Between carrying out the different assassinations, Travis is free to explore the GTA-styled city, earning the entrance fees he needs for his next fights. Look around and you’ll find a jagged-edged world and a framerate which favours hovering around the twenties once you hit high speeds on Travis’ bike, but the minor technical faults will be picked on by only the most joyless of non-gamers. No More Heroes makes no attempt to ape reality, and instead embraces all the things only a game can do, constantly using and tossing away new ideas as if innovation were cheap.
Never before have we played a game that felt so completely in love with being a game - text is rendered in an eighties pixellated font, your map’s a sloppy digital display, the whole HUD ripped from Grand Theft Auto without mercy or apology; the ten best assassins table is the high score chart from a 1984 coin-op and the pause menu is like a scene from Tron. Need money? Smash open a chest. Need to save? Head towards the big flashing ‘S’ icon. Where to go? Follow the giant exclamation mark. Where else could you slice through an army, pause the action and swing your remote to tear a man through his center? Where else could a click of the B button incapacitate your foes ready for a pro wrestling move? Where else could you pull off a horrifically violent fatality with an eBayed lightsaber?
No More Heroes is always true to its own perverse logic - always proud to be a videogame, always stealing liberally from the best of other genres, always loud and obnoxious. The mishmash of visual styles, music and the world’s most flamboyant dialogue has no comparison to anything else; it’s impossible to put the game in a box, except to say that it is unquestionably, undeniably, unequivocally No More Heroes, and you have never played anything like this before.
You’ve already showed your friends Super Mario Galaxy. It gave you the same feeling as when you saw Ridge Racer on the PSOne, or Super Mario 64 on N64, or Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast - games that you could stick on your TV and say “look - this is a brilliant, brilliant game.” Well, No More Heroes is another game like that; something that will awe people.