The first thing you’ll notice after you start up No More Heroes is that Grasshopper's assassin action game is original and unique to itself. You might have played games like this before in little snip it’s here and there, although as one solid game, you’ve never played one like No More Heroes.

No More Heroes comes to Wii owners at the perfect time breaking up a bleak string of kid games and updated franchises. There are good games on the Wii, but nothing for the "M"ature gamer who wants and a bloodbath of an action game. The developer who came up with the Gamecube exclusive Killer 7, brings a lot of those gameplay elements from that title into No More Heroes.

You might have heard whispers of the name Suda 51, Goichi Suda who is the creative mind behind these two original games. Suda defiantly has his own approach to gaming combining cell-shaded artistic graphics with crazy storylines and over the top action. Suda’s games are very ambitious and don’t always catch on with the mainstream and it seems like No More Heroes won’t be changing that stigma. Even though No More Heroes has all the elements to make a great game, a good number of gamers aren’t going last too long to find it.

No More Heroes box art cover-boy is none other than the Tyler Durden inspired, Travis Touchdown. Travis is the focuses of No More Heroes as you work you’re way up the UAA (United Assassin Association) to become the number one assassin in the world. Travis might have tricked into this cult of killing, but now that he is in and ranked on the charts he wants to be the best in the world. Travis might be motivated by other things then the fame and association that comes along with being the number one killer in the world, his living conditions could be improved, he wants a little bit of female tale and what else is he going to do with his beam katana he won in an internet auction.

Want to know more about Travis? He is an interesting fellow, a typical anime, wrestling obsessed kid living by shoestrings in a motel in Santa Destroy, California. Travis is a natural in combat from all his time spent playing videogames, so using the beam katana in battle isn’t an issue. Travis is doesn’t have a lot of cash living like a college student in a action figure decorated motel room, so making cash is a good thing to help Travis keep his lifestyle. Besides his new job of assassinating targets, Travis will have to hop on his beast of a motorcycle, the Schpel Tiger and look for part-time work around Santa Destroy. That’s Travis in a nutshell, to find out more, all you need to do is play the game and you’ll start to feel like you’ve known a few people in your life like Travis, minus the killing of course.

The “Beam Katana” I keep referring to is basically a half-assed lightsaber in appearance that seems to get the job done quite effectively despite looking like a light bulb attached to curtain rod. Travis has the opportunity to upgrade from the “Bloody Berry”, his first Katana during his travels. Two other Katana’s you’ll get to whack away with is the “Tsubaki” a custom made Beam Katana from Doctor Naomi and the “Mk-II” version that gives five times the pleasure. The Katana is the main weapon used in No More Heroes besides your fists Travis's wrestling skills might be considered lethal weapons.

Combat in No More Heroes works like this, run into an area, hold down the Z-Button to lock on to an enemy and press the A-button to swing. If you hold the remote up, you will perform a high attack, if it’s down, it’s a low attack. Holding down [A] causes Travis to do a charged attack, and the B-button performs melee attacks. When the battery gets weak in your Beam Katana, you will have to hold down the [1-Button] and shake the Wii-mote for it to charge up. The more power the Katana has the more effective it is in combat. Besides a few grapple moves that are performed by swinging the Wii-mote and nunchuck in a direction, No More Heroes is fairly straightforward. The targeting and fighting takes a little bit of time to get used to, but after 20minutes or so you’ll have things down pat. The combat is satisfactory in No More Heroes, it could have been a little more involved, but given the games concept the simple lightsaber idea works.

In between the assassinations you will need to earn cash so you can enter the next round of assassinations. It’s a strange concept that works well with the seductive Sylivia Cristel leading Travis on for his cash, while pulling on his lust for her. To earn cash you will have to take on odd jobs like the first one appointed gathering coconuts or mowing lawns, no joke. Once you have enough cash you can behead another top ten assassin. To make sure you’re on the top of your game you can also go to the gym and train your skills. This is all accomplished in a free-roam system with Travis walking, or riding his bike to new areas. Besides running from objective to objective there is nothing else to do in the free-roam city of Santa Destroy. No More Heroes makes you think this will be a Grand Theft Auto style world and you realize it’s just another bullet point.

What really works in No More Heroes favour more than anything else is its immature satire along with its unique style. From the menus to how Travis saves a game on the toilet, everything has its unique twist. No More Heroes is far from normal and Suda wants you remember that every step of the way. If you had to compare No More Heroes to any other media, I would have to reference Kill Bill. Both have a crazy plot, crazy woman, lots of swords, pointless bloody violence, and assassinations. I’m not sure if it was a reference point, but it would have been great to see The Bride, be added to Travis’s list to assassinate. No More Heroes is extremely tongue and cheek humour, bound in a ridiculously storyline that translates into a fun game.

The visual style is on purpose low-key which works perfectly with the Wii horsepower. I can’t image what would happen if this game had be ported over to the PS3, or Xbox 360 which it was originally slotted for. The low-resolution look of No More Heroes could only be accomplished on the Wii, and for this it’s regarded as one of the best Wii games graphically. I would agree, only in style and not the tech aspects like textures or animations. Purposely, or not, it works for No More Heroes and even though the graphics aren’t great, they are still good. The sound also gets the same rating as the visuals, at times No More Heroes innovates like using the Wiimote as a phone with the voice coming out of the speaker, and then other it over populates the game with the same-old sound effects in every scenario. The voice over work which is a focus of No More Heroes is good enough to fit the games satire, however like the graphics its not console crossing in greatness.

No More Heroes exclusively takes over the Wii being one of the only Mature rated third party game that is worth picking up besides Resident Evil. Even if you’re not sure how you’ll like the Travis and the gang, it’s worth a rental to see. The innovation spikes because of its visual style, but when you strip it No More Heroes down to its core there isn’t much there. I found No More Heroes to be a fun game experience for what it is, as for a ground-breaking action game it doesn’t quite do it. There are some moments in here, although you’re going to have to drudge around in a lot of garbage before you get to them. Before you slide on your wrestling mask and head to your store to pick this one up, I’d slide off the mask and rent it first. 

Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 02.18.08


  • Hack and Smash Your Way Through Santa Destroy, California: Unleash a lethal combination of sword slashes and wrestling moves in this fast paced third-person action game. Easy to learn, but challenging to master.
  • Roam a Sand Box Universe in Full 3D: Immerse yourself in a modern, highly stylized world. Roam the city on foot or slide around corners on your speed bike.
  • An Action Experience Unlike Any Other on Wii: Bring the pain and let your plasma-beam katana do the talking. You control the action with two Wii remote sensitive attack stances and an arsenal of close combat wrestling moves.
  • Interactive Special Attacks and Over-The-Top Finishing Moves: Complete special moves by matching your Wii remote's movements to the cues on screen. The crazier you finish off your opponent, the more cash you'll earn for your efforts.
  • Side Missions and Mini-Games: Complete side jobs for extra cash or just play them for fun. Features games like Pizza Delivery, Graffiti Blaster and Speed Bike Racing.
  • Highly Stylized Environments and Gameplay: Features environments that are both stunning and stylish. Gameplay gives a nod to the classic arcade games of the 80's, as well as the games of tomorrow.


No More Heroes

February '08