No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii) Review

By Calum Peak 12.11.2010 8

Review for No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle on Wii

Goichi Suda and Grasshopper’s No More Heroes was revered as one of the best quirky third party games to hit the Wii back in 2008. Since the ending of the first iteration, fans have been screaming for more Travis Touchdown, more epic boss battles and, of course, the tongue-in-cheek humour that comes as part of the package. Along comes No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle rocking up with a swagger and a beam katana stuck through its bowels to provide for the masses with familiar characters and all-new gameplay. Does Grasshopper Manufacture’s new title stand up to its younger brother, or does it deserve to be decapitated in a flourish of quick-time events?

Desperate Struggle carries on the story of its predecessor in its mad disjointed way, which is a good way of saying that they are pretty much far removed from each other as any game in a series can be. All that you need to know is that Travis retired from the United Assassins Association (UAA) after reaching number one last time round, but is sucked back into the world of ranked fighting several years later after his best friend Bishop is killed in revenge. However, his time off has cost him his top ranking place - the beginning sees you placed at rank 51, so plenty of fighting is in order to reach the top and the man responsible for Bishop’s death.

This leads nicely onto the main meat of the game which features boss battles at least as epic as its predecessors. These range neatly from simple hack and slash affairs to some truly out of this world (quite literally) experiences, such as a giant robotic take on the beat-em-up. However, players may think that they have 50 boss battles to fight to move to the top, in reality this isn’t the case. The second boss’ cheerleading cohorts are discovered to be ranked also, so once you finish the boss battle you shoot up twenty or so ranks. This happens on several other occasions throughout the game and, even though the fights themselves are brilliant, you feel slightly short changed each time you realise you’ve just made a big jump up the UAA rankings. That isn’t to say that this is altogether a bad thing; one might have seen taking on 50 bosses as a bit of a drag and given up with the title all together, but with the limited number that do take place, you look forward to them and relish the challenge. These fights are not for the faint hearted; if you let your guard down for even a second, even with some of the weaker enemies, you can find yourself sprawled on the floor with only a little health left and the game over screen following shortly. On the harder difficulties especially, bosses have a habit of wiping you your entire health with one move. Be on your guard, be on the move, but most of all, chop off heads.

Screenshot for No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle on Wii

Grasshopper have also added more variety to the gameplay this time round, the most prominent being the ability to carry two types (or three depending on how you look at it) of beam katana at all times: one for short range quick attacks, a slower but stronger one, or the option to dual wield, all of which offer some pretty sweet motion-controlled quick-time finishers. To add to this, you no longer only control Travis. Later on in the game you get to get to grips with his brother, Henry, who controls in almost exactly the same way but has some mad catchphrases, and Shinobu who offers some not-as-fluid-as-it-should-be platforming action via the ability to jump....oh, and there’s also a 150 foot mech.

Areas within the game are also much more varied. Instead of taking place only in Santa Destroy (there can only be so many offices and warehouses, afterall) you can no travel through supernatural Akashic Points to other locations such as neglected haunted houses in mountainside woods. There are some issues that have been tidied up too; for one, the power-up awarding slot machine that pops up as you battle enemies works better now, gifting you treats before you reach the last guy, so no longer do you run around like a Super Saiyan with nobody to kill before you can access the door. Along with this, the tiger meter (basically a rage meter) now charges up as you kill enemies, with Travis transforming into a terrifying tiger once it hits its pinnacle, allowing you to wreak havoc among the many petrified henchman.

Screenshot for No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle on Wii

Desperate Struggle is by no means a graphical powerhouse in terms of Wii power, but compared to the first title it’s a step in the right direction. However, like the last title, No More Heroes 2 is still riddled with slowdown issues, though not as many as before. This is mainly due to the destruction of the living world hub; now everything is handled with menus and map screens. Whatever Desperate Struggle lacks in graphical ‘oomph’, it more than makes up for it in style. The original was heralded for this and somehow, Suda51 has pushed it even further. Players now have complete control over Travis’s wardrobe, so you can make him look like the ultimate bad-ass as he breaks the spines of his enemies. Most of the training exercises and jobs have had their 3D element removed and are now based on 8-bit games, offering one heck of a challenge if you wish to get Travis as strong and rich as possible. One of the major changes in style from its predecessor, however, is the inclusion of blood. Last time round PAL territories only got ‘black dust’ when enemies were killed, debatably removing some of the atmosphere of the game; now they shatter into a blood-splattering gore-fest which is much more on par with some of Travis more choicier words. With the amount of f-bombs and gore, it’s puzzling that No More Heroes 2 was granted a 15 rating compared to MadWorld’s 18.

Screenshot for No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle on Wii

No More Heroes was a brilliant game when it hit several years ago, and now Grasshopper have created a suitable follow-up with Desperate Struggle, even trumping the predecessor in many ways. The fighting, whilst it still has the same core dynamics, feels much more diverse due to the new weapons and the ability to switch these at will, as well as the many different, varied boss fights which force you to adopt different styles of play each time. The last game’s humour had a particular acquired taste, and this one is no different. While keeping in elements that made the first game loved, Grasshopper have taken note of all of its criticisms and worked on them to eradicate many of the problems. The result is a well-rounded and funny title that will keep players entertained for a long time, and repeat play is to be found in challenging bosses on harder difficulty settings. Severing heads has rarely been such fun.

Screenshot for No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

No More Heroes 2 is definitely a title to pick up especially at its cheap price point. The bosses are mad, wacky and intuitive whilst the fighting still remains fresh. The level design has much improved with areas spanning more locations. The first game’s issues have been ironed out to make this a must-have for any Wii owner.

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  8/10 (5 Votes)

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

Comments

This game wasn't on my radar until now but this review convinced me. I guess that's another entry for my Wishlist yet again. Smilie

I bought this back in February when it was on sale but haven't played it yet...

I have so many Wii games that I have but haven't played yet. And I know I'll just buy more this Winter.

NMH2 was brilliant. I got a lot of laughs out of it. It's messed up but hilarious at the same time. I can't get enough of it and would kill for NMH3.

I still haven't bought it yet. I'll probably get it sometime in the future.

simon_s (guest) 13.11.2010#5

At expo rsg were selling it for 15 quid! I didn't get anytho

You have to play this game and finish it before you like/dislike it. Trust me! Smilie

Got it for $30 thanks to a sale at Toys R Us around when the game launched. Still haven't played it since it has to wait for it's turn since I have a lot of other games to finish that got bought in 2009...

Bought it yesterday for only 20 euros at Amazon . Smilie I'll have to wait one week or two till it's ready but that's fine since I still have NSMBW to play.

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