‘No More Heroes’ is a stylish, trailblazing Nintendo abomination

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

When I recently got a hold of a working Nintendo Wii during winter break, I immediately ordered two weird Wii games that have been in the back of my mind for quite-literally decades. 

The first was SEGA’s 2008 ultra-violent comic brawler “MadWorld” that was the debut game of a little developer by the name of Platinum Games, the edgy-teenager scapegoat of bragging to friends about how “Nintendo has REAL games now” to excuse his mom’s “Just Dance: Disney Party” and Wii Fitness copies. 

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The other game, a 2007 title that also sported an M-rating for the Wii, a surprisingly substantial category, was Suda51’s bizarre abomination “No More Heroes.”

“No More Heroes” follows the spiritual journey of 27-year-old otaku and professional assassin Travis Touchdown, who’s living in a run-down motel room filled with his anime figures and pet cat, Jeane. With his goal of being the best assassin in town, he must take down the top-10 assassins in the city in order to be the very best, like no one ever was. 

His answering machine is loaded with past-due DVD porno rental warnings and mysterious voicemails from his handler Silvia Christel from the United Assassins Association informing him of his next target. 

Truthfully, “No More Heroes” is a beautiful work of irony. The world around Travis is cell-shaded and brightly colored with larger-than-life personalities all around you, yet the game hammers home an atmosphere of apathy and disillusionment with life in your 20s, with the monotonous dread of minimum wage work being a core theme in a game where you stab cowboys and grandmas with a laser sword. 

The beam sword, as mentioned, is Travis’ primary weapon that he won at an eBay auction, which comes as the main Wii remote motion control mechanic as you can raise and lower the controller for high and low attack combinations, along with flinging the num-chuk to execute special moves you can acquire throughout the 7-8 hour story. 

Combat is surprisingly responsive for such an early Wii title, strategically avoiding pin-point aiming with the controller for mostly motion-based special moves that are not tied directly to the attack button and move controls. Nonetheless, the sword is fast and brutal with stylish slow-mo and freeze-frame cuts in between kills that rival “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance” for best arcade-like sword combat. Unlike most Wii games, where the motion-controls subtly, or abruptly, take you out of the experience, “No More Heroes” has aged incredibly well with its tight control system. 

“No More Heroes” is a rare instance of style matching substance, with a bizarre mix of genres and storytelling that makes it a truly legendary game that’s cult following 15 years later is completely justified. 

“No More Heroes” is available on Wii and Nintendo Switch. 

 

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