No More Heroes
Description official descriptions
No More Heroes is a violent action game set in the fictional city Santa Destroy in California. The main character Travis Touchdown wins a Beam Katana (reminiscent of a Star Wars lightsaber) through an online auction and decides to become a professional killer. He has a streak of otaku, not only though his looks but also through his love for J-Pop music, toy robots, wrestling and videogames. After defeating the assassin Helter Skelter in a battle, he is approached by the French woman Silvia Christel who offers him a job at the UAA, the governing body of assassins. He is given rank #11 and needs to kill his way to the top by defeating the other assassins.
The game is set in a free roaming world with open-ended gameplay, similar to the later Grand Theft Auto games. The main goal is to kill the other ten main assassins to progress the storyline, but there are numerous sidequests to earn money and additional weapons. Travis's main weapon is the katana, controlled through the Wii remote while the nunchuk is used for movement. Most attacks are performed using the A-button, while the position of the remote determines how high the katana is held. Others only become available by following on-screen instructions, leading to sword lock breaks and finishing moves. He also has a number of typical wrestling in close combat. There is a targeting system through the Z-button, B leads to a stun move and holding A and B together offers charged attacks.
During the journey, Travis is assisted by Doctor Naomi, a weapons maker, and Thunder Ryu who owns a gym where Travis can boast his statistics based on speed, combos and health. He moves around on foot or on his motorcycle Schpel Tiger. The visual style is similar to the grasshopper's previous game Killer7 with cel-shaded graphics. The game does not take itself serious and the over-the-top combat and animations offer a tongue-in-cheek counterweight for the graphical violence.
A HD remaster for the Nintendo Switch was released with improved graphics.
Credits (Wii version)
249 People (217 developers, 32 thanks) · View all
|Directed, Written & Game Designed by||
|Lead Battle Programmer|
|Stage & Cutscene Programmer|
|Senior Environment Artist|
|Senior Character Artist|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 82% (based on 99 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 30 ratings with 2 reviews)
The protagonist of this game, Travis Touchdown, is probably the biggest selling point of this game. He is very enjoyable due to his determination to be more than "just some nerdy guy". Every time Travis said something it was either very awesome or hilariously silly and credit has to be given to the voice-actor who does such a good job at pulling this off. The other characters are very entertaining too and especially Travis' interaction with Sylvia is a joy to watch.
The game's graphic style really rubs me up the right way, it leans more towards an animated style of graphics, but the characters are still recognizably human. There are also some traces of retro spread across, such as arrows over objectives dissolving into cubes (trying to make it look like pixels). It's the boss-design that stands out the most however, not only do these characters look very detailed (quite amazing stuff for the Wii), but they are just designed in interesting and elaborate ways.
The combat itself holds up pretty well too, mostly because it doesn't fall for the trap of making sword-fighting bound entirely to the Wii Motion controls. The only thing you need the Wii Remote for is the finishing moves and mini-games, you can also point it upward to switch to high attacks (as opposed to low attacks), but I never really needed too. Because of this you will still feel your arm after a long session and fighting is much more controlled because you only need to hit A to hit people and can instead focus on dodging and counter-attacking.
Another trick you need to keep an eye on and which gives the fighting more depth, is the battery of your beam sword. If the battery runs out you can no longer do damage to enemies and you can't block anymore either, meaning you are essentially open to all damage. You can recharge the battery by pressing the 1 button and waving the remote around for a few seconds. Having to run across the field and quickly load up my sword in the middle of a tense boss-fight is very tense and exciting. The sword also has enough battery power to make sure you don't run our every few seconds, so this is nicely balanced.
I hear a lot of people complaint about the sandbox map and grinding you need to do before you can enter the next fight, but I found both of these to be decent. The city wasn't too big, so it didn't take very long to get from A to B and it would take maybe one side-mission and two assassination jobs at the most to get the cash needed for the next fight. That is, assuming you don't waste it in the shops that sell junk I found unnecessary during my play through (I finished it with the third beam sword, which cost me 140.000 LB).
There are a lot of clever references and details in this game, the most of which are in Travis' house. Like mentioned before: Travis is presented as a huge geek and his house is full off collectibles. Nearing the end of the game I could still look around a bit and see something cool I hadn't seen before, like that Nintendo 64 on the shelve.
The game also features some good jokes and I must say that I found it refreshing to play a game that doesn't take itself too serious. A few jokes really broke the Fourth Wall and a few of them got a smile or even a laugh out of me. One returning joke was that the people of Santa Destroy (the name of the town you are in) seem to have an awful lots of gods for just about anything. You'll have to discover what I mean yourself though :)
What I did hate about the town however was driving around it on the motorcycle. This thing is made in hell, I am absolutely sure about it. The controls are very inconsistent, sometimes steering to the left would result in a huge turn that almost left me driving on the sidewalk and at other times the bike would almost make a full 360 degrees turn and crash me into something. I also hate how entire trees can be knocked over when you hit them, but some object seem to be made out of Titanium, like the bus-stop sign that launched me off my bike when I tried plowing through it. Hit detection is also terrible and I really felt taken out of the experience when I drove close to the side-walk and the people on it would animate like they were been hit, despite the fact you could fit an entire car between them and me.
The shops were also annoying: I never went into the clothing store, but I tried my hand at the different swords in the game and even that was annoying. When you buy a new sword, there is little to no information on it. You get a prize, a name and a description telling you some random stuff. You know what would really help Suda 51? Stats. I can't just assume that a sword is better than what I already got because it has a higher prize and even Kingdom Hearts 538/2 Days was nice enough to say something like "High damage" or "Good for defense".
Most standard enemies got really bland design and there are maybe eight different enemies in the entire game with four or five different weapons. Given, they were most cannonfodder anyway and unless they had Beam Swords of their own, killing them was maybe three hits and a quick-time event away, but I would have enjoyed some randomized faces and hair style. If anything, it would at least at a little variety to the fighting because you will have to kill a lot of these buggers before you get to the actual boss.
After every mission the amount of money you need for the next one jumps up (mostly 50.000 LB at a time). However, the money you get for side-jobs and assassination jobs doesn't, so I ran into the problem that I kept returning to the earlier missions because the newer ones weren't worth the effort. Why would I take the fight to enemies with Beam Sword when I get the same amount of money when murdering some dude in a parking lot? I mentioned the grinding wasn't as long as people said it would be, but this is still really retarded.
The game is rather short, I finished it in less than ten hours. The problem is not so much that I find it short, Call of Duty games are normally shorter, but they have side-missions and multiplayer, both of which No More Heroes lacks. You can endlessly repeat the side-jobs and assassination missions if you want to and you can buy all the useless clothes, but this has no effect or reward to it, so it feels hallow and pointless.
Finally, I have a small complaint towards the ending. I AM NOT GOING TO SPOIL ANYTHING, but there is an "ending" and a "real ending" (the game reveals this very clearly). The problem is that when there is a real ending, you naturally want to get that one, but this game gives you no hint about how to do that. I hate looking things up on the internet, but left with little choice I did it anyway and found out you had to get all the swords in the game, which strikes me as insanely arbitrary. How does owning these items change anything? At least in "Illbleed" there was a logic behind it: "Forget a friend, you get a bad ending. Find all your friends, you get a good ending".
The Bottom Line
Despite the amount of Good and Bad things is just about balanced, I must say that overall "No More Heroes" leans more towards the good. It is a very enjoyable hack & slash game with some truly interesting graphics and bosses and characters. It has a lot of flaws, that is true, but the developers took chances in an attempt to provide an interesting experience and and interesting experience we got.
The artistic crowd will likely get the most fun out of this game and if you are craving for a decent action game on the Wii, then this 16+ title is also worth checking out. Some people might be turned off by the kind of humor or the graphics style though, so be on the look-out for poking fun at Geek Culture, sex jokes and look up some screenshots.
Wii · by Asinine (957) · 2012
This game is... Odd. It's a good Odd, but still... Odd. I definitely had fun playing it, and it's certainly made me want to play Suda51's other games. It's the kind of cult game that some will really take to heart, whilst others look at it and see a used game design, with some fantastic gestures, and some grade A computer actors.
First the story. It's not much of a story; starts small, and ends only slightly larger. But it does the trick. You are Travis Touchdown, and you want get into a cute Silvia's underpants. She'll demean you, taunt you, spout some generally crazy phrases, and you couldn't want her more... I mean Travis! Travis couldn't want her more!
Suffice to say, the story keeps the game nice and light, but there's also room for some pathos. You're killing fleshed out characters, with flaws, humanity. And as in Shadow of the Colossus, there's an element of sadness, being rid of these people, as monstrous as they may be.
Now to the meat of it. A third of this game is comprised of fighting. It's like God of War, but making use of the Wiimote and Nunchuck admirably. It really does shake (forgive the pun) some life into a somewhat tired hack and slash genre. Fighting is done with the A (sword slash), and B (punch and kicks) buttons, with the analogue stick adding some variety to the moves.
Whittling away at an enemy will eventually drain them of their life, it's at this point you can perform a death stroke - following the on-screen Wiimote prompts. If you manage to stun an opponent, you'll get the chance to grab them and pull them into a finishing wrestling move. These moves are decided on where you are in relation to your opponent (to their side, front, rear), with some randomness thrown in for good measure. Following the on-screen prompts with both Wiimote and Nunchuck, these are more complex than the death strokes, but far more rewarding.
These two elements adds so much satisfaction to something that should be the most boring part of the game: Fighting waves and waves of identical enemies to reach the last boss is fun again. That's right, I said Fun! I'll gladly play through this game again solely for the Assassination missions and fights leading up to them.
There are some flourishes, and some let downs with the main missions. After a death-stroke, you'll be entitled to enter the Dark-Side for a short time, if three symbols on wheels match. These modes add something fresh to the game, and just made me smile: you'll get to perform executions following the button prompts (letting you empty a room of enemies in no time), launch missiles, do extra damage, etc. Though on more than one occasion I was taken to the Dark-Side after eliminating the last enemy in the room, forcing me to wait the 30 seconds for it to end before proceeding to the next part of the level.
The Boss fights are what this game lives for. Like Shadow of the Colossus you need to figure out the weakness in each one. Once that's done it's a simple task (provided they don't kill you first). It's a shame you'll only meet these characters once; they're the highlight of the games creativity. Where else will you find a girl dressed in a loli-style dress hitting gimps, with a baseball bat towards you? Or a female explosives expert who likes to dig holes on the beach for you to fall in? A grandmother with a particle accelerator the size of a bus?
The other third of the game is comprised of side missions and part time jobs, to earn enough money for your next fight, and to spend on improving yourself, and your look. The jobs are really fun. They last 3 minutes exactly, just long enough to enjoy, but short enough that it doesn't get boring. You'll be mowing lawns, picking coconuts, finding lost (identical) cats, removing scorpions, filling cars with fuel, and a few other things. All with fantastic and different gestures.
You can even improve your stats by going to the Gym; performing squats, bench-presses, and dumbbell curls. Whilst this is great fun, it would have been nice to have more activities to improve your stats - there must be more than 3 activities you can do in a gym. And improving your wardrobe is quite cool for the first few times. I bought a new outfit after every assassination, and there was still a ton of stuff to buy, or find in dumpsters (just give them a kick).
I should note that I've been playing the bloodless version, and can say I still enjoyed it. It's still very much an adult game with the language, so I would not call what they did to it censorship. Whilst some parts may make less sense without the blood, there's a quite obvious plot-hole that doesn't make sense in the bloody version, involving limbs inexplicably reattaching. The fountains of cash from enemies feels right for the game, so I have no beef with their decision.
The let downs of the fighting part, are mainly to do with the masses of enemies you'll fight, and the environments in which you'll be rumbling. There seems to be so much creative juice flowing into the main characters, than the NPCs you'll see the most, seem stale and even annoyingly bad. They'll pop up in groups identical to one another, with the same animation (but set slightly off). It puts me in mind of the streets of rage series. I can see the retro connections, but I still think it's lazy.
Likewise are the levels. Whilst they appear fresh for the first room, or first five minutes, they quickly grow tiring. Rows and rows of corridors, or warehouses, subway-cars, all alike. They differ so much from the locations where you'll find the assassins, which are vibrant; how could they not, after 10-15 minutes of monotony?
The last third of the game is spent driving around - the biggest disappointment. You're limited to running, or driving a huge hog of a bike around Santa Destroy. SD itself is a dull place, Collision detection is sketchy, taking simple corners is an exercise in futility, unless you've mastered the quick-turn gesture (and more often than not, I turned the wrong way).
Santa Destroy could have been a beautiful place, instead you get a near ghost town of washed out colours. Objects and pedestrians exist to get in your way, and driving from mission to mission, is just that: Driving, with none of the fun. You'll find yourself getting know a few key routes about town, because that's all you'll need to know. Beyond the mission, collecting some glowing balls, digging up treasure (don't get excited, you just press A to stab the ground when your Wiimote vibrates enough), there's not much else to do except play out the missions.
To start the next assassination mission, you'll need money. This entry fee increases the higher your rank. This wouldn't be so bad were the side missions, and part time jobs more varied and enjoyable. I've talked about the Jobs in the Good, and they are just that, except where it's possible to die in a couple: You'll have to drive back to the job centre, apply for the job, drive to the jobs location, and start again. This can take a good 5-10 minutes depending on the job and the route chosen, and gets annoying if you get killed more than once.
The side missions are a bit of a con. San Andreas is a bold expressionist oil-painting compared to these tacked on scenarios. The only upside to these is that they pay more the part time jobs. They're no where near as fun, but at least you don't have to do them more than a few times (unless you've been buying every item of clothing available). It's at the start of the game that they're at their most frustrating. Because you'll unlock a few after every part time job (which in turn get unlocked after every Assassination), you'll quickly get bored of repeating these same few missions until you have enough cash.
Horrifyingly, it doesn't get much better after a few more have been unlocked. Whilst they pay more, the designers ran out of ideas almost immediately. You'll fight the same "CEO of a Pizzeria chain" and his cronies, in the same garage, over and over for more money. Bear in mind, there's nothing to suggest he's an actual CEO of a Pizzeria chain: He's dressed in a black suit and sunglasses with a gun or sword, just like his umpteen bodyguards, in a parking garage. Why they felt the need to add this backstory, or even use it more than once is beyond me. The jobs are simple: either kill the automaton with an arrow above his head, or kill everyone, and you'll win your bounty.
After a few other mission types, like the ability to kill only by wrestling moves (if nothing it's good practise), or the kill as many as you can variety, you'll crave the next assassination. These side missions really make a mockery of the main game. They're nowhere near as fun, repetitive, and if anything, degrade the rest of the experience. I found myself ending a kill with a wrestling move less and less after a few of the "wrestling only" side missions.
The lack of variety continues into the music and sound departments. Whilst the main theme and one or two other stand out, I have no idea what else is playing. The Official Soundtracks of the game are 4 disks long. I have no idea how they could fill more than 10 minutes of disk. Everything is just a variation of the main themes; I use the term variation, very, very loosely.
The sound is even poorer, with enemies chanting the same lines over and over when confronted. These aren't generic "Hey!"s and screams, either: the first sound you might hear from an enemy is how you'll die. After you hear this from half the enemies in the room before they start fighting, you really want them dead as soon as possible!
Some of the sounds I liked: the sound of a Death-blow swoosh, the unlocking of a new mission jingle (I'd like that as a Text Message tone), and the sound of the floating, collectable orbs. That's about it. Of the apparent multitude of sounds (and I'd need convincing of that), only 3 I can remember and enjoy.
The Bottom Line
This game has its flaws. I admit I didn't like a good 3rd of its content, and the rest suffers from a lack of variety, and polish. Throughout its playtime (and 14 hours is quite reasonable), I felt more and more that this game just wasn't ready. All it needed was a month more of development, and whilst my major gripes would not have been addressed, at least the parts I did like would be even better.
That's the tone of No More Heroes. It's a game for gamers. But it doesn't know which gamers it's aimed at. While this game shares more with Beyond Good & Evil than GTA (as most reviewers have used as the benchmark, despite NMHs terrible driving sections), it isn't as good as either. The combat is fantastic, and I'm replaying the game on an unlocked difficulty mode, solely for this; everything else is sub-par.
I can't explain it's high professional reviews. Perhaps they're using the odious 7-10 reviewing method. Perhaps it's the communities love for Suda51, and a hope for a new Killer7. Perhaps I didn't get it, the more I played, the more I felt those reviewers were playing some other game. I get that it's full of old school gaming clichés and tropes - it's meant to. But if you're looking for Post Modern Retro, games like Darwinia do it better.
It's hard to recommend this game beyond it's sword combat, style, and cute cutscenes. With any other game element, I could point you in the direction of a handful of other games that do it better. It's a game that could have certainly be a lot better had they unlocked everything from the start. At least most of the first crucial hours wouldn't be wasted on repetitiveness.
But judge for yourself. The Wii needs more 3rd party games in this vein. You'll get a lot enjoyment out of it, and you won't find a more twisted/creative world to play in.
Wii · by Heathen Gray (17) · 2008
|Censored?||St. Martyne (3644)||Jul 26th, 2008|
1001 Video Games
No More Heroes appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
Originally, the game was planned for the Xbox 360 platform, but the team turned to the Wii when they received information how the new controller would work.
The only version of the game that got to keep all of the excessive violence and gore was, ironically, the US version of the game, while the rest of the world had to make due with toned down violence and enemies turning to ashes instead of spraying fountains of blood.
The Japanese version was also supposed to be "unedited" but Suda51 changed it last minute without any obvious explanation as to why.
- February 2009 (Issue #245) - Wii Game of the Year 2008
- 2008 – #7 Wii Game of the Year
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- MobyGames ID: 31970
- Steam App: 1420290
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Sciere.
Game added January 6th, 2008. Last modified July 23rd, 2023.