Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Director: Suda 51
Everyone's favorite Otaku Travis Touchdown is back for another gory round of killing his way back to the top of the assassin ranks to number one. This time he's doing it out of revenge for the murder of best friend Bishop (who ran the local video game rental store) by the current number one assassin and to stop this crazy tournament once and for all. The story doesn't go into detail about what's happened to Travis, but three years has passed since the last No More Heroes and Travis has gotten weary of Sylvia (she runs the tournament) and the assassin organization. The story is still going to be a confusing fluff fest, but Suda 51 always manages to make it entertaining. No More Heroes is about blood, kicking ass, and playing exercise mini games with your pet cat Jeane. So cute! Yeah, you heard me right.
|You haz too many cheezeburgers.|
Just like the original No More Heroes this game is a very stylized, action brawler. Overall the gameplay hasn't changed too much and the format for progression through the ranking missions is similar. So your still going to get lots of bodies sliced in half gushing blood, girls in tight clothing, wrestling moves, Anime, crazy boss battles, crude language and the Travis Touchdown ego attitude. All the good things from the first game have been left mostly untouched with some minor tweaks.
|Eat your heart out Darth Maul.|
If you've played the first No More Heroes then your not going to see much of a difference gameplay wise that's rocking the boat here. To save time and not to bore everyone to death, I'll quickly explain whats been changed for the better here and not worry so much about detailing the minutia of playing the game. Your still going to use the A button for slicing hi and low with Travis's Beam Katana and use the B button for grappling, punching, and kicking; the type of attack will change as well if your holding the Wiimote in a up or down position.
In the past game you had one Beam Katana Blade that you upgraded and purchased parts for. This kept the gameplay mostly the same throughout the entire game. In this version your going to get at least 4 different Beam Katanas to use, such a dual Beam Katanas. For all you weapons whores out there you might say that only four blades is pretty lame, but you'll soon see that the four blades have been designed to play noticeably differently from each other. Once you collect them you'll be able to carry them at all times and you can switch them on the fly. I actually had a lot of fun learning to use them, since over time you figure out which blades work best in certain situations and boss fights. Also the weapons have unique power ups (turning you into a killing machine) that will be unleashed if your lucky enough to get a good roll on the slot machine. The slot machine appears after you complete an prompted on screen gesture based finishing move on an enemy by either slicing off body parts or completing a wrestling move. Oh there will be blood my friends, lots of blood. I sometimes had to stop my self from being to giddy with joy at times by the sheer amount of carnage happening on the screen at once. It is quite a feat in itself. By the way if you don't know what I mean by the slot machine... fuck it, just go play the game, you'll never understand WTF I'm talking about anyways with some off the zany stuff going on in No More Heroes 2.
Now one of the biggest issues with the original No More Heroes was with the open world environment they constructed for you to progress through the missions and jobs. To say the least, the world Suda 51 created was a clunky, barren wasteland and was extremely frustrating to play through. You could travel across the entire city to get to a mission, die within 30 seconds, and be sent all the way back to your original starting point forced to go travel all the way back to that mission again if you wanted to repeat it. If they were trying to emulate Grand Theft Auto, they epically failed.
Luckily this has been effectively fixed in a good way. Gone is the open world. Now what you get is an over world map with a list of the missions, shops, and jobs at your disposal in a list. You just quickly highlight where you want to go and bam your there. If you lose a battle you can hop right back in no problem. Want to go home and watch some slightly perverted Anime at your apartment? Go for it. It only takes seconds to get there. They also removed the need for you pay your way into the missions altogether, which was another reason the first game was a major pain in the ass. This became a hassle since you were forced to play the job mini games repeatedly in between missions in order to make any progress. It really slowed the pacing of the game down. Now the missions and jobs become available as you play through them, so it's up to you to do them when you want to. Lets leads me to my next point of improvement. The Job Mini games.
The main reason your even going to bother with the job mini games is to purchase items, but the real reason your going back to play these games is simply because they are good fun. Some jobs were brought back from the first No More Heroes and converted into 2D games such as the coconut collecting mini game. As a 3D game, it was clunky and boring. As a 2D game it has become a fun and challenging timed gauntlet with you drop kicking trees and catching coconuts. The nice thing here is that the rest of the mini games are a mix of 2D gameplay types and all have great midi soundtracks to go with them. It was a change for the better and I could imagine a No More Heroes themed DLC mini game based just on these little jobs. Better yet, a No More Heroes DS game would be even more the awesome.
|Just in case you were getting bored, look at this!|
One final note to No More Heroes 2 is during the game you'll get to play as some other characters from the story to mix it up, but I found those missions to not be quite as fun. Especially with your apprentice Shinobi. The platforming and jumping that is required just isn't a precise as it needs to be. A nice attempt l mix up the gameplay, but it just does't work and make a small dent in the progression of the game.
No More Heroes 2 is still a little rough on the edges in term of polish, repeating sounds effect, and the combat on rare occasions isn't a tight as it could be with the wrestling gesture moves (I blame the Nunchuck). But the challenging boss battles, crazy character design, story cinematics and especially the NES style job mini games makes it more than worthwhile. This really feels like what the first game should have been. Even when compared to games on the other consoles, there isn't anything quite like it. The icing on the cake to all of this is that the game is actually a lot of fun. It's a game for the sake of being a game. Personally, I think Suda 51 has honed in and almost perfected the series.
Simple yet entertaining combat gameplay
Challenging boss battles
You can turn into a Mother F'in Tiger!
The additional playable characters and levels lack polish
Repeating sound effects
Almost nonsensical story (Not nearly as bad as Metal Gear Solid 4, I swear)
Buttered & Jammed Toast — For Wii owners its a must buy for your game collection. The Wii haters should be jealous.