TGS '07: No More Heroes Hands-On

Stylized visuals. Assassins with laser-firing crotches. Yep, it's a Suda 51 game. We try out this unique Wii action game.

No More Heroes is the highly anticipated Wii game from developer Grasshopper that's been turning heads since the quirky trailers for it first started hitting. Part of that attention has been due to interest in what developer Goichi Suda, aka Suda 51, has been working on next after the very cool Killer 7. However, the other part of the attention is due to the fact that the game looks incredibly cool. After months of seeing trailers and semiregular asset updates, we finally got the chance to try out the quirky new game, which is shaping up to be a fun, goofy, and inventive Wii action game.

The game demo, specially created for TGS, kicks off with the game's "hero" Travis Touchdown getting up off a toilet and setting out to kick some butt. Although this may sound heroic, it's actually not. Rather than heading out to stomp folks for altruistic reasons, Travis is just looking out for himself. The budding pugilist is basically killing his way to the top in order to become the top-rated assassin in the world.

What name could be more heroic than Travis Touchdown?

The playable TGS demo offered a glimpse of Travis' journey to the top. In this demo, he fights his way to the 10th-ranked assassin, Destroyman, and takes him out. The level was basically broken up into two chunks: the run through the movie lot where Destroyman spends his time, and then the final battle with him. The jaunt through the lot threw a lot of grunts at Travis and helped to familiarize us with the game's controls and fighting mechanics. During the run, there were crates to be broken and items to be collected-- mostly health-restorative items in the shape of pixelated pizzas. Once we moved Travis far enough into the level, he got a cell-phone call, which piped in through the Wii Remote's speaker surprisingly clearly. The woman on the other end of the line sounded like she was calling from Crazytown, given that she didn't make a ton of sense, but she was certainly good-natured about letting Travis know he was going to die. Once the call was over, Travis ran in to chat with Destroyman, who was in his "alter ego" as an ordinary mailman. Travis' exchange with him leading up to the fight was goofy and also pretty funny. Once Destroyman changed into his costume, the fight and the lunacy began. To the best of our knowledge, this was likely the first boss fight we've ever had that featured an enemy who shot lasers from his crotch, which walks that fine line between awesome and disturbing.

Control in the game is a highlight of the experience, thanks to a very smart use of the Wii controller as well as a combo system tailor-made to show it off. You'll move Travis with the Nunchuk and use the C button to reset the camera behind you. When held down, the Z button locks on to your enemy, and it also automatically blocks if you're not attacking. You'll use the remote to attack by pressing the A and B buttons to punch and kick. You'll be able to perform powerful charge attacks by holding down either button for a bit. The remote's D pad will let you dodge attacks by pressing up, down, left, or right if you're locked on to an enemy, which works well. The B button will also let you initiate powerful multipart wrestling moves that will require you to follow onscreen prompts to wave the remote and Nunchuk in specific directions. The interesting wrinkle to your attack is that Travis' attack level is determined by the height at which you hold the Nunchuk and remote. Holding the controllers rather high causes all your attacks to land from around the chest up, whereas holding them a bit lower directs your attacks to the chest and below. This becomes an important element during battle when enemies start to block your attacks, and was also useful, in the case of the demo, during the boss fight. From what we figured out, if you can match the height of an incoming projectile from Destroyman and time your attack properly, you can actually bat it back at him.

Sweep the Wii Remote!

Finally, due to the somewhat budget nature of Travis' lightsaber-like energy katana, you'll find yourself holding down the 1 button on the controller and shaking it left and right to build up its charge. The whole scheme works incredibly well and is very satisfying. There's a very nice, visceral feel during the moments when you're prompted to wave the remote and Nunchuk. Although our first inclination was to wave the remote like a fool to attack (thanks to the plethora of Wii games that have required such things), what we dig the most is that saving that sort of action for finishers and wrestling moves keeps the action from feeling too repetitive--for the demo, at least. We'll see how this holds up in the final game, but we're hopeful because it's all so fun.

The visuals in the game are an eye-catching blend of cool art direction and solid tech that gives the game a funky look that suits the lunacy to a tee. The game's look is a variation on the art style seen in Killer 7, but with far more detail and some very cool flourishes. The level we saw was basically a soundstage and its surrounding area, so there wasn't a ton of room for incredible amounts of artistic flair. That said, there was a lot of funkiness folded in to liven things up. Enemies ranged from standard thugs to guys with bags over their heads. Destroyman was as goofy-looking as you'd expect, which matched his persona. Travis looked pretty cool and featured a good amount of detail on his clothing. Animation was a bit sketchy, but the game is still in development. One minor element we were taken with was the dot matrix-y look of Travis' health (in the form of a heart) and of the icons that pop up around the world to direct you. Along the same lines, enemies explode in a flurry of chunky pixels when you administer the finishing blow (a bit like the way vampires are "dusted" in Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

The audio in No More Heroes is an inspired and slightly loony mix of elements that fit together very nicely. The game's music is solid and helps lend some urgency and energy to the action. The voice work, which is actually in English, is very over the top and a bit cheesy, but given the game's look and premise, it works. The other effects, such as collisions from punches and the like, are very satisfying and have a nice kick to them.

Based on what we played, No More Heroes is shaping up to be a tight Wii action game. The game is fun and manages to effectively combine its eccentricity and goofiness with a solid play system. We're very pleased with how the game is blending those two elements together. If you're a fan of Suda 51 or are just looking for something cool and new for your Wii, you should keep an eye out for No More Heroes when it ships this winter in the US.

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139 comments
Zaphack
Zaphack

I can't wait for this game. I want it almost as much as Brawl!

dredzz
dredzz

I believe this will be a good game. And as far as the wii-mote being used properly for swordplay, I heard a year ago that Lucas Arts was making a lightsaber based game. So don't fret yet

Genkio
Genkio

Lazer crotches? Travis Touchdown? Destoryman? Evil mailman? If this game sucks, I will have no reason to live.

hooperfax006
hooperfax006

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

B1ack_Rayn3
B1ack_Rayn3

This game looks like its going to be good, but the controls concern me? So no sword or fighting using the motion sensor in the wii mote... hmm. i thought the whole point of creating a controller with the wii motes abilties was to take full use of it. not to make a pa rappa the rapper fighting game, which i think would be kinda cool btw. i dont know i think all these games with God of war fighting action scenes takes the skill out of it.

Bliind-Guardian
Bliind-Guardian

this will kick every game's arse in the whole universe and i even dare to say it will kick halo 3 right in the buttline yeah, it will

Jpleblancfinal
Jpleblancfinal

I dont care what you other people say. I will Get this game! b/c I loved Killer 7!

yeahdogg
yeahdogg

I was interested in NO MORE HEROES until Goichi Suda explained the controls. This sounds dumb.

BombermanGold
BombermanGold

This game is gonna be sick as hell. Here's hoping it tops Killer 7!

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

I too feel very optimistic about the gameplay and wary of the length. Every new game for the Wii has been waaaay too short and that's really bad if there's no online play. I have a hard time plunking down $50 for even a really good game if I'm going to beat it over a couple of days.

betatester
betatester

ah thanks for that diegofsv, good to know :D

teknicz
teknicz

As long as there's enough content and this isn't a game that one beats in like 6 hours and then you never want to touch it again, I think I'm in.

diegofsv
diegofsv

@betatester Blood is for americans and europeans only. The blood is too much for the japanese so for them is black pixels only!

betatester
betatester

This might just be me or I might have missed something but what the hell happened to the awesome over the top blood :(? It looks like the blood particles have just been turned into coins and black planes. Apart from the stylistic elements this held a lot of appeal for me. I suppose there is the chance it has been censored for the show if its all ages but otherwise I'm a bit dissapointed

Garygok
Garygok

Looks interesting, I'll have to keep an eye on this one.

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

Killer 7 = worst game I have ever suffered

DFTricks
DFTricks

I loved Killer 7 as weird as it was and this game look more then promissing :D

mark_1313_13
mark_1313_13

Super smash bros is going to be online :D.

smokinwiid
smokinwiid

I think this game looks like a lot of fun to play. I have to ask - when are wii game designers going to let us use multiplayer online? The wii would be a real contender if you could play some of these games that are already online for other systems. And I want something more appealing than Dragon Ballllzzzz.....

dan543
dan543

I wanted this game even since it was named only "Heroes". This game looks so awesome!! Big fan of Killer 7!

DevilAsylum
DevilAsylum

I have been anticipating this game since I first heard about it, and now I am even more excited. Cant wait until this comes out.

legoland12342
legoland12342

It looks quite...interesting? I think this game could shape up to be one of those "sleeper hit" type games. Suda 51 made it look like he took an idea and ran with it for this one.

Odgiek18
Odgiek18

Killer 7 was a beautiful game, I expect so much from No More Heroes... ^_^

BoogieManZero
BoogieManZero

"Its will fun for sure!!!!!" Ahh...nintendoism.

kenerhai
kenerhai

this game is looking sweet. hell, ill take any decent 3rd party game for the wii that isnt some lame @$$ party game. Link, Samus, Mario, we love you, but if not for them, wii would be no different than ps3. nothing to play. well at least the wii is an affordable paperweight. please lord, dont let wii be another gamecube!

zgreenwell
zgreenwell

I get sick of watching gameplay movies on gamespot where it looks like the person playing has no idea what they're doing.

4esth
4esth

I'm sure ANYTHING is better than Red Steel. I'd love to see sword fighting done right!

Foolz3h
Foolz3h

Really looking forward to this.

roryk666
roryk666

this game looks insane!!! i cant wait!! killer 7 rocked

Anabub
Anabub

LOL Travis Touchdown ... Might need to get deed poll on the phone about changing my name!! :)

chutup
chutup

sounds fun, but Suda still needs to get over his goofy control schemes

nighthawk_yb
nighthawk_yb

US/European version will just get enemies cut up in pieces apparently, not the 'flurry chunks of pixels' :D

Juggernaut140
Juggernaut140

wow sounds pretty good, hopefully it won't be like Crackdown where you just go around and kill all of the crime bosses. Also more weapons than the energy katana would be pretty cool.

BushidoVGamer
BushidoVGamer

That crotch laser a Guardian Heroes reference?

zaptoman
zaptoman

@lapyx Wow. That's the dumbest thing I've heard anyone say since Al Gore said he invented the internet.

lapyx
lapyx

mx9367, you're pathetic. Suda 54 would be wasting their time with Microsoft. 360's gonna be outdated really soon.

webbut
webbut

i was kind of ify on this game but the conrtols make it worth staying on

deadmeat59
deadmeat59

looks cool might pick it up lets hope they dont drop the ball on this one.