Most gamers know the name Suda51 and the reputation behind it. “He’s the guy that makes those really weird games, right?” Yup. Among those games is No More Heroes, a critically acclaimed Wii title released back in 2008. Finally, three years later, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is released for the PS3. While it is less of a remake and more of a port with a few additions, Heroes’ Paradise will still offer up a lot of fun and interesting times for those who missed out on the game the first time around.
Heroes’ Paradise is a 3rd person action game with a little bit of an arcade feel thrown into it. The core of the game play boils down to hacking and slashing at enemies, but it is supplemented with finishing moves, throws and special “dark side” modes that make you more powerful for a limited time. I did not use the Move controller with this game, but the general consensus seems to be that it is less responsive than the Wiimote. I used the good old fashioned regular controller, and the layout was mapped out nicely and it worked well… most of the time.
The overall story in Heroes’ Paradise is rather simple, but the unique characters make it fantastic. You play as Travis Touchdown, a down on his luck otaku who takes a job to kill the 11th rank assassin in the United Assassin’s Association (UAA). After that, Travis wants to be number one to prove that he is the best, and because he is running from the lower ranked assassins trying to kill him. Like I said, sounds simple, but the insane world around Travis makes it a great adventure. I just wish there was a little back story on some of the characters around town that help Travis become more powerful.
Since this is a port upgraded to HD, the graphics are going to look pretty similar. The high points are the character models. Each character is completely unique and it is really fun to see what will be coming up in the next UAA ranked fight. On the downside, the city of Santa Destroy is as bland and dead as ever, and players will be unnecessarily plagued with technical problems at times, most notably the collision detection and slowdown. As you are driving your oversized motorcycle around town odds are you will drive into a light post and get stuck causing you to get off, walk a little bit and call the bike to you. Also, the slowdown got so bad at times that the game thought I was holding down an attack button to charge while I was mashing it for quick attacks. That is what I meant when I said the controller works most of the time. Both of these problems seem like they should have been hammered out in QA because they happen frequently.
I like when audio stands out in games because most of the time it is just passable, but not notable. Heroes’ Paradise has some very entertaining music, and while you will hear a few tracks over and over again, they don’t seem to get old. Also, the voice acting is outstanding. Each character has their own personality and the actors capture them very well. Some of the dialogue is damn funny too. Also hearing an enemy yell “MY SPEEN!” after killing him makes me laugh every time, even though they yell it far too often.
There are two things you will be doing in Heroes’ Paradise: climbing up the UAA ranks to number one, and doing part-time work for money to pay the entry fees for each ranked fight. The ranked fights are broken up into levels where you have to get through a bunch of nameless henchmen to get to your target. Each level is unique, but some are much more imaginative than others. You have high and low attacks depending on how the enemies are blocking, and when you kill one you can follow with a quick time event to perform a finishing move. Each finishing move gives you a chance to stock a “dark side” move which makes you considerably more powerful when activated. You can also stun enemies and use one of many signature pro wrestling moves on them. While the finicky targeting system can be a bit frustrating at times, combat is fun and it is very rewarding when you clear a whole room of enemies with one finishing move or charge attack.
When you’re not fighting you will be driving around town and either spending money on upgrades, or making money by doing part time jobs and side missions. The jobs are essentially mini games that are fun to play once, but odds are you will never do them again. The side missions give you challenges such as “kill x number of enemies within the time limit.” There are 25 of them, but they get stale as well since a few of them are repeats. Odds are you will find one that pays out the most in the least amount of time and do it until you have enough money for the next ranked fight, and after a while it seems to slow the game down.
The biggest problem I have with the game play is the driving. You would think that driving around a giant motorcycle would be awesome, but the controls and collision detection ruin it. The controls feel stiff and unwieldy, and when you crash into something you have to watch the painfully slow animation of getting up and getting back on the bike. As I mentioned before you will also get stuck and have to run for a little while so you can get far enough away from the bike to call it back to you. Overall driving is a pain and there were times when I would have rather had the menu system from No More Heroes 2.
As far as changes from the Wii version go, there are a few. A couple new part time jobs and side missions have been added, as well as the ability to go back and play through any level you have already completed. There are also a few bosses from No More Heroes 2 you can fight in a dream world while Travis sleeps on the toilet. However, the best feature is warping to side missions and jobs you have already completed because it cuts down on travel time.
If you already have No More Heroes for the Wii, there really isn’t much of an incentive for you to get Heroes’ Paradise as well. However, if you don’t have a Wii or haven’t had the chance to experience No More Heroes, you should pick this up. There are times when the game feels like a ripped backpack being held together by duct tape, but the wacky story and the insane characters are an experience that should not be missed.
– – – – – – –
Name: No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise
Available on: PlayStation 3
Developed by: Grasshopper Manufacture
Published by: Konami
Release date: August 16, 2011
EG Score: 4 out of 5 / “Worth Buying / Worth Renting”