Playing No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise
No More Heroes is one of my favorite franchises in gaming. When I played the first game on the Wii a few years ago, I was blown away by its simple yet engaging gameplay, originality, and in-your-face style. At that point, No More Heroes was easily one of my favorite Wii games. Not long after, I found the game that I could quite possibly call my favorite Wii title of all time in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. For all of the style and badassery that the first game exuded, No More Heroes 2 managed to improve upon it and provided an even more enthralling game.
Now, the first entry in the awesome series from Suda51 has arrived on the PlayStation 3, and I was pretty stoked about playing the game all over again, this time with revamped visuals and bonus content. How does No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise play, though? I take you through my first couple of hours with this HD remake.
Nice to See You Again, Travis!
When I first met Travis Touchdown in the original No More Heroes, I immediately thought he was a funny and enjoyable protagonist. Sure, he was a bit cheesy, pretty over-the-top, and an outright loser, but that's what I liked about him. I enjoyed that he wasn't the typical badass hero that bled pure macho flash. No, instead, he was a porn-loving, wrestling-watching, anime-adoring otaku. He was real, and that made him the ultimate badass in my eyes. After watching the opening cutscene in Heroes' Paradise and reliving that moment where Travis explains his new venture, I can honestly say he's still an awesome character.
Kill Some Bad Guys
No More Heroes doesn't waste any time in throwing you into the fray. After the introductory sequence, you're given the option to learn the ropes courtesy of the game's tutorial. I took the time to check out the tutorial for the simple fact that I was playing with the DualShock 3 controller (to see how traditional controls felt when compared to motion controls).
Everything seemed fairly simple and easy to grasp, but I immediately noticed that performing kills using the analog sticks instead of swinging the Wii Remote and Nunchuk (or PlayStation Move and navigation controllers) was a lot less natural. While mashing on the face buttons has always worked for the series in terms of basic melee combat, executing prompted kills by pushing down on L3 and R3 and rotating the analog sticks just feels a lot less organic.
That said, taking out enemies is still a blast, and Heroes' Paradise does a great job of allowing you to let loose in some pretty cool environments against hordes of enemies. Like a classic hack-and-slash game, Heroes' Paradise is rewarding, easy to get into, and just plain fun. There's also a good deal of challenge in the game. Enemies aren't pushovers, and they really try to team up on you and take you out. Of course, like any true assassin, Travis doesn't take any guff from his enemies, and he comes packing a heavy punch with basic attacks, finishers, and even a few wrestling moves.
Most traditional hack-and-slash or beat 'em up titles are known for feeding you waves of bad guys, only so that you can confront a much tougher boss at the end of the stage. Heroes' Paradise follows this setup accurately, and the bosses in the No More Heroes franchise are known for being memorable, unique, challenging, and awesome.
During my first couple of hours with Heroes' Paradise, I found that the boss fights were just as solid this time around as they were when the game was originally released on the Wii. Major enemies are resilient, they block appropriately, and they deal some heavy-hitting damage, making for a solid encounter each and every time. Again, using the DualShock controller feels a bit off compared to motion controls, so I would highly suggest to play using Move controls.
Upon playing Heroes' Paradise, I noticed that the character animations were a bit stiff. Now in all honesty, it's been about three years since I played the original game, so I won't lie and say the animations have become complete garbage. That said, I recently played No More Heroes 2, and I noticed that the animations in that game were a lot more fluid than those in Heroes' Paradise. One particular issue I had was Travis constantly getting stuck on minor obstacles such as trash cans or benches. Things like that are just a nuisance, and it's easy to get annoyed with that sort of flaw almost immediately.
Remember the Open World?
Quite possibly one of the most misleading aspect of the original No More Heroes, the open world environment seemed like an awesome idea, but it just failed to deliver. The whole thing felt barren, and the few side quests (finding hidden clothes and cash) were hardly worth traversing the large city of Santa Destroy for. And the side jobs that Travis had to complete to earn some extra dough? Those were really disappointing in the long run.
Of course, there's no way to progress in the game later on unless you grind for cash, something that I'm already struggling with despite still being at an early point in the game. I can't say I missed any of these things in the original Wii version of No More Heroes, so the emphasis on side missions and the underwhelming open environment are hard to appreciate in Heroes' Paradise.
So Far, So Good
Some minor blunders aside, I'm really enjoying No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise. The main recommendation I would make to gamers who have yet to play any entry in this series would be to stick with the Move controls. If you don't own or never plan on owning Sony's motion gaming device, you may not enjoy this title as much as you possibly could. Overall, though, Travis Touchdown's first adventure is surely one worth experiencing, and I look forward to playing through it in its entirety once more.
- Images and information taken from No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise.