No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

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(prices updated 9/22 7:19 PM )

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No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle takes place three years after the original game No More Heroes and its tournament. Players take control of the “Otaku Protagonist,” Travis Touchdown in another violent journey to the top of another ranked tournament. Once again, he’s hounded by Sylvia, “the hottest woman alive”, to take up the challenge in the new battle. Travis is not longer going into the tournament just to win sex with Sylvia, as they say, “this time it’s personal".

The game fixes some issues from its predecessor, such as the job system, now retooled as retro NES-style mini-games. Like the original title, it features wrestling moves and finishers, known as “Death Blows,” as well as the same blood-strewn, over-the-top violence. Darkside Mode operating with a kind of in-game slot machine returns as well. There are five “Darkside Modes” which give Travis a variety of bonus powers for a short time. Enemies may be slowed down, Travis is able to shoot fireballs, and he can even be turned into a tiger or explode like a human bomb to take out up to a room full of enemies.

Travis' motel room, or his home, once again features a variety of distractions such as his television, closet, and wrestling magazines. On top of this, his cat is now fat and requires occasional exercise and a proper diet. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle also includes more playable characters, including fan-favorite Shinobu.

A HD remaster for the Nintendo Switch was released with improved graphics.

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Credits (Wii version)

299 People (255 developers, 44 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer
Game Designers
Lead Programmer
System Programmer
Battle Programmer
Technical Support Programmers
Lead Animator
Lead Character Artist
Character Artists
Lead Environment Artist
Environment Artists
[ full credits ]



Average score: 81% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 9 ratings with 1 reviews)

Not as good as the first one.

The Good
Money is less important.

No more upgrades that only serve to confuse you.

Levels are nicely designed.

Very replayable.

The Bad
Rehashing of old bosses.

Obnoxious story.

Very little innovation.

Fights that are entirely broken or too easy.

Endless fights with generic mobs that keep respawning.

The Bottom Line

No More Heroes 2 picks up three years after the last game with Travis Touchdown, world’s greatest nerd, been confronted by an unknown man on a rooftop. After defeating the stranger, Travis is notified that he is now ranked 51st in the assassin tournament that he left after beating it in the first game. Becoming the best is not entirely on Travis’ schedule and after been screwed over by his agent in the first game, he is not very inclined to do her any favors either, but matters are further complicated when Travis discovers that his best friend was murdered. Since the #1 assassin is responsible, Travis decides to roll with the tournament in order to get to him.

It seems like a very neat setup, but one problem that continued to bother me all throughout it is that the story interrupts you way too often. There is this ongoing narration where, every once in a while, we see a cut-scene in a dimly lit room that consists of just Sylvia talking about what kind of enemy we’ll be fighting in the next ranked battle. I know it is easy to critique something, so let me offer an alternative to these cut-scenes: Why don’t you have her narrate these bits of information during or after each wave of enemies that we fight in the approach to the boss she is talking about. That way the narration becomes a reward for participating in the otherwise monotonous fights.

I also didn’t like how some of the bosses were thrown at you without any kind of backstory or hype to them, which is devastating for a game like this. The first title was drenched in symbolism and every boss either represented a part of Travis’ behavior or served as a warning for what he was throwing himself at, regardless of which of the two it was, each boss at least left an impression on both Travis and the player. As a direct result, Travis becomes kind of a Conker – a character with no consistent personality or traits – as he stumbles around between wanting blind revenge, been viewed as human and hating what he has to do. Overall, it is a decent setup for a story that does unravel nicely, aside from a few giant smears.


I would say that gameplay has remained unchanged since No More Heroes 1, but doing so would technically be a lie, since plenty of stuff has been removed since then. Remember how people were mad about the Overworld? Maybe you recall hearing complaints about the handling of your vehicle? Or do you maybe remember that people disliked the assassination side-jobs? Well, Suda 51 solved all of that in the most childish way by flat-out removing all of it instead of fixing it. Travel is now entirely menu-driven, the motorcycle is largely absent and mini-games are the only means of grinding money now. I am not sure what this is supposed to illustrate, but it makes the game feel rather bare-bones, since not much is added to compensate; there is a running side-story where you do micro-games to help your cat lose weight and the aforementioned 8-bit mini-games are present instead of the old jobs.

That is all sandbox stuff, though, what you are probably actually wondering about is the combat in this game. This has (again) been left largely unchanged, aside from a few minor tweaks and failures. For the sake of remaining positive, let’s start with what has been successfully implemented; namely the weapons and special powers. The new swords you can obtain all feel different when you use them, there is the standard beam-sword, a katana for faster attacks, a powerful two-handed sword that swings very slowly and grows through repeated use and a dual-wield set for insanely fast combos. The power-ups from the first game now also trigger more regularly and are partly influenced by the ecstasy-meter that builds up as you kill enemies and dodge attacks. It’s also nice that they never seem to trigger on the last enemy in the room and automatically stop if the wave is over, so that you can leave the area without waiting for the effect to wade off.

On the more negative side however, I noticed how some of the regular enemies tend to have insane amounts of health and how waves can sometimes last up to twenty minutes. Really game, the core of what makes you fun are the boss-fights, stop trying to keep me away from them… It’s also unbelievably annoying how easily everybody can get stunned, including you. There were various combinations of enemies and even some bosses whose entire challenge was based on a rapid succession of attacks that can instantly knock (and keep) down on the ground. Wrestling moves also return, but are unreliable since you often have to break a combo to execute one and even then they often don’t connect, so it’s easier and better to just keep slashing away at foes. I am actually a supporter of staggering out the boss-fights, as it lengthens the game-time and makes you value them more when they do show up, but combat is now the only method of doing so and that really starts to get boring.

The worst part is yet to come, namely the fact that besides not been memorable, most of the bosses are also plain bad to play through. Some like Cloe Walsh, Alice Twilight and Matt Helms were just plain easy (I defeated both Matt and Cloe without taking a single hit), some are downright broken like Ryuji (who literally killed himself) and the Million Gunman who requires you to do platforming (it’s about as pleasurable as it sounds) and some are unfairly difficult like Batt Jr. or Charlie Mcfuckingunbreakablecombomove. All in all, the only boss that I’d argue holds up compared to the roster of the first game is Margaret Moonlight, who has a back-story, memorable presentation, build-up and combines figuring out a tactic with close-combat maneuvering. That is exactly what I like in a boss-fight, dodging each other’s attacks and occasionally getting a hit in while the boss often breaks away to trouble you further with a special-move. I wish we got more of that and less of Captain Vladimir.


No More Heroes 2 retains most of the design quirks of the original when it comes to presentation, such as straightforward levels and deliberately retro special-effects. Nothing has really changed in this regard and it’s still very entertaining to look at. The designers did put a little effort in improving the design of the levels themselves to avoid endless corridors, but that is pretty much it. The same goes for the music, sound-effects and graphical quality.

There is one stand-out music track in the entire game (those who have played it know which one I mean), but other than that no real effort has been put into making advances in this field.

Replay Value

This is the only field where the game has changed in a positive way without any exceptions; the replay value is now very high for this game. This can be credited to the fact that there is less reliance on money and thus also less grinding keeping you away the combat and actually having fun. There are only two swords to purchase, no upgrades and no mandatory money-sinks (like the entry fees from last time). This all works towards the game flowing a lot better, which I think we can all agree upon, is a good thing.

Why should you get it?

The No More Heroes series is very unique; a satirical action series that heavily relies on symbolism and creativity to entertain the player. This second entry might not be of the same quality as the first game, but it most certainly comes close. Because of this, I can highly recommend this game to those who’ve played and enjoyed the first game and would like to see the story continue or do some more beamsword-fencing.

Why should you skip it?

The game has some major issues that relate to lazy design, such as rehashed fights or utterly forgettable characters. The narrative gets in the way constantly too, so there will be many times when you will sit back in your chair and let out of a sigh. New players may also find themselves disliking this game because of this and missing out on the superior predecessor.

Wii · by Asinine (957) · 2013

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by ResidentHazard.

Windows added by Zaibatsu. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Luna added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Sciere.

Game added July 16th, 2010. Last modified July 23rd, 2023.