Remembering 2008: The Biggest Games That Turn 10 This Year
Created by GameSpot Staff on
No More Heroes (JPN December 6 2007; US January 22, 2008)
Killer7 on GameCube was the beginning of a continued fascination with the Goichi Suda (Suda 51) for me, but No More Heroes was the game that sparked that interest and set it aflame. It struck at a high point for Wii software; Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3 were still fresh in our minds. But No More Heroes stood out because of how abrasively different and boisterous it was, at least on the surface level.
Protagonist Travis Touchdown had a raucously ambivalent attitude and an unhealthy obsession with anime girls, and he set out on adventures that were entirely self-serving, involving copious amounts of slaughter and blood. Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture seemed like they were purposefully going out of their way to be lewd on a characteristically family-friendly console. You had to take a dump on the toilet to save your game. You needed to shake your controller vigorously, and suggestively, to charge your beam katana. Double entendres and bad words were doled out like free candy.
It was easy to see all that and dismiss No More Heroes as straight-up crass. And though its combat and the open world had some great ideas, they were admittedly repetitive and bland in the long run, which might not have helped its broader perception. But once you looked just past the facade, there was something extraordinary about No More Heroes. The game's attitude housed unique twists that satirised and denounced conventional storytelling structures, and the whole nature of video games and geek culture in general. At the time, I found it completely fascinating.
Ten years later, there's a laundry list of things that don't fly as well. And though No More Heroes 2 was great, the rest of Grasshopper's output has mostly missed the mark, especially as our culture and video games have developed. But No More Heroes is still a defining moment for games in my eyes, so I'm hoping that the return of No More Heroes for Switch, Travis Strikes Back, will use its intriguing game-within-a-game setting to positively revitalize its satirical spirit. -- Edmond Tran