Hopefully, quite a few of you might just remember a particularly stylish Gamecube and PS2 title by the name of Killer 7. It’s freakishly odd story, and gameplay that swung freely between joyous and disturbing, only helped create a title that ultimately proved to be an absolute masterpiece of design.
Unsurprisingly being from the same creators of Killer 7, No More Heroes is another astonishingly stylish, but equally as odd actioner. Instead of aiming for a simply re-working of their previous title, No More Heroes gets rid of the on rails movement and leans much closer to the kind of freeform GTA-esque gameplay that every man and their dog has attempted to rip off over the last few years.
Not that No More Heroes is simple a simple GTA rip-off however. Between missions you do indeed have the opportunity to hop off your motorcycle and drive around the tiny city of Santa Destroy. But this isn’t the kind of game that delivers the same freeform scope of the GTA series.
You can indeed take a trip to the shops and purchase a new set of clothing to show off, or pop out and learn a few new moves to help you on your merry way, but this driving round is more or less a means to an end, with your trekking off to the next meaningful mission.
Not too shockingly, the story tying together this whole game is somewhat quirky to say the least. As Travis Touchdown, you find yourself suddenly tossed out of your porn-watching and card-collecting lifestyle, and left aiming to reach top spot on the assassination leaderboard.
Your task is to slaughter the dozen professional killers standing in the way between you and that number one ranking, with each of the game's main missions culminating with a huge boss battle against one of the 12.
Doing justice to the sheer ridiculousness of No More Heroes is impossible in mere words however. The absolute, well, oddness of the characters you stumble across is one that only this talented bunch could come up with. It simply has to be experienced to be believed. Safe to say that if you’re the brand of gamer who is a staunch fan of "realistic" storylines, then No More Heroes’ ridiculously over-the-top nature might just be a bit of a turn off.
Strangely, considering your character makes firm use of a huge sword, you don’t swing the Wii Remote to initiate attacks. Nope, you utilise the buttons to swing your weapon initially, with a little Remote based movement saved for dishing up the final finishing manoeuvre. It’s an idea that really helps stop the combat in No More Heroes from descending into repetitive swings of the Remote, and makes some of the more devastating finishing moves seem all that more powerful.
The visuals, while not in the kind of HD glory that we’re all obsessed with these days, are stylish enough to drag your eyes away from the sometimes poor frame rate which stutters and starts when the action really heats up. The strong use of colour and glorious cell-shaded character and backdrop designs are an absolute treat for the eyes, making this game a perfect of example of what the Wii can do if designers truly put their minds to it.
Differences between the subject of this review (the US version) and the upcoming European release are singular. While the US version sees the enemies explode in a shower of blood and coins, the European release will replace the blood with a mass of black pixels. Whether this bothers you enough to miss out, that’s down to personal choice. But it seems a daft change, particularly as the Japanese release included the same black pixels that European gamers will enjoy.
It’s gorgeous, it’s quirky, it’s masses of fun, and it’s the kind of game that the Wii’s been lacking. Wii owners who desire something outside the typical collection of mini-games owe it to themselves to give this one a try.
Don’t let this be another Killer 7 and be passed up by almost everyone.