No More Heroes (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Mike Mason 15.01.2008 18

Since its unveiling Grasshopper Manufacture's No More Heroes has stirred up interest amongst Wii owners. Who couldn't be looking forward to what self-proclaimed punk Goichi Suda would produce next after the sublime, psychotic and opinion-splitting killer7? Come and join the assassin's league table to see what we thought of it during our pre-release playtest...

Players take on the role of Travis Touchdown, an otaku of the highest order who has just purchased a light saber from an online auction site, as he roams the town of Santa Destroy attempting to take down the top ten best assassins that the world can offer in order to become the best there is. Why? Because. Well, there is a girl involved...Sylvia Christel, the woman in charge of setting up ranked death matches between the assassins for the UAA (United States Assassins Association).

One thing that is immediately striking about No More Heroes is the visual style. In a vein similar to killer7 it is entirely cel-shaded; however, it is more like the style of Suda's previous game 'grown up'. It is far more detailed than the cel-shading seen in killer7, and while it doesn't stand out quite as much it is just as, if not more, satisfying to the eye. Censorship of blood from the European version (present in the American version) does not seem to have harmed the effect of the game to the extent that some have worried – even with black goo/smoke/shapes/whatever it is being sprayed about the game is still visceral in its presentation. The great use of sound with gratifying effects backs up the action.

The game is segmented into a number of parts. The meat of the game, it appears, is the disposal of enemies that get in your way as you aim to climb the league table of professional killers. You must earn the right to have a match with your immediate better in the league table, and from there you infiltrate their home/base, picking up power-ups and destroying guards as you go. Once you've made your way through it's straight into a battle with an assassin – the centrepieces that the storyline is based around. However, there are other things you can do. Driving around on your ridiculously-sized motorbike is a necessity to getting around the large town of Santa Destroy, and you also have to earn money – as you find out to your chagrin when you request your next ranking match and an obscene sum of money is demanded in return for the arrangements. Luckily, it isn't difficult to accumulate the coin as far as could be told from the playtest. You can perform simple jobs such as collecting coconuts, which strangely fetch substantial amounts of money, and mowing lawns, that work really well and are played within the main game engine – no separate rubbishy mini-games here.

On that note, it has to be said how funny No More Heroes is. From the 40 – 60 minutes of gameplay that we saw alone we laughed more than we have with any game in quite a while. Not laughing at things that are unintentionally funny, not laughing with the sort of humourless glee experienced in Super Mario Galaxy (though there is much of this in No More Heroes, also). No, we laughed because it is just a hilarious game, and a very crude one at that. Travis Touchdown is, without doubt, a pervert. There is no other word for him. He presses himself against posters of anim

How did I actually get on, then? Well, Goichi Suda and Grasshopper sound director Takada Masafumi took it in turns to play through the first level as I watched and asked questions via Naoko Mori, Grasshopper PR and translator – the results of which will be seen at some point in the near future. Suddenly, they had gotten up to the first boss and the controller was offered to me, and was naturally accepted...well, it'd be rude not to despite not knowing what to do! The controls were easy to pick up once I'd worked out how to lock-on to enemies and how to charge my weapon after some helpful prods from Suda and co., and soon the Yakuza-like first assassin was falling at my feet with an array of suplexes to calls of 'awesome!' from Suda. The game really benefits from the sparing use of motion control, as it makes it all the more effective and exciting when you do get to use your arms a little more – definitely a good design decision, though I have to admit to attempting to wield the remote like a sword/light saber initially.

After the foe was felled there was a delightful trip to Travis' apartment where he promptly sat himself atop the toilet to save. Next it was time to ride the insane bike, which was evidently driven so well that I was asked if I'd played the game before, which I hadn't...Suda was probably being polite, but I didn't crash, so there's an achievement for you. There have been negative reports about the driving sections, but I thought they were fine despite sometimes noticeable frame-rate drops and the seeming lack of anything to do as you go from place to place. Apparently there are a number of crazy stunts you can also do on the bike, but I didn't test this as I only found out after my play time was over.

The final section that I got to play was the very arcade-y coconut collection job. The aim is to punch coconut trees repeatedly to unleash their seeds. You then gather these up, up to three at a time, and run back to the stall that buys them as quickly as possible by hammering the A button as you move in a giggle-worthy stagger. The humour in this section was well-done slapstick, from the walking to the fact that Travis can get hit over the head with coconuts if he's not careful with a nice smack. They must be heavy coconuts judging by the difficulty Travis was having carrying them, and they're worth a lot. Brilliant. I got a gold medal.

Final Thoughts

No More Heroes is without a doubt one of the best original titles on Wii, perhaps only coming behind Super Mario Galaxy. It's certainly in the upper tier of quality, at least, and what we played was only a small segment of a game that allegedly gets better and better, and more than a little more insane. Funny, fantastic visuals and sound, great use of the Wii remote, variety in gameplay and something that makes you genuinely want to keep playing – what more could you want? We need it, and we need it now. Wii has a new champion; adversely to that statement, it's called No More Heroes.

Developer

Grasshopper Manufacture

Publisher

Rising Star

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (16 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Perhaps this will tide me over until Brawl.

Great stuff, Mike. I'd been in two minds about this, despite really liking killer7, but now I'm eagerly anticipating getting my hands on this! Smilie

Travis Touchdown is, without doubt, a pervert. There is no other word for him.

I think I'd get on with him... :-D

He presses himself against posters of anim

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Good stuff, about to read it all now. Did you get his autograph?, I would have lol. This will do better now in the U.S what with Brawl being delayed.

Orrrrrrrrsums.

Brilliant coverage C3. Looking interesting to say the least!

360 Gamertag: shiptoncraig
PSN: shiptoncraig
Steam: Guess what?

Sounding good. :Smilie

...making rather dubious vigorous hand motions (side to side works too)...as Travis replicates the action with the handle of his weapon close to his crotch...

lol :Smilie


Sounds quite good. I'm not feeling the love for it right now but I think that will change after it come out and I've seen the gameplay perhaps.

Co-founder of the PDSLB - Pink DS Lite Buddies Fraz: Cheerios are made from fairy orgasms.

No More Heroes since day one looked amazing and a first day buy.
Thank you Suda51 for another great game!

Great preview Mason. I can't wait for this game! Shame on the no blood though...

Definitely getting this. But there was a rumour a little while ago that they might release the bloody version. I want more info on that first. If it does come then I'll wait.

tiamat, RSG is only considering the idea of a 'full gore' version at a much later date. If the current edition sells well enough, though, I doubt it'll ever appear as there's no real need.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I feared that No More Heroes would be kind of singular in gameplay. But you widened my sight on it. It's great, great humour, great hero, great attitude, great games, great gameplay as it seems.

That was your best Preview, yet, since you nailed all the elements worth playing Suda's masterpiece. I will get it then, despite of my thoughts of never playing GTA-Games. I thought this one was like GTA, so thanks for correcting me.
I like Suda's humour. And Travis' bike looks remarcably like the chopper of Ben from Full Throttle... *lol*

this game got style. consider 2 stars being given for this fine piece of hand-on.

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Thanks for your comments, guys. :Smilie It's such a fantastic game that really deserves to do well.

On the subject of lack of blood, it actually works better this way as far as I'm concerned. The blood in the USA version is so overblown and the black stuff just fits in better with the style. Suda decided to have it this way in a joint decision between himself, Rising Star and Marvelous.

And nope, Linky, I didn't get his autograph, but I do have a lovely NMH t-shirt and a photo with the man himself that I might put up on here at some point. :Smilie

Did you play the full-on bloody version? And you actually met Suda? Impressive.

What did he smell like?

Less posty, more gamey.

Nope, it was the censored one, which I reckon actually looks better now I've seen it first hand. Wasn't too sure before, don't mind it now.

And I didn't smell him but I'm sure he was very nice! :lol:

Ooh, sounds cool. Certainly one to save up for.

I don't care either way about the blood-censoring. Though if they had to censor something, I'd rather it was the language. Swearing in games bothers me a lot more than blood. Dunno why.

Fantastic review Mike, top work! Glad to know it plays as good as it looks!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

the only problem with the censored version is the cut scenes don't make any sense now. after each boss fight 2 guys turn up to wash away the blood, but there isn't any! also some bosses explode leaving just a pile of ash, and some are left completely intact. it's like some are vampires and some aren't. also were the camera would pan in on a severed arm in the uncensored version, in the censored version focusing the camera on nothing is out of place. also after the first boss fight your employer starts taking pictures of a pile of ash. i could understand if she wanted evidence of your victim for the UAA, but what's a pile of dust gonna prove?

wii #, 0116-4755-0008-9273.
msc mii #, 326521-959456.

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