No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is the sequel to a game no one expected to see (even the original joked it would never happen) is finally here and it is a non-stop over the top celebration of what it is to be a game. No other game in recent memory has just enjoyed its own style and humor more than No More Heroes. How does it do this? Just how crazy do things get? How about a dozen or so cheerleaders flying into space, combining a huge mech and smashing down in a city for a Godzilla style smack down? That’s just the beginning of the insanity. This is not your average Wii game. Over the top violence and foul language is used to an almost Tarantino level. You better be in it to win it, you’ve got 50 other assassinations to get through and you’ve gotta be number one!
The game takes place 3 years after the actions of the first and gets right into swing of things with another crazy assassination. When presented with just what happened or where Travis has been since his actions in the first game a character says “Some people are playing the game from the sequel and don’t care about continuity”. Basically, for those that never played the first (SHAME ON YOU!) the game stars Travis Touchdown an undersexed Otaku who buys a beam katana online and does what everyone would do when given a lightsaber…. become an assassin, killing to become the best in the bizz of course. This sets up the actions of the first game and was pretty much Travis’ sole reason for risking his neck. Well, that and a fine piece of ass know as Sylvia, the head of the organization that sets up Travis’ assassination targets who makes up one of the many returning characters from the first game. Slyvia offers up her booty and taunts Travis with her Yoga master status as incentive for the crownless king to climb back up to the top of the ranks. Travis soon has a lot more to deal with as his first victim warns that there will be repercussions for his actions as a plan has been brewing to make Travis pay for the lives he has taken. Travis’s best buddy is then shown being executed by a group of local thugs hired to deal a blow to Travis. This sets in motion actions Travis deems as “no longer a battle but a muthaf***ing war!!”.
This is about as serious as the story ever gets as soon there after you care little about Travis’ quest for revenge and more about continuing to play to see the game try and top itself with insane action scenes from moment to moment. As I said before the game celebrates its status as a crazy action game more so than even Bayonetta. From 2-D minigames (including: steak frying, outerspace garbage collecting, scorpion exterminator to sewage pipe layer) to earn money to purchase everything from new beam katanas, to new duds, to strength and health upgrades at the various shops stretched across the new and improved Santa Destroy. New and improved because the clunky over world and barren city of the first game are done away with, replaced with a easy to navigate menu system that allows you to bounce from place to place within the city in an instant. This is just one of the numerous improvements that Suda 51 and his team seemed to take to heart as criticism from first game. Also much improved is frame-rate and the combat system, both have been tweaked to keep you engrossed in the action and it does a great job at evoking the games sense of style. The game overall is just a completely better experience from start to finish than the first game.
The action is broken up in several places by the introduction of two new playable characters who return from the first game as well. Shinobu Jacobs an African American Ninja who slices up dudes while wearing a dress that makes her appear to have just skipped out on Ballet school. As well as, Henry who claims to be Travis’ older brother. Both return in brief stages to break up the action a bit but don’t stay long enough to leave you wanting for Travis’ capable hands.
Another area where No More Heroes dishes out a helping of its style is in its crazy boss battles which can range to literally anything. For the before mentioned Cheerleader mech to a Cult leading DJ who attacks Travis with “His Hoes” to a small lolita girl with twin scythes and a 50 cal sniper rifle! Anything can happen in the world of Santa Destroy. For the most part these battles are imaginative and really help you enjoy the events that are unfolding before you. There are a few times when unforeseen issues such as the games camera issues can lead to deaths. It seems for all the steps in the right direction the sequel has made the old 3D action game enemy; the camera, is still present. There are numerous times when the game will trap you starring at a foot level view of the action while Travis is shot to ribbons by enemies in one of many cheap deaths you will be forced to endure through your play through.
I wish I could say that the camera issues didn’t distract from the overall experience but I’d be lying. There was many a time through the game where the camera would get pinned and I’d get cheap shotted to death by a large group of enemies or a bosses 1 hit kill move. Towards the end some of the boss tactics can get downright “NES cheap” from unblockable moves to multiple form final bosses it can wear on your nerves. Though if you can soldier through it all you will see that No More Heroes 2 is simply a game that is not to be missed by Wii owners.
Developer:Grasshopper Manufacture / Marvelous Entertainment
Genre: 3D Action-Adventure
Length: 7 to 10 hours it is possible to speed right through the game as it doesn’t stop you from fighting one boss to the next.
Flaws: Camera issues, cheap ass deaths
Get it for the: Style, there is no other game on the market that is like No More Heroes 2 and it is an enjoyable although short ride.