No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise Review
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On 09/28/2011 at 04:00 PM by Jon Lewis
“OK” just doesn't cut it this time.
For No More Heroes fans or people who would rather experience the game in HD.
No More Heroes looked like an intriguing game when it came out on the Wii, but after playing it I wasn't too impressed. You play as the badass Travis Touchdown and your simple goal is to kill everyone in your way until you are number one. The gameplay was interesting and the story and characters were entertaining, but these just sugarcoated a fundamentally flawed game. Upon hearing about this remake, subtitled Heroes Paradise, I hoped that it would all be smoothed over. Again I walked away disappointed.
Seemingly every flaw with the Wii version is back -- and some are made worse. Running feels awkward, defending and parrying feel unreliable, and the motorcycle segments are pretty out of place and control like a nightmare. As cool as the motorcycle is, it handles terribly, and could have definitely used fine tuning. And there were times when the controls didn't even register properly, mainly when recharging the Beam Katana. The shake motion which gave me little trouble on the Wii ironically seemed to be a lot more buggy in its HD counterpart, whose delayed responses caused me to take damage that I normally wouldn't have.
Other gameplay annoyances from the first game are back in full force. The checkpoints are badly placed . When you die, you have to re-do a lot of the fight scenes over, and if you quit, they require you to do the whole mission from scratch. Fights are often repetitive and only involve a small amount of enemy types, ranging from extremely easy to frustratingly difficult. While in most games the variety in difficulty would be welcome, this game's difficulty feels more artificial.
Last but not least, the side missions in between story missions are downright boring and slow the pace of the game down to a crawl. I would have been more content with a five hour game where you traverse through the ten assassin layers back to back; instead, it's stretched out with tedious fetch quests and mini-games. I do like how they add a bit of personality to the game, but the fact that they force you to do them in order to progress always bothered me and should have been addressed.
Despite its problems, there is an attractive and at least intriguing game hidden underneath. The graphic overhaul has done wonders for the game, as characters and environments look fantastic in HD. The music is still pretty catchy and fits in well with the established universe. Gameplay itself can be really fun when you get the hang of the right attack patterns and grapples to use. Beating one of the Dream Sequence bosses with a seemingly endless combo was really satisfying. These Dream Sequence bosses are another very welcome plus in the game. Taking the bosses from the game's sequel, No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle and letting you fight them in these sequences is a great addition and I had fun fighting some of them. Of course they are completely optional, but I recommend it to fans of the series. On top of that, there are tons of customizable options for Travis and his Beam Katana, as far as designs and colors are concerned. The characters are fun, and though Travis is a bit too much of an asshole for me, the cast and especially the assassins themselves are really interesting. That said, my favorite part of the game was probably the boss fights, as they all present an interesting challenge and require their own unique strategies to defeat, even though at the end it comes down to skillful use of the Beam Katana.
In all, this game has its moments. I really wanted to like Heroes Paradise a lot more than I do, but its lack of polish after all these years hinder it from being the masterpiece that it could be. This game could have used the full remake treatment, in which all of the problems were fixed, but to me it seems more like an opportunity to expand the No More Heroes franchise to the mature audiences found on the PlayStation 3 (and Xbox 360 in Japan). If you are a fan of No More Heroes and want to experience it in HD with a bit of extra content, this game is probably a must buy. However if you were not a fan of No More Heroes to begin with, this game will probably not change your mind.