|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. 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matt Cabral
October 11, 2007 - Back in 2005, the Nintendo GameCube received a creative kick in the polygons with the release of Killer 7. The very mature, super-stylized, and ultra-violent title, about an assassin with multiple personalities and a hunger for his victim's blood, didn't exactly mesh alongside its Nintendo neighbors, Mario and Link. In addition to its decidedly un-family friendly presentation, it was criticized for an intuitive, but unconventional on-rails control scheme. Still, despite Killer 7's alienating traits it did enjoy critical and cult success due mostly to its amazing visual style, bizarre storytelling, and eventual access to a broader, more accepting audience on the PS2.
Developer Grasshopper Manufacture-led by the twisted mind of CEO, Suda 51-has returned to shake things up again with No More Heroes. Sporting a similarly inspired visual approach as Killer 7-think Okami meets Jet Set Radio meets Viewtiful Joe-Suda 51's latest effort will exclusively-and ironically-bring its mature themes to Nintendo's newest fun-for-the-whole-family console. This, of course, is fantastic news for serious gamers searching for a cure to the Wii's mini-game affliction. But those Wii Sport-playing senior citizens that keep popping up in Nintendo's casual-gamer focused marketing campaign may want to sit this one out; No More Heroes is a violent, weird, mind-blowing ride-hold on!
The funky visuals are supported by equally bizarro environments and characters; one boss baddie, dubbed Destroyman, actually dons a lethal beam-shooting cod piece. Players will assume the role of Travis Touchdown, a spiky haired, anime-loving dude who sports some slick, yellow-lensed shades that'd make Bono envious. Travis is a low-level hitman living in the fictional town of Santa Destroy, California. He's looking to rise up the hired-killer ranks by taking out the top 10 assassins; he starts the game as number 11. Selecting missions in any order you like in an open-ended world-which can be navigated on Travis' moped-like ride-you'll gradually encounter and hopefully take out the higher ranking killers. This being a Suda 51 production, you can expect the ensuing battles to be surreal mixtures of nut-job personalities, campy-in-a-good-way dialogueand way-over-the-top violence-fueled action.
In fact, utilizing the Wii's motion-sensing tech, the action will take the driver's seat on this wicked ride. Travis' choice weapon-of-stylized-destruction is a plasma-beam katana, sort of a low-tech lightsaber that looks a bit like a fluorescent tube light bulb. Players will rapidly shake the Wii-mote to power up the blade right before unleashing a devastating flurry of attacks. Skilled Wii-mote wielders will even be able to deflect bullets-and groin-based projectile attacks-with the weapon. In an interesting use of the Wii-mote, attacks will hit your opponent based on the height of the peripheral; raise it high to slash at the face and chest, but if blocked, quickly lower it for some below-the-belt damage. In addition to the sword-swinging, quick-reflexed gamers will pull off some old school wrestling moves by following on-screen prompts. An action-packed and sweat-breaking boss fight might unfold with Travis deflecting bullets from afar, before moving in for some serious Wii-mote-waving swordplay, and then finally putting the smackdown on his foe with a neck-breaking finisher.
No More Heroes, while not for all Wii owners-sorry, grandma-is definitely one of the most anticipated titles on the platform. Its brilliant blend of stylized visuals, quirky characters and inventive, immersive gameplay-not to mention Grasshopper's Killer 7 pedigree-should appeal to more seasoned gamers as well as anyone beginning to tire of the Wii's endless mini-game line-up.
CCC Freelance Writer