No More Heroes is one of the most innovative Wii games that didn’t receive the mainstream recognition it deserved. Like so many quirky, distinctly Japanese, games from legendary producer Suda51, No More Heroes developed a cult following in the West, but was largely overshadowed by the big guns from Nintendo.
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is a remake of the classic Wii game, albeit a confusing one. It was originally released on both PS3 and Xbox 360 in Japan well over a year ago with a HD overhaul, but the Australian (and Western) remake is different again. Heroes’ Paradise is exclusive to PlayStation 3 in Pal territories and includes Move support, as well as a high definition makeover.
What No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise Got Right
No More Heroes Uncut – The Wii version was controversially censored in Australia and the UK back in 2007, leaving us with a somewhat underwhelming experience. Fortunately, four years later the 100% uncut version of No More Heroes has been released on our shores. No More Heroes follows the intricate story of Travis Touchdown, a lone hitman with a badass beam katana as he rises through the ranks of the world’s top 10 assassins. It’s hilariously gruesome; blood splatters the screen, not in a sick bastard kind of way, but as you would expect from a cool, stylistic hitman. Bodies are meant to be sliced in half in the comic-inspired world, with the unmistakable sound of arterial blood and artistic severed limbs covering the screen. This is No More Heroes as it was meant to be played.
Move Control – The Move control is largely based on that of the Wii, but is a much more effective thanks to the improved accuracy (the Wii game was released prior to MotionPlus). The PS Move button handles attacks, meaning you don’t have to flail around wildly to take down a horde of enemies. Instead, the position of the Move Wand will determine Travis’s choice of attack. Holding it pointing towards the sky when the player presses the action button will use a high attack, perfect for blocking low defence, and vice versa pointing towards the ground. When an opponent is ready to be sent to an early grave, a massive arrow will appear amidst the action, requiring the Wand to be swiftly moved in that direction to execute the finishing blow.
The Dualshock controller – While Move is great, motion control isn’t for everybody and becomes tiring after a long session of play – it’ll also be responsible for many a broken lamp. The standard dualshock controls work well, and are almost just as innovative. The control sticks are used in place of the motion, giving you the same range of attacks and unique gameplay mechanics. Instead of spinning the Move controller in a circle and pushing it to the direction of the on-screen arrow, you move the right control stick in the same patterns. Meanwhile, the left control stick handles movement and the face buttons control attacks.
The assassins – The assassins will hold your attention throughout Heroes’ Paradise and are the reason to play the game in the first place. They range from a doctor in a baseball stadium to dishonourable superheroes and Mr Sir Henry ************, which offers the best lighsaber-esqe gameplay seen on Move. Each is seemingly more insane than the last, and that’s just how we like it.
Travis in HD – The HD overhaul looks great while retaining the Suda51 style and cel-shaded comic book visuals of the Wii version. It’s not without fault, as there are some flaws with textures that didn’t make the transition as smoothly as they should have, but it’s as charming as ever with a higher resolution and fresh coat of paint.
What No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise Got Wrong
Santa Destroy & side missions are boring – The open world section of No More Heroes is as exciting as daytime TV. It’s meant to be a boring town, but it’s too boring as there’s nothing to explore. Likewise, the menial tasks and side missions that Travis has to complete before facing the next assassin go too far. They’re meant to be tedious in a humorous way, but having already played the Wii version, I detested them.
The bike sucks – Travis’s badass bike, the Schpeltiger, looks awesome, but is terrible in practice. It handles like a truck that has lost several tires and is awkward at the best of times.
Repetitious gameplay – It’s not really a mistake per se, as the repetitious nature of No More Heroes was quite intentional, but it was a clear reason why the Wii version didn’t sell as well as it should have, and it’s no different now. The side missions are boring and the main levels are essentially the same thing: run around, kill some clones and defeat a unique boss. The A.I. is nowhere near as smart as it needs to be – maybe we’ve progressed more since 2007 than we thought – which can lead to some pretty stale button-mashing. Still, it’s no different to the Wii version in that regard, and is hellishly fun to play through until you realise you’ve been there and done it all before.
Recharging the katana isn’t cool – Recharging your katana is nothing short of frustrating. It generally runs out amidst a boss fight, leaving Travis venerable as he stands there generating more power. It’s not helped by the awkward motion control, as demonstrated by the screen below. Charging is achieved through holding the square button and vicariously shaking the Move controller up and down. Needless to say, it’s not a good look, and quite awkward depending on your seating arrangement. Furthermore, it’s not resolved by using the standard PS3 controller. We all forgot about SixAxis (because it’s rubbish), but it’s back and requires you to swing your PS3 controller around like a crazy person.
Lack of new content – Heroes’ Paradise is only for new players, as there’s nothing to entice Wii fans. Five bosses have been imported from the sequel, but chances are fans who would consider the PS3 port have played that as well. There’s also a score attack mode, which offers online leaderboards, but it is hardly revolutionary.
The Final Verdict
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is a lot of quirky Suda51 fun, and is great in 100% uncut HD. It’s the same stylish gameplay that graced the Wii four years ago, with improved Move controls and the option to use the lazier, but still innovative, Dualshock. The gameplay is repetitious and Santa Destroy is dull, but this was all intentional from the genius that is Suda51. It certainly isn’t a game for everyone, but if you’re up for some katana-meets-lightsaber action, look no further than No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise.