Game – No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise
Console(s) – Playstation 3 (Reviewed), Xbox 360
Publisher/Developer – Konami/ Feelplus & AQ Interactive
Genre – Action Adventure/Hack ‘n’ Slash
Release date – August 16, 2011 (USA), April 15, 2011 (Japan), May 20, 2011 (EU)
Buy/Preorder here – Amazon (USA) or Play – Asia (Australia)
After the critically acclaimed but poor selling No More Heroes released for the Nintendo Wii a couple of years ago, Konami is at it again with a sequel in the form of No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise. Can this game fix the faults of its counterpart and rise to the occasion?
Travis Touchdown (I swear that last name is real) is a typical dude. He likes video games, motorcycles and alcohol. He also spends way too much time chatting up the ladies. Oh, and he has a beam katana, which is a super powered stick of glowing death that can be swung about to cause massive damage. Not only that, but he is also a well known assassin. There are only a few problems with his life.
Problem 1 is that he is ranked as number 11 on the list of assassins by the people who rank such things (seriously, who has the time, interest and investment to give assassins a numbered score?)
To solve his first problem, Travis agrees to a tournament of sorts: Find and kill numbers 1-10 and be ranked NUMBER 1. Of course, after signing his tournament contract papers, Travis finds out he must pay a steep entry fee to get a chance at his prey. Which brings us to:
Problem #2- Travis Touchdown got no money.
To make up for this, Travis needs a job, but we’ll get into that later.
All in all, the story is so shallow and bizarre that it is a wonder that even the writers of the script were able to keep up with it. Every character and interaction just adds more weirdness. Other than your demented tourney organizer (who is, by the way, uber hot and may want to have sex) there is no real reason pay attention to the story. If your into really insane stories, then you’ll love this game. More serious minded people will be turned off, but at least the game does bring some new ideas to the storytelling arena.
Most of your time will be spent hacking, dashing, smacking and slicing the poorly programmed AI into bits. Standing perfectly still most of the time and only occasionally attacking, these enemies seem to want a quick death at the hands of your Japanese lightsaber. Unfortunately, battling these tepid protectors can be tedious, while at the same time a fun, affair. Playing with the Playstation Move controls, you’ll just need to press a button to wear down an enemies’ health. Once it gets down far enough, swipe your motion controller in a direction indicated on the screen, which will result in dismembered bad guy. If you swing the wrong way, then you will have to waggle the wand to defeat your enemy.
This is actually very fun for the first few hours, especially once you start pulling off super violent combos (which merely require one button press). It does eventually get a little tiresome, but it is much more interactive than a standard controller. Sadly, boss fights are torrid events that boil down to tapping the button as fast as possible while dodging occasionally. At least the character models for the bosses are very original and interesting.
While combat is a hit or miss affair (I’d say 60/40) the side missions are where the game shines. Most are wildy different events that will bring giggles and fun gameplay moments to your living room. These side missions are where you’ll earn your money to enter the tournaments and while some feature dull combat, most are funny and redeem the rest of the game. For example, in one of the side missions, you will need to attack coconut trees.
Graphics and Audio
One of the more unique and exciting parts of the game is the graphical style. Although styled with a more western edge, there are definitely huge Japanese influences as well. The best part about the graphics is that all the power-ups and collectibles in the game world are modeled after 8 bit games, thus mixing the bloody nature of the game with the charming sights of a bygone era.
Speaking of blood, you’ll be seeing plenty of it as this game features some of the most horrifying executions imaginable. On the bad side, most of the buildings and the rest of the world are very bland and look like a last generation game.
The soundtrack to the game is also pretty good. It too features 8 bit sounds, and it is one of the more redeeming features present in No More Heroes. Even the voice acting in the cutscenes is fairly tolerable and verges on being quality work. Enemy voice overs are another matter though. Poor quality at best, hearing a dying man say, “My SPLEEN!” is only humorous a few times and after the 10000th time, it just started to piss me off.
Somehow despite all its faults, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise remains worthy of a recommendation to play it. The sheer personality and presentation factors make the game original and a delight to slog through. Even if the gameplay wears thin after a few hours, the rest of the game offers enough to keep anyone entertained. After all, when is the next time you’ll be able to wield a freakin’ beam katana in battle against a nefarious dude who has a curved sword the size of a whale, whilst collecting 8 bit power ups along the way, then drive a gigantic motorcycle across town to gather coconuts?! Your right. It just doesn’t happen. Its a shame that this game has so many special pieces to it, and yet, none of them can quite fit together. Nevertheless, what the game DOES fit together is enough to garner this game the score you see below.
Bloody, violent combos
8 bit graphic cameos
Awesome boss character models