Travis Touchdown, the number one assassin in the UAA (United Assassins Association), charges up his beam-katana for another killing spree in Santa Destroy. Oh yea, this is going to be good! Prepare to have your batteries whacked, this is our review of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
Travis Touchdown’s vacation has ended, as Ubisoft brings the budging action of 'No More Heroes' back into our living rooms. In 'No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle', Travis is dragged back into the UAA for another chart climbing killing spree. It has been three years since we have seen Travis, and man, three years is too long. It feels great to jump back into Travis’s vibrant world.
It is surprising that 'No More Heroes' (NMH) hasn't had any imitators sliding on its coattails. No More Heroes is such an outstanding concept that "still" stands out as an original. It is not that the gameplay is overly original either, it is the entire package, and how it flows together merging style, substance, and action into one crazy package. Well, this is a good thing because Suda is back, and they haven't lost any of their charming mojo. Desperate Struggle is as good, if not better than the original, which is exactly what NMH fans want to hear. If you enjoyed the first adventure as Travis Touchdown, then you will love the sequel.
It is odd to referee the bathroom humour of No More Heroes as a pedigree of sorts, but it is true. No other game has really grabbed a hold of the same sense of “cool” as No More Heroes, and it is something that is missing from the world of gaming. Desperate Struggle doesn’t take it self seriously and has the most fun it can, while trying to be serious at times. The plot reminds me of a Tarantino film like 'Kill Bill', or something like Rodriquez's 'Planet Terror'. 'No More Heroes' most defiantly has that Grindhouse feel, filled with sleaze, gore, and senseless violence. Hmm, 'No More Heroes: The Movie', sure, I’d watch that.
Back in the Game
What is Desperate Struggle all about? Well, when Travis is swindled back into the UAA by a little female flirtation, and pushed over the edge when his best-friend’s head arrives at apartment, Travis seeks revenge! Who is behind this act of wrath (Se7en anyone?) well, it is the number one assassin, of course! This time the number one is a corporate entrepreneur who has runs all the establishments in Santa Destroy, California (still love that name). This is set up and its perfectly deligtful. What more could you ask for than a bloodthirsty real-estate mogul as the villain? Perfect, this should be fun.
Back in the UAA, Travis must once again climb the ranks to get to the number one assassin, there are no free passes even though he was a former number one. Uh, so much for glamour.... and wait things are worse. This time around there are 50 ranks to go through, and not 10. Thankfully, Travis doesn't really have to go through all 50 assassins, as the plot juggles things around. In total, you will only have to take out a small percentage of the 50 assassins. Phew, relieving isn't it.
To Get Ahead, Behead
As you might have expected these, other assassins consist of the freakiest freaks you have ever seen. In true NMH style, you will go head-to-head against these interesting thugs in cool themed arenas, complete with quick-witted dialog, and an ending that always sees red. Out of all the characters, some are more memorable than others, I keep them nameless, so you can experience it on your own. One of the best parts about No More Heroes is seeing whom you will be facing next.
To break up the gameplay you will get to control a few other characters for brief moments during you quest. Desperate Struggle will please fans of the original with a few familiar faces returning. However, it is not necessary to have played the first, to enjoy the second. Even the game breaks the fourth wall to tell you, the player, that no background is needed because you will probably skip it anyway. Skipping is always an option if you want to get to the action. I found some of the cut-scenes to drag on, but its nothing like ‘Metal Gear Solid 4’. Even with all the new features, and characters, the core gameplay remains... kill everything that moves! To Get ahead, Behead.
Swing Batta, Batta, Swing
The controls in Desperate Struggle have been improved with more offensive attacks to use. Travis doesn’t have to rely on his beam-katana at all times, even though it is his most efficient weapon. You can no punch and kick along with the slashing and body-slamming (Travis is obsessed with Wrestling). Having all these moves at your disposal is great and you will likely come to play like a deadly Jedi Lucha-Libre, with a knockout punch.
Travis other new ability is a bloodlust skill that allows him to embrace the rage of a fire-breathing tiger! YES, A FREAKIN' FIRE-BREATHING TIGER! When the bloodlust is activate Travis can easily clear a room with his super speed and strength, he can even transform into a fear inspiring tiger to devour his enemies. Travis is one crazy character with a lot of talent, and skill. Like 'Bayonetta', which I recently reviewed, we have to get some of these "next-gen" characters in versus match-up. I would love to see Travis vs. Bayonetta any day.
A Lil' Pixelated Love
On your down time you can still do odd jobs for money in NHM2. The pointless driving around on your badass motorcycle has been axed for a streamlined overhead menu system-- think ‘Godfather II’ Don's View. From this menu you can select which activity you want to do and instantaneity start it. This includes everything from odd jobs to main story-line events.
The side-jobs bring Travis into a 2D retro 8-bit world to complete some weird objectives like gathering coconuts, exterminating bugs, or aligning pipes. Anyone up for some pixelated love? This ‘old school’ approach works fine, but it is not something that was appealing to me. Since I am a child of the 80s, I have the originals 'No More Heroes' is paying homage too, and it's not as good as the real deal. I would have liked more 3D mini-game in the same style as the main game. I can see why they added the 2D feel, but you don’t always have to play “Look at me, I’m Retro" to be cool.
Travis Touchdown becomes the embodiment of wrath in 'No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle'. Returning to its ultra-stylized roots Desperate Struggle streamlines the navigation, improves the combat, and brings in another round of sweet Tarantino-esq flavoured action. No More Heroes stands on a podium all its own, and is one of the best “M” rated games you will find on the Wii. The only blemishes in Desperate Struggle is its struggle to use 2D 8-Bit mini-games, and its underdeveloped graphics, which are way too blurry. Aside a few minor issues, Desperate Struggle is one wild ride that will lock you down in its oddball world. It has been a while since my Wii has stayed on this long, thank you Ubi, No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle rocks!
Similar Games: No More Heroes (7.9)