PS3 Review – No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise

With hit games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Madden releasing last month, the port of cult hit No More Heroes may have slipped by you entirely. Not to worry, as we’ve played No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise to tell you if this upscaled, Move-enabled Wii port is worth your time and, most importantly, money.

In case you may not know, in Heroes’ Paradise you play as Travis Touchdown, a 27-year old otaku (think Japanese “geek.”) living in the fictional city of Santa Destroy, California. When you run out of money with which to purchase video games, you take a job to kill an assassin, and are forced into the United Assassins Association. It’s now either kill or be killed as you try to rank up to become the number one assassin in the world. The story is pretty bizarre, but definitely feels like something out of the mind of Suda51. Outside of the main storyline, however, there isn’t much else to learn about.

When the original No More Heroes released on the Wii, it of course was not in HD resolution. The game has since been re-tooled and upscaled for the PlayStation 3. The graphics look okay, but are definitely not of the same caliber of most other games on the system. Maybe this is because the Wii is not HD, and because of this perhaps its assets were never originally designed to be displayed at higher resolutions. Regardless, the game’s art style still comes through without much issue. It is highly stylized, and kills are presented in all their bloody glory. Loading times are relatively short, and the charm of the menus with their old-school beeps is a nice touch.

One difference in this release is that the game can now be played with a regular game controller. Considering the original was created with the Wii’s nunchuck in mind, this is one game that you may prefer playing with the Move controller instead. You use the navigation controller or a DualShock in one hand to move Travis Touchdown and perform a few moves, and control the beam katana with the Move controller. This includes at what angle you are attacking, which is largely irrelevant since the game only distinguishes between “high” and “low” moves.

The world of Santa Destroy, California is pretty bland. There’s a lot of streets that look the same as others, the beach, and a small freeway, but that’s pretty much all there is. The people walking around in this city are lifeless until you try to run them down; it’s then where they become completely brain-dead and just run perpetually, usually into walls or your motorcycle or a curb they’ve somehow managed to get stuck to. At least they stay out of your way. It all feels like a game that is stuck in the last generation of sandbox games. Speaking of getting stuck, that’s one thing that can and will happen far too often. Hit a passing car or turn too sharply in Travis’ motorcycle, and you can suddenly find yourself stuck in a curb or lightpost. Someone really dropped the ball when porting this game over, because big, easily repeatable bugs such as these should not have gone undetected and unfixed.

The main problem with Heroes’ Paradise is repetition. As mentioned, you hold the Move controller up or down to set the height of your attack. These work against blocks of opposing types. Though you can push enemies back and use the occasional wrestling move, most of your time will be spent mashing the Move/attack button and waiting for the onscreen prompt to perform the finishing move. Boss battles will consist of largely the same thing, with the added necessity of dashing out of the way of oncoming unblockable moves. By the time you face each boss, you will have killed dozens of goons along the way, all of whom are carbon copies of one another. Some of these enemies are killed via strange minigames, but for the most part each mission has you mashing that attack button until you are sick of it or your thumb falls off.

Did I mention repetitiveness? Did I mention repetitiveness? Did I mention…Oh, right. Sorry. Anyway, this repetitiveness flows out from the main game into the many sidequests the game forces you into in order to earn enough money to enter the next assassination mission. These consist of incredibly mundane tasks, such as collecting fallen coconuts, working a gas station, and mowing the lawn. Sounds tedious, right? Going from the overly bloody decapitations and slicings of hundreds of enemies to the boring tasks of city life is pretty disappointing, especially when you realize just how many of these side jobs you will have to take in order to save up money. Money which you spend in order to face the next assassination mission, which is itself yet another series of button mashing.

There’s not really a whole lot more that needs to be said about this Wii port. The original No More Heroes was an off-the-walls, entertaining game which was a welcome addition to Nintendo’s casual-heavy game library. But now, over three years since the release of the original, a lot of the gameplay seems lacking. This is one for the fans, those who enjoy Suda51’s style of gameplay and the worlds he creates, who would like to see Santa Destroy and its many unique inhabitants in a bit greater detail. The side jobs are tedious and not very rewarding, though the entertaining storyline is worth seeing to the finish – but only in small spurts at a time. Finishing this game in one setting is not recommended, unless you enjoy mind-numbing repetitiveness. For $40, you do get a lengthy playtime, but when so much of it is in the grind of those side jobs and killing mindless drones, this game is hard to recommend for anyone but fans.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Graphics have been updated, Move support ensures game controls same as the original.

+/- The game remains basically the same as the original.

– Main and side missions are incredibly repetitive.

6 out of 10