Video Game Review: No More Heroes


Jake Dubusker ’15
For those of you who are unaware, Suda51 is a somewhat well-known Japanese game developer, 51 meaning he was the 51st attempt in a top-secret cloning experiment to create the mother of all game developers, the previous 50 Sudas having failed to absorb the required amount of liquid pretentiousness.  His games are mainly cult classics, very notably Killer7, which I really liked, but that’s for another week. No More Heroes for the Wii is one of his more popular titles.
At its core, it’s a game about the character Travis Touchdown who buys a lightsaber on an Internet auction and decides to use it to become the best assassin in the entire world. On his off-time between assassination matches he’s a generally unlikable otaku who gets strung along by women, collects anime posters and figures, and plays with his cat.  As far as the game mechanics go it appears at first glance to be open world, but this is an illusion, it’s essentially linear.  The game progresses by putting you through long levels that culminate in a boss fight against a ranked assassin, then once you win you need to collect enough money to pay admission to the next ranked mission. You earn this money by taking a low-paying job like litter picking or coconut collecting.
After every one of these jobs your employer sets you up with a small-time assassination job for more money, though admittedly they’re pretty insignificant. A large percentage of them are just going into the same exact parking garage to kill the same men, only difference being that every consecutive run you’ll have a frustratingly lower amount of time to kill the designated target among the ever-larger crowd of same-faced gunmen in suits. Still, it shouldn’t take long to accumulate the funds to enter the next ranked mission. The lightsaber fighting is very fun as it should be since it makes up 90% of the game. After every kill, Travis has a random chance to shout out the name of one of his favorite desserts and gain superpowers to rampage with around the room. I find this adds to the fun and quirky feel of the game, but I have to acknowledge that adding random chance to combat throws all notion of strategy out the top-floor window of the Empire State Building.
The difficulty ramps up steadily for the most part but it’s sometimes inconsistent, the 3rd boss is very difficult compared to how early in the game it’s in, while the very next boss is jarringly easy by comparison. The tough boss fights do however prepare you for the upcoming difficulty ramping. Overall, No More Heroes is a great game that captures the pseudo-anarchic nonsensical tone that has made Suda51 as well-known as he is, and even with all its flaws you’ll never experience anything else quite like it.