|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Grasshoper||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 26, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
It seems like only yesterday when Travis Touchdown made his first appearance on the Wii in the original No More Heroes (NMH). It was this game that helped to show that the Wii didn't have to be used only for family-friendly titles; it could instead also sport titles chock-full of violence, blood, gore, vulgarity, and underdressed, anatomically disproportioned characters. The original NMH still had its fair share of problems but there's no denying that it had a style all its own, helping it to find a cult following and a decent amount of praise from critics. Luckily, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (NMH2) does much to improve upon the original, making the sequel a much more enjoyable gameplay experience throughout.
NMH 2 picks up three years after Travis Touchdown successfully slaughtered his way to the top, becoming the number one ranked United Assassins Association (UAA) assassin. Travis has seemingly walked away from the spotlight, leaving the world of assassination and killing behind. What actually transpired following the first title is left up to the player's imagination. In an early comical scene Travis and Sylvia are discussing what has transpired, eventually stating that it didn't matter and telling the story would only bore the player. Talk about breaking the fourth wall. Nonetheless, after Travis' best friend is killed he must once again climb the ranks of the UAA in order to confront his friend's killer, who sits perched atop the current list of assassins.
Last time around this was an easier task, needing only to slice through the top ten assassins that stood in his way of becoming number one. However, this time Travis starts off ranked 51, one of the many nice nods to series creator Suda 51 included in the game, and must carve his way to his friend's murderer. Not to worry though, you won't actually have to go through all fifty one assassins, more like fifteen, due to some humorous twists during your adventure.
The first of these artificial jumps through the assassin ranks comes in the form of one of the first few foes you'll face, Charlie McDonald. He's your stereotypical football jock character, complete with a half-naked personal cheerleading squad. At the beginning of the battle Charlie and his cheerleaders all rocket into space, forming into a massive killer robot. Fortunately, Travis also has a giant robot to pilot, stating that he always knew something like this would happen. What follows is an excellent Godzilla style battle, which when victorious, increases Travis' rank to twenty five because all of the cheerleaders were also ranked. Most of the ranking battles found throughout NMH2 are equally odd, hilarious, and fun to play through ranging from an astronaut who can call down massive laser fire from an orbiting satellite to a girl with a double bladed-flute beam katana who also happens to be Travis' number one obsessed fan.
While this part of the game is pretty similar to what was found in the original NMH, just about everything else has changed for the better. Two of the most common complaints about the first NMH were that you had to earn tons of cash to be able to take on your next ranking battle and that to earn this cash you had to take on the same few, not very fun minigames countless times. First off, you will no longer need to pay a single dollar to enter these fights, allowing you to progress through the game as quickly or slowly as you like. Secondly, the minigames have been completely revamped and now feel like a collection of tiny 8 bit games made available to you at any time once unlocked.
The minigames are a real blast to play this time around, making you feel as though you actually want to participate in them rather than having to in order to make it through the game. Some examples of my favorites include a game that has Travis tooling around a series of three-quarter view rooms, sucking various roaming bugs into a vacuum cleaner, and another that has him frying steaks the perfect amount of time in order to keep a restaurant's customers happy. There are eight in all, one of which isn't 8 bit-styled, and most have four levels apiece, so there is actually quite a bit of fun to be had with this optional part of the game. The cash you earn from participating in these entertaining experiences can also be used to purchase new cloths, accessories, beam katanas, and even food for your cat Jeane, who also has a series of replayable minigames attributed to helping her to lose her excess weight.