No More Heroes 1 + 2
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Marvelous Europe
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 16, PEGI 18
Release Date: 28/10/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
No More Heroes has been with us for over a decade, reeling many people into the wonderful-yet-sleazy world of Travis Touchdown. No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle both released on the Nintendo Wii, primarily known as a ‘Family-friendly console’. So having such an adult game releasing on said console, seemed a little odd at the time.
I myself had never had the pleasure of experiencing these games but I have heard many, many good things about the No More Heroes games and I had seen many people ecstatic when it was announced for the Nintendo Switch. I was one of these people, as I finally had the chance to experience them for myself. How did I find them?
No More Mr Nice Guy
No More Heroes 1 & 2 follows the life and soul of Travis Touchdown, a pretty cringy assassin looking to be ranked #1 on the United Assassins Association. Set three years apart, No More Heroes sees Travis unintentionally currently standing at #11 ranked assassin, after accepting a job to kill somebody to make some quick cash. Travis must take out the other 10 people standing in his way. Doing this is no easy task though, they are assassins, after all.
Following along the same lines, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle sees Travis again trying to reach for that #1 spot after finding himself slipping down to #51 when he left the assassin life behind.
No More Zeroes
In terms of gameplay, both No More Heroes games are pretty solid featuring a lot of cool mechanics I’ve not seen before, including certain button presses to finish off an enemy. It’s worth pointing out that No More Heroes – the first more so than the second – is quite clearly aimed at a male audience and this is seen in a lot of its features. To save the game, your character goes to the toilet, and to charge your beam katana you have to shake it in a promiscuous way… but that’s a topic for another article. It’s certainly unique.
No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle fixes a lot of the issues found within the first game, which is great. No More Heroes featured a lot of awesome boss fights but generic enemy battles were just that… generic. In Desperate Struggle, you see a lot more enemy variety and although it’s something small, it can make a huge difference.
That being said, the City of Santa Destroy is fairly empty. There’s not much to see and explore. There are no NPCs and nothing to do while you’re wandering around – making the fact that you can wander, pretty pointless. Which is something that you wouldn’t expect from an open-world scene. There are, however, various side quests and jobs you can find out and about; coconut collecting among the jobs you can complete to get some quick cash.
No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle scraps the open-world approach and includes fast-travel. Simply select your destination from the games menu and that’s where you will end up. In doing this though, it feels as though a huge part of the game has been removed.
The one aspect that I really enjoyed was exploring Travis’s apartment. This will give a little further insight into Travis’s personality and makes him feel like a real person. Here you can use the toilet (save the game), listen to his voicemail, watch TV, check out his card collection, and my personal favourite, pet his cat, Jeane.
Oh, both games run at a lovely 60fps too. Which is nice.
No More Guns
Combat in both No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is filled with humorous wrestling moves and cool combos with your weapon of choice being Travis’ trusty Beam Katana. On the surface, No More Heroes‘ combat appears simple, but there are deeper mechanics that lie under the surface. Having a high and low stance for your attacks and blocks being among them, keeping an eye out for your opponent’s telltale signs of which to use.
The most interesting combat mechanic though (and one that I’ve not seen in any other game before) is the slot-machine mechanic. This appears above your head after each and every kill. 3 slots will roll after your kill, this is called ‘death blow mode’, and depending on what it lands on determines what ‘reward’ you receive.
Before the slots roll though, you will be required to press a specific directional button; up, down, left, or right. The majority of the slots will land you a cool death scene and some money but there are an odd few line-ups that will net you something cooler such as Dark Side Mode.
Travis’ Beam Katana, as brilliant as it is, however it can deplete of power, requiring you to charge it back up. Every attack lowers the charge level. Nope, there is no plugging this into a socket, you just shake it in a somewhat suggestive manner and it’s powered up again! I did say that this was aimed towards men…
The games boss fights are great also. They are certainly something to remember and provide a little variety over the generic battles you will have along the way – a one-on-one battle to the death.
No More Skill Trees
No More Heroes allows players to upgrade Travis’s skills and also upgrade his Beam Katana. Upgrading is a vital part of the game and without it, you’re not going to get very far. You do this by visiting Naomi’s Lab – and this even gives you the option of purchasing some new and shiny Beam Katanas.
There are 4 unlockable Katanas in each game, all of them have their own style and stats. As you progress through the game, you will unlock the ability to purchase these katanas and their upgrades. They cost a pretty penny though. You’re going to have to do some odd jobs to get them.
Both No More Heroes games are truly brilliant. I had worried that as a newcomer I would perhaps think they hadn’t aged well. Luckily, I didn’t feel this at all. Although they are very clearly aimed at a male audience, this didn’t falter my experience. No More Heroes is a hilariously crude and fun series. I now realise why fans of the series were so excited about this port.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle from the Nintendo e-shop here.