No More Heroes is unique and ambitious, but it could do with less unnecessary gameplay.
Anonymoe wrote this review on .
Cons: …but extremely repetitive; Most side jobs are pretty dull; Santa Destroy is boring and lifeless; Action is ultimately repetitive, cutting through replay value
Suda 51 is a strange person. If you don't already know that, you'll quickly learn it when you play No More Heroes, a game that puts you in the shoes of Travis Touchdown: a geek turned assassin (with a beam katana) who's goal is to be the number 1 assassin in the world (and to sleep with Sylvia).
The story does get quite a bit deeper later on, but it never takes itself too seriously and has some fantastic characters. Each of the top 10 assassins has a distinct and unique personality that is well developed despite appearing usually for at most 2 cutscenes. You'll always be curious what the next fight will be, thanks in part to the great character designs and writing.
However, you don't get to run in and simply fight the assassins. No, that would be far too short. First the game makes you earn entrance fee money by doing side jobs and assassination missions (more on these later). The side jobs are typically simplistic mini-games using the motion controls of the Wiimote to limited effect. Most of the mini-games are very simple and boring, and don't hold up well.
However, even more boring is traversing across Santa Destroy (the city which the game is set in). Between the side jobs, the assassination missions, and the ranking missions, you must drive your bike through the city to get there, not unlike GTA. However, this city is boring, so you never really get the urge to explore or screw around. You just want to get from point A to point B, thus making the city pointless, and making you wish you could just scroll through a menu to choose your missions.
But the game really picks up during the ranking missions and assassination missions. During the ranking missions you need to dispatch all the enemies blocking your way to the boss fight. This is done through the well-thought out combat system which uses almost no motion controls. The only motion controls are to select your stance (high or low. Important for attacking enemies, providing the little strategy in the normal combat) and extremely gory, but satisfying, finishing moves. Everything else is buttons, and because of the amount of attacks you perform, you'll be thankful for it.
And each ranking mission ends in a very fun boss fight that typically proceeds in old-school fashion, where you identify the boss' weakness, expose it, and pound away until they die. Typically, again with credit due to the unique characters, these bosses feel far from generic though. Assassination missions are essentially the same deal, just with different goals instead of "reach the end and beat the boss."
The only major complaint to be leveled against the combat portions of the game is how repetitive it can become. Although for the game's length (about 10-12 hours) I never found myself bored by the combat, it was starting to lose its appeal towards the end, making me less inclined to replay it. However, thankfully the issue doesn't really present itself until you get towards the end.
The graphics in No More Heroes aren't really detailed or unique, but they possess the style needed to convey the plot. The game is done in a cel-shaded style that doesn't break any new ground, but fits the game's quirky and distinct personality like a glove, making it hard to really suggest improvements. The interface and the music go for a more classic gaming feel, which works considering that the main character is a gamer. However, the music is a tad bit too repetitive, with the same song for each stage.
No More Heroes has a winning combination of combat and sharp writing that thankfully ends before it wears out its welcome. However, one can only hope that in the sequel, that we won't have to wade through boring and unnecessary gameplay elements just to get to the fun parts.