I have known about No More Heroes for quite some time and actually played it originally on the Nintendo Switch. Little did I know, both this game and its sequel would eventually come to PC, so of course I just had to pick it up. Everything I loved about the game is still here and I honestly enjoyed playing with the Xbox One controller over the Switch Pro controller.
Pros and Cons
-A funny and interesting story with some well-written characters
-Very fun combat with interesting moves to take out enemies
-Collectibles to find throughout Santa Destroy
-Nice side activities to help you get money
-You get to play with the cat
-An awesome soundtrack that has some catchy tunes
-There are issues with the controls
-Controller is required to play, no keyboard/mouse options
-The overworld is very bland and empty
-No option to retry any of the jobs if you complete or fail one
-Some of the achievements are bugged and do not register
-The graphics are outdated
The story follows Travis Touchdown, a stereotypical otaku, who runs out of money to buy his video games and wrestling videos all thanks to him winning a bid on a katana in an internet auction. Shortly after this incident, he is introduced to Silvia Christel at the local bar who gives Travis an offer to take out assassins with a shady background in exchange for the funds he is now in desperate need of.
He accepts and goes out to take down the assassins, and in the process earns himself the rank of 11 by the United Assassin's Association (UAA). Now, aspiring assassins are out for him, so he sets out to secure himself number one in the UAA.
While the story itself is fairly generic, there is one thing that makes the story special and that is the characters. We have Travis who is sort of a closet otaku with quite the otaku-based room, yet he tries to act like a cool guy. He has a very likable persona that I fell in love with. I really like his attitude and that he is able to keep up even though he is clumsy, he quickly became one of my favorite characters in the game.
The bosses are also interesting where you get an idea of who the character is and their personalities, it's what makes them special in their own ways. One of my favorites is Dr. Peace, a master gunslinger and corrupt vice detective that also has a talent for singing. There are other bosses but I don’t want to spoil the story too much as the characters are what make it special.
No More Heroes truly shines in the gameplay department, mainly in combat. You have a low attack and high attack, so depending on how your enemies are blocking, you will have to mix up your moves. When you are done depleting the health of an enemy, you can initiate a finishing move where you will have to move the right joystick in that direction. When you kill the enemy, there is a slot machine mechanic that will give you a random special ability that you can use on the next enemy helping to keep things fresh.
You can also learn new wrestling moves and special abilities to help deal increased damage to enemies and bosses such as having the ability to run or the ability to extend dark side mode.
There are also a number of collectibles for you to find throughout the landscape and levels. You can find wrestling cards and Lovikov Balls which help you learn special abilities from a character in the game. So it’s best to go out into the city of Santa Destroy to find as many collectibles as you can.
I did run into two issues with the controls. First, I used an Xbox One controller and there were times where my button commands never worked. When you knock enemies down to the ground you can do a finishing move by pressing the Y button, but the game would fail to register my button presses.
The second thing is that a controller is required to play the game, there is no option to play with the keyboard and mouse. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather play this game with a controller but the option to use a keyboard and mouse would have been very nice.
The overworld is also rather bland and empty with nothing really going on, and it both looks and feels rather dead. You do see other non-playable characters in the game, but they are just lifelessly walking around lacking any details or personality. There is also no police or justice system built into the game so even if you run over pedestrians with your motorcycle, nothing happens.
Lastly, I should note is that some of the achievements are bugged and will not unlock or register.
The following achievements that are unattainable are: You’re gonna need a Creed - the baseball minigame had unique controls only for the Wii.
Dial M for Massacre - Crashes before you get 510 kills or resets after every checkpoint/restart
Gym Rat - Will does not unlock after beating all exercises
Dump Donator - Requires you to visit 11 bathrooms, however, there are only 10 in the game
No More Hero - Requires you to get all the achievements but is impossible due to the broken ones.
There are a few side activities to do in the overworld such as the Job Center, K-Entertainment, which does assassination missions, and Free Fight missions. Job Center missions are average jobs like mowing the lawn or collecting coconuts from trees. The assassination missions give you an objective where you have to go and kill people but gimmicks are added. Lastly, Free Fight missions are very difficult because if you get hit once, it’s game over and you will have to redo the mission. You will need money to do the ranked fights so it’s best to do them to get enough for them and the upgrades which are very useful.
The only issue I had with all these side activities was the fact that you can’t retry the missions when you complete or fail them. You have to go to wherever you got your job/mission from and whether or not you complete or fail it, you’re going all the way back to that place to do it again. The only ones that do not require you to go back to an area are the Free Fight missions as they are right there for you to do them again.
Graphics, Performance, and Soundtrack
No More Heroes runs very well. I came across no issues while playing the game and stayed at a smooth 60 FPS. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, with16 GB of RAM.
The soundtrack is something that I really love and is probably one of my favorite things in the game. My favorites were Dr. Peace’s theme Steel Python, Pleather for Breakfast, and my all-time favorite We Are Finally Cowboys.
The graphics for No More Heroes have not aged very well and look rather outdated. I am not saying they are terrible by any means as there are some areas that do have nice scenic views, but outside these locations, you will notice the quality level compared to modern games.
While No More Heroes is in itself flawed, it does have many things that I love about it. For those who have always wanted to try out No More Heroes, then I do recommend this game, it’s only 24.99 CDN but waiting for a sale would not be a bad idea either. I also recommend the game for anyone who is a fan of Studio 51’s games and the themes they contain.