In some ways it's so clever it makes the pains of it's failures that much worse.
Nobody resident of "Santa Destroy", Travis Touchdown after purchasing a nifty energy beam katana on an online auction has forgone his normal lifestyle of anime obsession to become the number one ranked assassin, to impress a girl. The game develops an amusing and wonderfully stylized parody of video games, anime and the indie culture surrounding those things managing to poke fun and play homage all at the same time.
In this quest, you are thrown into an open world to travel around make money and unless your re-mote driven blade in a flurry of destruction. The gameplay is a good deal of fun, and while it only implements the swinging blade/Wii-mote at the end of combos, with normal slashes bound to the A button, it feels tighter that way. For all its fun however it's not very deep, thus after a while without much depth the fun starts to become a chore. Travis can do all the things you'd expect, slash, block, dodge, charge attacks and even wrestling suplexes they are all wonderfully animated and lively though after a considerable hours it all begins to feel tired, while you can learn new moves and power up, it doesn't seem to have a very satisfying effect and from start to finish your never going to be more "wow"'ed then in the first hour.
Additionally you are subject to a collection of mini-games to help you earn cash. Yet just as you'd expect the mini-games are just a series of timed movements or button mashing and while novel and sometimes very funny the first time around really do become "work" very quickly.
Its biggest problem from a gameplay standpoint is the farcical open world. Santa Destroy is a very drab in lifeless place for the most part, and No More Heroes illustrates precisely that the novelty of open world can really be a severe waste of time. Half of your gaming time will likely be relegated to driving your motorcycle from place to place, in a world with nothing to see, no consequences or even reactions from running down civilians or property it really feels like a long interactive loading sequence and is just a poignant. The time and resources invested into the open world are completely wasted and could have been much better spent on any and all the other areas of the game.
Visually as far as the Wii goes it's serviceable, but even with HD cables if your used to the higher end machines NMH is going to look very outdated. The design is exceptional though; each character is suitably over the top colorful both and really delivers something exciting. They are all voiced well and each confrontation with your assassin enemies will stick out in your memory, the fights here are often great fun with little twists whether that's a suitable reward for the tedium of getting there is another question entirely.
The story that ties it all together starts of with some potentially, yet in typical anime style devolves into an un-finished and abrupt ending, really hurting the replay value, after experiencing all it has to offer once you'll don't feel motivated to go through it all again.
No more heroes is a fun romp, but in terms of entertainment that romp is shorter then the game that's strung together, greats moments split up by periods of boring time sinks leave you looking onto it less fondly then you'd like to.