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No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle review

Gaming's grungiest assassin slashes his way back to the top

Despite being a prick to pretty much everyone he meets, Travis manages to inspire a couple of former rivals to fight on his behalf: Shinobu Jacobs, a teen ninja whose life Travis spared in the first game (after cutting off her arm), and Travis’s twin brother Henry. Each one takes over at certain points in the story, and each controls a little differently from Travis. Henry can dash and shoot projectiles with his sword, for example, while Shinobu is the only character with the ability to jump.

Unfortunately, the developers thought the best way to make use of this ability – which is fairly imprecise and clumsy, thanks to the Wii controls – was to throw in a couple of frustrating jumping puzzles that serve no real purpose other than to slow down the game and make chunks of Shinobu’s stages excruciating. These were some of the few dark spots in an otherwise brilliant game, and they made us dread ever playing as Shinobu again, even if her shower save sequences are sexier than Travis’s habit of taking on-camera dumps.

Above: Something Shinobu never does

Above: Something Travis never does

It’s also worth noting that not all the missions feature hack-and-slash levels; some also have Travis cruising around at high speeds on his futuristic Schpieltiger motorcycle, which controls exactly as it did in the first game’s free-roaming segments.

Finally, if you’re one of those Wii owners who’s decided that all this motion-wiggle crap is not for you, NMH2 also includes the option to play with a Classic controller. This actually works pretty well with the game’s unusual style, even though you’ll lose the rare thrill of madly twirling the remote to get the upper hand in a weapon lock, or of shaking the thing whenever Travis needs to recharge one of his blades.

Whichever control style you pick, though, the end result is always the same: lots and lots of gruesome dismemberments and arterial spray.

Next page: Everything that isn’t combat-related

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A bizarre, wonderfully trashy sequel, No More Heroes 2 adds a ton of cool new activities and boss fights without messing too much with what worked the first time. It wears thin toward the end, but until then it’s one of the most brilliant experiences the Wii has to offer.

US censor ratingMature
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Alternative namesNo More Heroes 2, No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle
Release date26 January 2010 (US), (UK)


After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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