 is a company that does things differently but affectively. Games aren't based on graphics but the creativity,the feel and the fun of the game. That's what video games are for.

sneasel59
sneasel59

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

sneasel59
sneasel59

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

roll450
roll450

its an ok game just looking at the game pics, looks really bad.

Altiar25
Altiar25

shame bout the graphics but this does look like a decent game.

KronikKilla
KronikKilla

Yea,it looks more like mediocre Gamecube graphics. PS1 and N64 games are, for the most part, god awful nowadays in terms of graphics.

manwithnoplan91
manwithnoplan91

KMJRoche you've obviously never played a ps1/n64 game before in your life.

KMJRoche
KMJRoche

crappy ps1/ n64 graphics, but it still could turn out really good

Galaxy_Monkey
Galaxy_Monkey

...Strawberry on the Shortcake? Now as good as this game looks...is it actually possible for Nintendo to have a normal game?

JNU13
JNU13

I heard the devs were trying to top Manhunt 2 in gore, not gonna happen.

terravolta
terravolta

I used to love this game back on sega saturn, my favorite character was Jeffry McWild because he had the cheap break dancing moves that would kick butt. I can't believe they're bringing a sega saturn version of Virtual Fighter to Wii...awesome. *sarcasm* Honestly though I hope its a decent game, Fusajiro Yamauchi knows this system needs them *Pats his copy of Mario Galaxy.

LivingDeadNinja
LivingDeadNinja

Looks sick, nasty and all-around crazy. Totally what i'd expect and hope for from Suda51. I'm happy this is an exclusive (even though i own all consoles) and that it's coming out so soon/fast.

OReilly89
OReilly89

@ rosscero: PS1 graphics? WTF PS1 games have you played that looked like that? Sure the graphics aren't amazing, but Nintendo has made it clear on several occasions that cost and gameplay are more important. If you don't like it go get a PS3 and play some clones and sequels.

Ba0ng89
Ba0ng89

@marioman50 nicee oneeeee

marioman50
marioman50

rosscero = kindergarten intelligence....

iamBenG
iamBenG

When i first saw this game, it looked like a rail hack-and-slash game. But no, this seems to even have some free roam aspects to it! With a good sounding battle system, a slightly nostalgic and humorous atmosphere, and a nice customization system, this could be great! The wii needs another good game, and it's sad there's no good sword game yet, this could deliver just the kind of game the Wii needs!

REgrl4life
REgrl4life

I got to say, they out done their selfs with this game!

vamnec
vamnec

this should be a cool game.

Godofnerdyness
Godofnerdyness

It's funny, a lot of people won't understand what cum is XD

Shantrix
Shantrix

A very good Idea, this game has very full potential, I really REALLY hope that it won't be messed up, like soul calibur legends..... man I really had hope for that game. It also seems that this one will have a GTA style, but with only 1 bike I guess. That gory/pixelated difference for versions of the game seems unnecesary to me, It would be better an option to choose one or definitely use one for all versions. If they do this right this game will be one of wii's best. I'm looking foward to it :)

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

its from suda51, he knows what hes doing, this game will ROCK

Kazona
Kazona

This game looks better than I gave it credit for at first.

Narroo
Narroo

Why does the US version have to be gory? That cheapens it.

Ungdi
Ungdi

they're releasing it in the same month as brawl! are they crazy??????????

RiVeX
RiVeX

Just hope it plays better than Red Steel, the game was ok, but the controls were terrible.

steakhouse07
steakhouse07

Don't get me wrong, cuz I really want this game, but it is probably not going to get any 9's anywhere. This game is already looking to have a lot of glitches, the graphics don't look fantastic, repetitive gameplay, and probably some framerate issues. What I'm trying to say is that it may not get game of the year but don't let a 7.5-8.5 score stop you from buying this game, because it looks like it's goin to be really good but gamespot can't just give it a 9.5 because it has a few really great aspects to it (the gameplay and voice acting most likely). So get this game, because people are looking for more games that have a mature theme to them and a mature storyline to show up on wii. This is the chance for wii owners to prove to game companies that we really want games like this. SO BUY IT, even if it's a 7.0 I still say buy it. 6 or below though might get companies to start making bad games though. Still BUY IT!!!

Karjah
Karjah

Well at least it seems to have some artistic flare. My only concern is if the game will be too easy. It seems that they had little challenge in everything they tried. But who knows if there's a hard mode or something added to the game that could easily be fixed.

LittleDuck
LittleDuck

No thats how the British say apartment. When us Brits say home, we say "The manor by the river". Only Hobos live in flats (just kidding though, we're not all that posh)

hamstergeddon
hamstergeddon

Looks great! This is a definite buy for me next year!!!!

liamoliver2
liamoliver2

me too the killer 7 graphices have be used here it doesnt mean it LOOKS good

Darthkaiser
Darthkaiser moderator moderator

This game reminds me of Killer 7. I don't care about the graphics I want a good gameplay and I think this is the game that has it. I'm looking forward to get it.

NaelNael
NaelNael

To hell with graphics, if it has nice gameplay and story it'll rock. BTW Graphics are nice, kinda artistic