When Konami’s No More Heroes debuted on the Wii in 2008, I regretted never getting the chance to play it. The accolades it received from critics and fellow gamers attracted me to it, but alas, it never graced my fair Nintendo system. Lo and behold, here I am three years later with an updated version of the game on the PlayStation 3, excited and ready to slice and dice an onslaught of anime-inspired enemies.
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is a faux-sandbox game with classic NES button mashers like Double Dragon at its heart. I say faux-sandbox because, while you have the ability to navigate throughout the city, most buildings are nothing more than facades that you cannot interact with. The game feels more like a poor man’s Devil May Cry as you move the protagonist, Travis Touchdown, through the streets of Santa Destroy wielding a lightsaber-like “Beam Katana.” Travis has to climb the ranks of the top ten assassins to become number one, and to do so, he must complete many tasks in order to pay the entry fee for the battles that will take him there. Unfortunately, this is where the game lost me.
The attractive and bloody nature, design and fun story is instantly clouded the moment you pick up the controller; simple tasks, like moving Travis or – God help me – driving his motorcycle, are frustratingly difficult. Turning the bike, which, other than running is your only source of transportation around Santa
Destroy, is something you might as well try blindfolded. That, coupled with some very poor collision detection, makes this game downright maddening. As if to add insult to injury, the game also suffers from an awful refresh rate, causing choppy gameplay during action sequences on top of the other flaws.
So what did I like about the game? The retro-gaming notification system is adorable amidst the guts and gore, with 8-bit icons and music accenting the relentlessly looping soundtrack of the game. The combos and kill sequences are fun, albeit repetitive and easy, leaving the story as really the only winner here. Travis is forced to collect coconuts, kill owners of upstart pizza joints, mow lawns and signal planes in order to pay the entry fees to the battles. You wield an unforgiving weapon but are forced to complete these uninspired, mundane and boring tasks just to kill the next assassin. If it weren’t for the clever story, I don’t think I would have played the game for more than an hour.
I think my expectations for this game may have been lofty, but that doesn’t excuse the complete lack of playability. This game suffers from a focus far too heavy on story and it shows. Though I didn’t have the opportunity to play this with PlayStation Move controls, I can’t fathom how that wouldn’t make things much worse.
Rating: Two out of Five Pies
(a word about our ratings)
I need to take a shit to save in game? Really? How ironic. Follow @Erock88 on Twitter. No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise, from Konami, is available for the PlayStation 3.