REVIEW: No More Heroes

No More Heroes Review – TheEndBoss

No More Heroes is a unique, one-of-a-kind game and one of the few decent M-rated Wii games. I wanted to like it for those reasons, and I assume those reasons are responsible for the game’s good reviews despite there being a fairly ridiculous amount of things wrong with it. Just because it’s an M-rated Wii game or because it has some artistic merit doesn’t mean the game’s screw-ups are excusable. In short, this review is different from most of the others out there.

To start off with, the game goes wrong in the very beginning with its main character, Travis Touchdown. He’s easily one of the most unlikable main characters ever created simply because his arrogance is so thick it could be cut with a knife. He displays an uncaring attitude throughout the entire game toward most characters. And considering he kills quite few of them, the question is raised: what’s wrong with him? This is something the game’s story never explores, and aside from several excellent plot twists the narrative is mediocre. Travis is simply trying to kill ten much more likable assassins so he can be called the best of the best. While failing to be compelling and to produce a likable main character, the story also fails to produce humor. IT seems the development team decided to rely on tasteless jokes that seem out of place and vulgar, unfunny innuendos. It’s a shame, too, because at some moments No More Heroes can be deviously clever. It’s a mystery why cleverness wasn’t used more as opposed to failed attempts at humor.

The theme of No More Heroes’ gameplay is bloody, violent killing. Travis uses a lightsab…er, beam katana to fulfill his most brutal dreams of murder along with some wrestling moves that seem useless by comparison. And as satisfying as it is to swing the Wii remote to decapitate the two (yes, there are only two) enemy types, the game quickly falls into repetition. Why? Because before every boss battle Travis has to wade through a mass of opponents who either charge at him blindly or attack from afar and run away whenever he gets too close. And odds are that 95% will be defeated in the same way: locking on with the Z button and mashing A to swing the katana. Sadistically satisfying swing of the Wii remote to finish off each opponent aside, combat is boring.

Boss battles quickly fall into a pattern of “find the opening”, but they’re particularly interesting because of how unique each assassin’s fighting ****is. The problem, though, is not with the boss fights but what comes after them. Travis is returned to his hometown of Santa Destroy after each one, and it’s an open world that makes all the fourth-rate Grand Theft Auto knock-offs feel good about themselves. Causing mayhem is what keeps open worlds fun after the initial thrill of freedom fades. Unfortunately there are few pedestrians, one ramp, Travis’ motorcycle flips at the slightest collision, and the vehicle handles poorly. Without any actual fun, Santa Destroy is seen for what it really is: the terrible filler between levels to make the game longer.

Maybe that isn’t quite fair, because normal jobs like mowing the lawn are strangely fun. These are undertaken at the town’s job center, one of the few locations. The goal of returning to Santa Destroy is to raise enough cash to enter the next fight, which is accomplished through taking jobs. The fun, ordinary jobs pay decently but not well enough, forcing the higher-paying assassination missions to be played. Unfortunately, they’re all repetitive garbage that are all very similar to one another.

But maybe I’m going at this all wrong. Maybe No More Heroes isn’t meant to be a polished, well-crafted game. Maybe it’s meant to be a messy, thrown-together experience. But then again, what’s the point in playing a game like that?

No More Heroes isn’t all bad, though. In its own disastrous way, the game is actually a little fun (combat, that is, not the open world). And because of how strange the whole thing is, the game is worth seeing through to the very end. It’s a bit like a train wreck: disastrous yet strangely compelling. And with all these good reviews by the gaming community, maybe some people can find it in themselves to overlook the tragic flaws.