Friday, June 25, 2010
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle for the Wii
The Wii. What can we say about it? It’s a great system with a great list of games. The Wii even brought us two games that were rated as two of the best games of the past decade. We’ve got a lot of games for this system, like Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, New Super Mario Brothers Wii, Madworld, Zack and Wiki, Metroid: Other M, Sin and Punishment 2, Monster Hunter 3, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and you get the idea. It has a lot of great games, though it does has the reputation for having way too many casual-player games that are just broken and not even worth the price they sell them for. I think the cause of this is that when an M-rated game gets released, it gets overlooked since the Wii is supposed to be “family friendly”. Well, to that I say BULL! I mean, if you haven’t played Madworld, then I don’t know what you guys are looking at. This brings me up to one of the better M-rated games on the Wii, No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle! The sequel to one of the best games on the Wii from 2008, No More Heroes 2 still holds up the charm it has from the last game with its creative art style, interesting bosses and characters, and very very lewd, but funny humor. So, what makes this one of the best games from January? Let’s find out!
The main story of this sequel is well…weird to say the least. The large Pizza Hut parody company, Pizza Bat, decides to be jerks that they are, and do what they do on their days off, go kill people. They decide to take out their lust for death on Travis’s best friend, Bishop, who ran the video store from the last game. As for Travis Touchdown, he has been out of the whole assassin’s game for 3 years, and has moved down to the rank of number 51. After killing some emo Cloud Strife wannabe (who, weirdly enough, is the brother of the guy he killed in the first game to be rank 11), he then finds out that his friend Bishop was killed. The disturbing way he finds out is that the thugs who killed Bishop, chopped off his head, put it in a bag, and threw it into Travis’ apartment. Now, Travis is out for revenge and has to fight through the 50 other ranked killers to get to number 1. I wouldn’t really hold No More Heroes up for a groundbreaking story, and this one isn’t, but it doesn’t matter. Just give any guy a beam saber and he will do anything,
The game play featured in No More Heroes 2 is more of the same stuff you do in the past game. You basically hack and slash your way through goons who don’t get paid enough to get sliced in half, fight the next ranked assassin, and more or less do it again after that fight. This time however, the empty overworld is replaced with a map which allows you to teleport to different places on the map. Now, I don’t mind this since I did get lost in the first game, and frankly, I honestly didn’t know what to do for the first part of the first game. Now that I think back, I actually liked the open world concept, since it was fun to walk around and find random stuff to collect. However, it does make getting from place to place easier when you can just choose where you need to go, kind of like how you can teleport to different places in Twilight Princess. I think the collecting has been simplified in the second game. You basically collect extra stuff for the cloth shop, Area 51. You do get different beam sabers though from the foxy scientist Doctor Naomi. This time she will sell you two different beam sabers that you had to buy upgrades for in the last game. You, of course, get your main beam saber that is the default saber. You then can buy a shorter beam saber that I think does quicker attacks, and is probably is the beam saber I used most besides the last one you can get, but I will get to that in a second. The third one, which is crazily expensive, is a two-handed large beam saber, which does great amounts of damage, but is really slow and is probably best used on groups of enemies rather than some of the quicker boss enemies. The final weapon you get turns into two beam sabers that are probably the strongest and fastest of the weapons Travis has, but the battery runs out more quickly, from what I have seen. It is the weapon I used the most after I got it. In this game though, you don’t just play as Travis. This time, you get to play as past 7th ranked assassin, Shinobu, for two boss fights, and you get to play as Travis’s Brother Henry for one boss fight. I don’t mind that you can play as them, but I will show my complaints in the later part of this review. Like in the last game, you can do side jobs to earn some cash. The side jobs this time differ from the ones in the last game. The easiest one you can do is collect coconuts in an 8-bit style mini-game. A lot of the side jobs are designed like old Nintendo Entertainment System games. The second one is a steak-cooking mini-game, where you need to cook steaks a specific way for the customers to fill a bar to get to the next level. The third mini-game is like old retro games like Rad Racer or Mach Rider. You basically get to the finish line before the timer runs out, and you gain boosts by hitting nitro cans on the road. Another one is basically set up in the style of Gauntlet, but the gameplay isn’t the same. You go through 4 rooms, exterminating bugs and sucking them up like the Ghostbusters. There are others games like picking up trash from space, going through a non 8-bit mini game picking up scorpions, and filling a square up with Tetris blocks. There is a lot more variety in mini-games, and the coconut game is a lot easier than the one in the first game. In fact, I think some of these games could pass as downloadable DSI games. There are also revenge missions, 10 in total, where you cut down mindless grunts, and gain a small amount of cash. Only twice in the game do you ever ride your motorcycle, and it is for two different boss fights. The only other thing I need to say is that there is one boss fight that takes place in a giant robot to fight another assassin who can form a giant robot. It’s pretty cool, but sadly it only happens once. The slot machine gimmick is back from the first game, and it goes off each time you kill people. Sometimes, the result is nothing, but if it does hit three of a certain symbol, it can either make a huge slash, destroying everything, making Travis faster, to even make Travis turn into a tiger, and maul fleeing enemies. It’s like a bloody version of Pacman.
The graphics still are as charming as the last game. It has a punk anime-style look that is still fun to look at, but sometimes it looks blocky. It passes with the unique characters, that play very little parts in the story, but are still fun to like as characters. Some of my favorite boss fights are with Dr. Letz Shake, the second part of the Ryuji fight, and against the mighty astronaut, Captain Vladimir. Sometimes, the boss fights can be a little sad, like the Ryuji and Captain Vladimir fight. The soundtrack is just as awesome, and still has the amazing battle music that will never leave your head. The 8-bit songs are also fun to listen to, and, dare I say, better than some of the Megaman songs that I have heard. The voice acting is also very well done with some pretty talented people like Travis, who is voiced by Robin Atkins Downes, who did the voices for the Prophet of Regret from the Halo series, Lorenzo from Haunting Grounds, Luxord from the Kingdom Hearts series, and the Prince of Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within, just to name a few. We also have Paula Tiso who did Lulu from Final Fantasy 10, Odette from Odin Sphere, and Ohka from .Hack///Legend of Twilight. The other talented people we have are Quinton Flynn as Henry, Yuri Lowenthal, Khary Payton, Jennifer Hale, Fred Tatasciore, Josh Keaton, Tara Strong, and Paul Eiding. It’s definitely a great cast of voicework to have in a game like No More Heroes 2. The humor is actually pretty funny, but raunchy at times. Let’s just say that in the first game, the perverse part of the human mind was explored. In the second game however, it was stroked and massaged till ready to burst, no pun or sexual joke intended. There are some things that you will ONLY hear from a game like this. I think two of my favorite segments of lines are when you fight the football player boss, and when you fight Dr. Letz Shake. It’s just funny, and I bet everyone will find a part in the dialogue enjoyable.
Sadly, this so-called “No More Hero” has a lot of holes, which are just annoying, and just weren’t implemented right. Why the heck do the football player and his cheerleader groupies take 25 of the ranks in the game? I mean, the cheerleaders alone are not a threat! It’s only when they combine into the giant robot that they are a threat. It’s just stupid, and mostly used it to fill space. They should have just had all 25 characters in one rank so it wouldn’t waste space. The first part of the Ryuji fight is just a pain in my back to get through. It’s so hard to control your motorcycle and it’s like one of the only two times you actually use it! It’s annoying since it’s so hard to steer and control the motorcycle, and I usually ended up falling off the side because of it. The platforming sections of Shinobu’s stage are just an annoyance to get through, as well. With the camera so close to you, it’s hard to through the jumping to see where you need to jump. I can’t count how many times it took me to just get to New Destroyman because I, accidentally, flew off the roof or jumped incorrectly to a platform because of Shinobu’s awkward movements. Why do you only control Henry once? I mean, you get to at least play as Shinobu twice, but Henry’s boss fight isn’t even a ranked fight, and then he goes off-screen to kill 3 unknown assassins. Why couldn’t they have just put those assassins in?! I mean, yeah, it would have pushed the Wii’s power to its limit, but come on!
Overall, this is a case of which one you would like better? No More Heroes was a sign of quantity over quality. The case with No More Heroes 2 is quality over quantity. I say pick up both games though. They are both really solid and are extremely fun to play, even with minor flaws. I am curious to see the revamped version of the first game for the PS3 and 360 and see how it plays. I will be reviewing it when I can get my hands on it, but I wonder what No More Heroes 3 will be like on the next Nintendo console. All and all, Goichi Suda, the creator of these two games and Killer 7, did a really good job and I would like to meet him someday and talk with him.
This game gets a 9.1 out of 10