No More Heroes is more punk than the Pistols

It's decadently violent

In No More Heroes you kill a lot of people. That’s about it. But the game recognises that that’s about all it needs to be and shamelessly revels in the carnage rather than adding too much else to the mix. Suda51 could have pandered to the idea that modern games have to be complex to be worthwhile but much like Travis, he seems to have taken an attitude of “Why bother complicating things when the killing is so much fun?” He knows that when a game gives you a beam katana to play with, you’re going to want to use it. A lot. So he lets you.

On paper, No More Heroes’ gameplay could be seen as a bit one-note. While there are GTA-lite sections in between missions during which you’re free to ride Travis’ vast motorcycle around town picking up freelance side-quests in order to make more money for better weapons and clothes, the actual missions largely revolve around carving your way through legions of foot soldiers before taking on the level’s boss. So far we haven’t found anything in the way of platforming, puzzling, or any of the other bells and whistles that frequently crop up in action games, but so far, we really haven’t cared.

NMH really makes the most of its violence, using a simple control system made up of button presses and Wiimote gestures as the basis for a varied and fun collection of ways to end bad guy life. All attacks, from simple slashes to skull-crushing wrestling slams, are easy to access when you want them but very effective when used with a bit of tactical thought, making the game more about the unbridled joy of carnage than wasting time trying to pull off complicated special moves. It's fast and fluid, but always has the depth to avoid a Dynasty Warriors-style button mash. Overall, No More Heroes just gives you the tools and lets you use them, and you can use them to brilliantly satisfying effect.

Add to that some gloriously deranged power-ups which let you systematically massacre entire rooms at the touch of a button and you’ve got a game that very much knows what it is and loves being just that. At one point Travis is told flippantly that he does nothing but kill. Almost looking into the camera, he has no retort to the accusation, but much like the game, he really doesn’t seem too bothered.

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