I’m a man of simple pleasures. I love No More Heroes, and I’ve wanted the series on Nintendo Switch ever since I got my hands on the hybrid-handheld console three years ago. I’ve been craving a proper sequel to the hyper-violent Suda 51 directed saga for even longer, and while a third mainline entry is coming next year, I’ve been itching for a more polished way to re-experience my favourite Nintendo Wii games.
Imagine my surprise when, on my birthday last month, Nintendo decides to stealth release HD ports of No More Heroes 1 and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle onto the Nintendo Switch eShop. With zero build-up and hardly any fanfare, Nintendo casually dropped the best versions of these games onto their latest console for newcomers and Suda 51 die-hards alike to dig into.
The first No More Heroes was a whimsical, blood-soaked journey through the underbelly of the ranked assassin world, viewed through the lens of anime and wrestling fanboy Travis Touchdown. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle picks up 3 years later, as our sleazy hero returns to the world of assassination after climbing to number 1 and promptly falling from grace. He’s reluctant to fight his way to the top yet again, but when mysterious goons murder his best friend, Travis is fuelled by revenge to take down everyone standing between him and the man responsible for the murder. All of the campy carnage and tongue-in-cheek absurdity of the first game returns, but with Travis fuelled by revenge and Santa Destroy having been turned into a corporate-controlled commercial tourist trap, the journey is a shade darker than the previous game.
Despite a slightly darker story, this Nintendo Switch port of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is just as impressive as the port of the first game released alongside it. This new version of the game shoots for a sharp 720p resolution that easily outshines the visuals of the original Nintendo Wii version, and it also touts a solid 60fps. While the Switch port of the first game dips during crowded fights and open-world driving segments, the sequel is as smooth as butter. Big battles stay smooth, and since you navigate the game world through menus rather than clunky open-world exploration this time, there aren’t any driving segments to compromise the framerate.
One of the best improvements with this port is the updated control options for the game. The original Nintendo Wii release of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle employed a fusion of motion controls and button inputs as you hacked, slashed and suplexed your way through suited hitmen and wild ranked assassins. Those motion controls return on the Nintendo Switch, as the game lets you use dual Joy-Con inputs to play. Pressing buttons to attack and block while you wave your Joy-Con to switch sword stances, deal finishing blows, and recharge your beam katana with that all-too-iconic jerk-off motion is a delight.
That’s not the only way to play, though.If you decide to disable motion-controls, you’ll find that a lot of the combat systems feel a lot faster. You’re able to chain together high and low katana attacks like you never could with motion controls, and recharging your beam katana by waggling the right-stick – while way less goofy, it’s also way faster. Both control methods are viable, and both are fun as hell.
Much like the port of the first game, there aren’t any extra features or major bonuses here aside from the resolution and framerate improvements. This is the only re-release of the sequel, so there isn’t a PS3 port to pull bonuses or altered visuals from like there is for the first game. Still, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is hardly lacking in content. This remains a rich, raunchy, and utterly unforgettable action game that’s stuffed to the gills with unlockables, mini-games, crazy fights, and insane humor that only Suda 51 could provide.