Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Zeke Reviews No More Heroes

This review is a little late but better today than never. How many of you O.G.’s miss the simplicity in your games? How many of you O.G.’s (Original Gamers) miss back in the day when you’d blow that Double Dragon or Ninja Gaiden cartridge to mow down hordes of nameless goons to get to that final boss and deliver that satisfying death blow? Well this game, No More Heroes (Wii), channels that old school spirit in a new way.

You play as Travis Touchdown, an eccentric otaku (google it) punk rocker living in fictional Santa Destroy, California with an addiction to EBay. After winning a beam katana (think Star War’s light saber) online, a wine fine French girl at the bar convinces him to become the number one assassin in the country. The game starts you out taking down the number ten and going up the list until you are number one. Do not expect the story to get any more coherent after this. Don’t trip though because you will be entertained by the outlandish dialogue and plot. This is a game that knows it is a game and revels in it. This game has fun with itself. Need an example? In order to save, Travis gets on the toilet and takes a shit.

Do not come here thinking to see graphics on par with Devil May Cry 4 or NBA 2K8; this is the Wii after all. The visuals in the game come across as a comic book as the characters are cell shaded and the pixilated menu theme gives it a nostalgic feel. Every piece of the game is highly stylized and it looks sikk. Small effects make the kills even sweater like time slowing down for your death blows and fountains of blood spurting from your enemy’s decapitated head a lá Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Speaking of blood, this game delivers by the gallon. You won’t find a bloodier game on the Wii. Thrusting your beam katana through a thug’s skull has never been more satisfying. The Wiimote brings a refreshing mechanic to the typical button mashing of Action games; after cutting down a foe’s health time slows down and the screen prompts you with an arrow. You have to swing the Wiimote in this direction to execute the deathblow relative to that direction and watch the heads role. Each deathblow you execute brings up a mini slot machine and if your luck provides you with a line then Travis will enter Darkside mode. In this mode, Travis is an unstoppable killer. There a couple different forms of Darkside mode. My favorite is the sadist mode: the screen fades to black & white, Travis slows down to prey on his target and once he homes in the screen will prompt you to press a random button. If done properly, Travis will dispatch his enemy in the most brutal fashion (one time he stabbed a dude in his dick first and the cut him in half). Oh yeah, and if you get tired of cutting niggas up, you can also call up Travis’ plethora of Luchadore inspired body slams. Oh yeah, if you’re the type of gamer who likes collecting stuff, there is plenty to hunt for. Find and kick garbage cans to find new tee shirts or money. Speaking of shirts, you can change Travis’ look to your preference.

Only complaints with the game would be the open world part. In order to take part in your ranked assassination matches you have to break a little bread but since Travis spends all his money on anime shit and rented porn you gotta get out there and make some money doing oddjobs in the form of minigames. Some of the minigames are fun but it sucks balls having to repeat these jobs to get enough money to get to the fun part of the game. To make matters worse you actually have to travel to different parts of Santa Destroy to do these jobs. The city itself is a little glitchy as if it were done as an afterthought but if you can suffer through these small speed bumps you can get to the meat of the game.

Overall I’d give this game a B+. If you have a Wii, you have to have No More Heroes.

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