Goichi Suda AKA Suda51 is notorious for making the most insane, immature, and yet ingenious video games in Japan. No More Heroes is no exception. Hardcore otaku Travis Touchdown lives an average life in fictional Santa Destroy until he buys a beam katana off the internet and meets the beautiful Sylvia Christel for a job that involves killing the 11th ranked assassin in the world. Travis must now defeat the world’s top ten assassins to be number one.
The United Assassin’s Association assigns Travis side jobs to earn enough to pay the entrance fee for challenging each boss. These mundane chores perfectly utilize the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to create the most enjoyable parts of the game. NMH especially demonstrates how third-party games can employ the Wii’s motion controls in combat. Though attacking and moving use standard analog controls, the player can swing the Wii Remote in an indicated direction, finishing off enemies in showers of stylish gore. This also activates a slot machine that gives Travis the chance to enter “Dark Side” mode, temporarily providing enhanced abilities like one-hit kills.
No More Heroes glories in its boss fights. Each ranked assassin has their own unique design, domain, and personality that make them all extremely memorable from a karaoke singing cowboy to a fat granny with a buster cannon. The fights themselves are extremely challenging, especially on the harder difficulties. Unfortunately, the necessity of motion controls will exhaust most players after long stretches of time, making these battles more frustrating than fun.
Like in Suda51′s previous game, Killer7, NMH is colorfully cell-shaded which works very well with the limited graphics capabilities of the Wii. Composer Masafumi Takada provides a kickass, mostly electronica and rock soundtrack, giving each boss fight its own unique tune. The game also utilizes the speaker in the Wii Remote, allowing the player to listen to Sylvia give a (de)motivational speech to Travis before a boss room.
Despite some shortcomings like Santa Destroy’s limited exploration options, No More Heroes caters to the hardcore gamer, providing an experience that makes the Wii more than just a console for playing Mario titles.