Well met! Last week, I reminisced about a PS2 oldie that many found...meh.
Today brings us back into the trippy world of Suda 51.
No More Heroes was released on Wii in North America in 2008. You play as otaku Travis Touchdown, a dude living (wasting) his life in the No More Heroes Hotel in the town of Santa Destroy. Having won a "beam katana" (essentially a lightsaber) on an online auction, he is persuaded by a mysterious woman named Sylvia to become the top ranked assassin in the world.
Because why not.
Right off the bat, you know this is going to be one hell of a trip. I wrote about a Suda 51 game a couple months ago or so (one of my earliest articles!) That game was Killer7, and it was mostly bleak.
No More Heroes takes a somewhat more comedic, madcap approach to its proceedings. Travis is sort of a typical otaku/lucha libre fan, with his hotel room decorated with anime girl art and luchador masks. So, you know what you're getting into when you start this game.
The game play itself is fun, too. Well, to be honest, much of it is serviceable more than fun, but you'll still have a blast. Basic swings and combos for the beam katana are handled by the A button on the Wii remote. Typically you'll hack an enemy until he runs out of health, at which point you'll wave the Wii remote in a direction indicated on screen to finish him off. Occasionally, you can pull off one of a surprising amount of wrestling moves.
Further wrinkles adding to the hack-and-slash action are a silly slot machine system that grants you powerups randomly, and the odd jobs you have to do around Santa Destroy to gather enough money to challenge another assassin.
This is where the game falls a bit flat. You drive around Santa Destroy on a giant, Akira-style motorcycle, but there's nothing really to do. Except odd jobs. Like pumping gas, or mowing the lawn. I actually appreciate Suda 51's sense of humor here, as these everyman activities are humorously juxtaposed with the brutal combat and massive boss battles.
But the problem is, you have to do way to many of these jobs to gather the money needed to challenge the next boss. It really drags down the gameplay. It's a problem rectified in the sequel, yes. But that doesn't do anything for the first one, sadly.
But that's really the only nit I have to pick here. Because the boss battles is where it's at. You fight all sorts of insane characters, from a girl with a gun for a leg, to Santa Destroy's resident superhero, Destroyman, to a singing karaoke fan in a baseball stadium.
Each boss battle is truly unique, even though much of them share the same mechanics and pattern recognition. You'll really get to know these characters through some excellent character development-just before you battle them to the death.
It's a Suda 51 game, through and through. And if you like anime, toilet humor, or fun, it's worth a look. Or a relook, if you feel like shaking the dust off your Wii remote.
And that about does it! I am taking suggestions/recommendations for future Game of The Week articles! Post them here, or on my ConTAYct page!
Hit the comments!
Thanks to IGN for the images.
Next week: Perhaps we'll find out exactly how you pronounce "einherjar."