No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a Direct sequel to the Original No More Heroes released exclusively for the Wii for back in 2007 for Japan and 2008 for Western Audiences. While the Pal version of the game was censored, the original featured massive amounts of stylized violence, gore, foul language and sexual references. While the version New Zealand customers received still maintained most of the games attitude and charm, it seemed a little lack luster to the uber-violent American and Japanese versions. The game was an outcast in the market. Amongst a sea of generic, personality-less mini game collections No More Heroes was an Indy Gem with its unique take on everything from Punk, Anime, Sci Fi and Bogan culture. Now No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has hit our shelves, Unchanged and Uncensored, but should you rip out your Beam Katana for another Try?
The Story kicks off a few years After the events of the First game. While it doesn't focus too heavily on the events of the first, it can be a little to much for new comers, with some jokes and appearances of old characters going straight over your head. Travis Touchdown (the main protagonist) is out for Revenge for the murder of his friend Bishop. Bishop was in fact little more than a forgettable NPC from the first game, and starting the game off on the concept of revenge over someone most wouldn't know or remember seems a little drab. Travis now stands at the lowly rank of 51 (a reference to the games creator Suda51) and must battle his way to the top of the Assassination rankings once again. The story has some plot twists you would never have seen coming but gets a little inconsistent at times, but has a nice pace to keep things smooth enough to put up with. Played through a series of in-game cut-scenes and flashbacks the story serves enough drive to get you through the game, but lacks enough depth and excitement to be memorable. The Characters are really where the story shines though, with one hilarious or gruesome encounter after another keeping it all fresh and interesting. The boss characters are especially intriguing, running the gambit from a Scottish Cult-leading beat-boxer to a Senile Russian Astronaut. The lead characters also raise some interesting developments, most notably Travis, as the player will become more and more involved in the twisted moral decisions he will have to make by the end of the Ranking challenge. The Story has a snappy but satisfactory ending that while may not be entirely conclusive, creates enough punch to feel like it was all worth it. While not its strongest point, NMH2's story is an important, albeit inconsistent part of the games experience and effect.
Gameplay and Design:
NMH2's combat plays much the same way as the original games, and like many standard beat 'em ups. Standard combo's and guard breakers are assigned to the A and B button on the wiimote, with motion sensitive actions being saved for the systems unique Death slashes, Lucha-libre style back drops and various Quick time events. While not being the greatest showcase of the motion sensors capabilities, the combat manages to strike a good balance without it feeling tacky or unnecessary, and also ensuring that you don't just sit there mindlessly mashing buttons for hours on end. One major improvement on the first games combat system is the ability to switch out What beam Katana uses during the midst of any fight, adding a new level of flexibility and strategy to the combat. Based on your choice of Weapon and play style the combat can be one of many experiences. While some fights can be beautifully structured and fun, others can be irritating and chunky. The camera occasionally pans to an awkward angle to try and get a good view of Travis' take-downs, leaving you wide open to unseen attacks, leaving you feeling a little annoyed. The normal fight takes place between you and a group of generic henchmen. While these fights are indeed the most common part of the game, it is also the most frustrating. These can usually be forgiven however due to the Epic boss battles. These were a major highlight in the first game and nothing has changed here. These fights deliver intense and fun gaming sessions and give enough room for experimentation, while not being too easy. Figuring out each boss' attacks and weaknesses is a real blast, and they'll become a source of motivation for you to continue the game as the bosses get stronger, faster and crazier as you progress the game play.There are some very odd level design choices in this game that are definitely going to make some people angry. Enemy spawns can seem absolutely endless, and you'll find yourself walking down a seemingly infinite hallway battling generic goons for what will feel like hours. While this was obviously an intentional design choice, its unconventional form can sometimes appear unpolished or foolish, especially after you've killed the same group of thugs twenty times in a row. Save points are usually far and few between, removing some flexibility and forcing you to play long game sessions. Be prepared to sit down for a good half hour and never see a save point, even after multiple advancements in a stage. While the combat can get a little repetitive, slicing bad guys in half simply never gets boring, and delivers satisfying moments into the combat from start to Finish. This is further remedied by the random chance to enter a sort of hyper mode, allowing Travis to perform super fast attacks, fire balls of energy, Transform into a tiger, or simply explode, killing many enemies, keeping the combat from becoming too predictable or samey. While in the original game only Travis was playable, there are now 2 more playable characters. While the time they are available for play is rather short, both are executed well and provide a familiar yet individual approach to the combat. While combat is indeed the main focus in the game, its is by no means the only thing to do. Classic arcade style mini-games assigned the purpose of being used to earn in game cash deliver authentic and usually convincing old school style fun. Genres such as puzzle, classic racing and action games are all executed well and provide a nice distraction at least from the normal hack and slash combat. Whats even more impressive is the series of one-off events that are woven into the games main missions. You'll drive a motor cycle, pilot a giant mech, play with your pet cat and even go commando Solid Snake style for some stealth style action. These events are usually highly unexpected, and while being thrown into a new control method or button input completely out of the blue can be a little intimidating, it offers a great amount of variety and is a rare trait that is not seen too often in games these days. While the main engine seems a little hit and miss, the sheer variety and chaos of gameplay ensures that NMH2's gameplay delivers an unique experience that few games could rival. While the game doesnt offer much of a challenge on the standard difficuilty setting, the harder setting (unlocked after beating the game) is absolutely brutal, and will test you if you consider to try your skills a second time. Take note that no multi-player mode is present, NMH2 is strictly a solo experience.
The Visual presentation in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is unique and usually attractive. The cell shaded characters and streets look nice with bright colors and clever designs. While it makes good use of the systems abilities with some impressive use of shading, effects and structures, the game will often suffer for it. Performance issues are a significant problem, with severe dips in frame rates taking place in some of the heavier fight scenes, and even taking effect in the games cut-scenes, causing them to play out like chuggy slide shows. Animations seem a little stiff with mouths moving out of sync and executions of enemies clipping through walls, but the visual presentation remains consistent and stylized throughout. The Character designs are especially impressive. You'll wonder how anyone could have even thought up some of the obscure, insane models that appear in this game. Wether its a devilishly cute Gothic loli with a sniper rifle or an American football jock with shoulder pads the size of a car, the character designs remain a constant source of both humor and stunning use of flare and attitude. The sound effects in the game are a little hit and miss. While the crackling static of your beam katana and the satisfying screams of agony from your disemboweled opponents are a good strong point, you'll hear the generic threats and yells of the generic bad guy so many times its enough to drive you mad. Voice acting is done well, giving great performances delivering real emotion at times, and also executing accents perfectly over and over again. The music is absolutely amazing. Rivaled on the Wii only by 2009's MadWorld, NMH2 provides an OST filled with great tracks varying from Industrial grunge to super cute J-pop and scratchy electro-rock. You'll find yourself bobbing your head to the catchy tracks and enjoying the various songs as you carve up wave after wave of bad guy to a fun techno song. The music is a definite highlight and crucial aspect of what makes No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle a unique, memorable and self-righteous experience.
Clocking in at around 10 hours the game Doesn't take long to beat. With limited replay value of a harder difficulty setting and "Death match" mode you're not getting a lot of value for you money. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a game that will appeal to very few people. Many will find its off-beat style and references to Otaku and pop culture to be vulgar or strange. But this game is so full of personality, flare, attitude and downright bad-ass vibes, there is simply nothing else like it on the market. You will cringe at the violence and you will laugh at the sexy and dark humor. If you are looking for a game that will give you decent value for your money and provide a polished, conventional experience, I cannot recommend you No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. However, if you are willing to have a go at a game that has an Anime-obsessed Nerd as the main protagonist, and gives an individual, stylized and unconventional experience, Then you Can't go wrong with NMH2. It simply oozes originality and passion. There is nothing else like it on the Wii, and While it may not be the most polished or conventionally effective game, it is a memorable experience and an amazing piece of software. By the end of this game, you will be an expert in Human Bisection.
Damn I'm Tired...
Written by ChatterboxZombie.