XI
you are not logged in
Review

Review: No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise

Santa Destroy welcomes careful drivers.

From the second No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise starts you just know you are in for a hell of a show. Riding his motorcycle full pelt at a set of huge doors the game’s protagonist, Travis Touchdown, smashes through, decapitating two guards in one foul swoop, before declaring them “f**k heads” whilst their still gushing corpses fall to the floor.

Whilst Travis is, in essence, a geek he is also the 11th-ranked assassin in the world, and under the guidance of stereotypical French miss ‘Sylvia Christe’ he has his sights set on the number one slot. Oh, and when we say ‘guidance’ what we actually mean is Sylvia has promised to do the nasty with Travis if he kills ranks ten to one. So begins the videogame equivalent of Kill Bill, only with a foul-mouthed pervert at the helm.


Shocking behaviour.
It’s hard to know where to start with No More Heroes. On one hand you have an ultra-stylish, ultra-violent hack and slash blast through the city of Santa Destroy, whilst on the other you have a total change of pace as you take part in rather pedestrian mini-games to earn money for the entry fee to the next fight. It’s a combination that never really seems to gel, but more on that later.

First up is the combat. Travis is equipped with a beam katana, which is a lightsaber without the threat of legal action from Mr.Lucas. You have your normal high and low attacks, and well as a punch and kick that can stagger, or even daze, an opponent. Once an enemy’s health bar has been depleted you are prompted to finish them off with a QTE. Woah, come back! Yes, QTEs can have a negative impact on a game if overused, but in No More Heroes it feels spot on.

Something new to this edition is the gallons upon gallons of blood spilled. The Wii original swapped out blood for black pixels (which were actually rather cool) but not so this time; for the faint of heart it is not. To crank the ‘bad-ass’ meter up to eleven, Travis can also block and deflect projectiles with his ligh…beam katana. He’s just like Yoda, if Yoda decided he was only going to help save the galaxy if he could cop a feel off Princess Leia.

To add a bit of variety into the mix Travis will learn various wrestling moves throughout the game. These are a welcome, and powerful, addition to your arsenal and can be activated once you dizzy an enemy. You’ll also need to master the evasive roll for when you come face to face with ranked fighters. Controlling Travis with a DualShock 3 feels very slick, with a handy target lock for when you are attacking large groups.

Using Move control was a bit hit and miss, however. Control of Travis is handed over to the Navigation Controller, and whilst you still use buttons to initiate your main attacks the motion control comes into play when applying the finishing blow. It’s ok, but I found myself heading back to the DualShock. Oh, a special mention goes to the action you must perform to recharge your beam katana; it’s a bit…risqué.

Being an assassin isn’t just kill kill kill though, you have to look your best too. Scattered throughout city are various T-shirts which you can change into back at the motel (your base). You can also buy various outfits if the mood takes you. Hitting the gym will see you take part in various mini-games to try and increase your strength and stamina, and you can also upgrade your weapon for a price.

All this is just garnish, however, for the main dish that is the ranked fights. Once you earn the required amount of cash you are told to go to a designated spot where you will then fight your way to the boss. They really are the stars of the show here; each one different, each introduced in a fantastic cutscene, and despatched just as impressively.


We all need to recharge our sword once in a while...
There are a couple of missteps along the way (the rank four fight felt extremely cheap) but for every stumble comes a ‘guns vs. swords’ showdown which removes the sour taste from your mouth. My favourite is the introduction of “Mr Sir Henry m***erf***er.” I’ll say no more than that, but he is one cool son of a gun. There are also a handful of extra fighters taken from No More Heroes 2, who you challenge if you fall asleep on the loo (I’m actually not kidding). If you feel like taking a break there is a ‘Score Attack’ mode which allows you to fight any boss you have already defeated, only this time you get a score at the end.

It’s all of the above which makes the many negatives such a bitter pill to swallow. Whilst the main character models look stunning, and there are some wonderful retro touches, screen tearing is prevalent and slowdown happens frequently in mad scraps, which can lead to some cheap deaths. When you’re not embroiled in a fight to the death, you are roaming the open-world of Santa Destroy, but apart from a few collectibles it is an extremely barren and uninteresting place, which is a shame as the foundation is there for a bustling city full of little nooks and crannies.

Whilst the game rewards object destruction in Santa Destroy, a number of annoying glitches make this a tiresome process. I’ve lost count of the times Travis’ bike has become stuck to a lamppost for seemingly no apparent reason, and the only way to rectify this is to ditch the bike and run down the road, before using your phone and calling for it to be dropped off again. There is also the question as to why you can plough through fully grown trees, but a plastic table and chair will cause the bike to come to a complete halt, throwing Travis off in the process. It doesn’t help that the bike handles like a fridge with square wheels.

The biggest issue, however, is the artificial padding of the game’s length. To earn money to enter the next fight you must perform a set of mini-games such as mowing a lawn, or collecting coconuts. Whilst they are short in length, it becomes an absolute chore when you simply want to continue with what No More Heroes does best. The mini-games also feel unbalanced, with some earning you $50,000 whilst others will net you $15,000. You can also take part in assassin missions, but they are almost all the same and as such get just as boring.

I was hoping that this section of the game would have been toned down for the PS3 release, as it was probably the most commented on issue with the Wii version. Alas this is not the case.

Pros

  • Epic ranked fights.
  • Gorgeous HD character models.
  • Fluid combat system.
  • Did we mention those ranked fights?

Cons

  • Glitches.
  • Screen tearing.
  • Slowdown.
  • Drawn out, repetitive process for getting cash.
  • Santa Destroy is barren.

No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is a fantastic game, held back by some frustrating design decisions. For every moment spent whooping in delight as you vanquish a foe, you’ll spend two more grimacing as you have to mow someone’s lawn, or try and pry yourself free from a lamppost. When it’s good it’s almost unbeatable, but the filler in-between is exactly that.

Score: 7/10

 

10 Comments
  1. Forrest_01
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    Kinda reminds me of a somwhat dodgy version of Yakuza. With swords. The only real difference i can see is that most of the side stuff/mini games in Yakuza weren’t forced on you for the main part.

    Good review though – Might pick this up at some point when it’s a bit cheaper.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 10:14.
  2. matthangzhou
    Member
    Since: Sep 2010

    I enjoyed the game on the wii, and I didn’t mind the mini games too much, they added some more kitsch factor to the game. The boss fights reminded me of Kill Bill.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 10:42.
  3. DrNate86
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I also enjoyed the Wii version, though it is a shame to hear this one has tearing and other graphical problems. I actually quite liked the mini games, they were a bit of silly fun in between the killing. I might grab this cheap at some point to fight the extra bosses and experience the game with blood instead of black pixels.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 11:04.
  4. DrNate86
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I also enjoyed the Wii version, though it is a shame to hear this one has tearing and other graphical problems. I actually quite liked the mini games, they were a bit of silly fun in between the killing. I might grab this cheap at some point to fight the extra bosses and experience the game with blood instead of black pixels. It’s

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 11:05.
    • DrNate86
      Member
      Since: Apr 2010

      Oops sorry for double post, struggling with my non-compliant phone!

      Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 11:08.
  5. Smallville2106
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    Thanks for the review. When the price drops may pick it up.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 12:12.
  6. DixNeuf
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    The Wii version of NMH was one of my all time favourites, so I ponied up the full 40 smackers for the PS3 version. For the first 10 minutes it felt a bit flat, but as I got used to the nuances of the combat I started to get the feeling I had when I played it the first time.

    I actually don’t mind some of ‘Cons’ – the mini-games and strangely barren town both add to the atmosphere and charm of the original.

    It’s a shame not more people are prepared to pay full price for a unique title like this, but given it’s niche appeal and slightly bizarre sensibilities, I guess that’s only to be expected.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 17:01.
  7. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    Not a bad review then, sounds good.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 19:13.
  8. nemesisND1derboy
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    Great review :)

    After reading this, it has all but confirmed to me the belief I had about Suda 51. He has great ideas and great style, but he needs someone who can make a game properly for him that actually works.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2011 at 21:05.
  9. tactical20
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    Just played the demo and I honestly think it might be the worst game I’ve ever played. No exaggeration.

    Comment posted on 03/06/2011 at 21:48.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Latest Comments