No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise PS3 Review

Publisher – Konami – Developer – Grasshopper Manufacture – Genre – Action – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 18+ – Other console/handheld formats – Wii

No More Heroes was first released on the Wii and, because of its unusually adult tone for the format and it being amongst a cheerful Italian cartoon plumber, an elf and such, it looked as if it was a bit lost on the console. No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is a refined version and, being a PS3 title, it’s more at home on the console, where adult themes are more prevalent.

For those unfamiliar with No More Heroes, it stars Travis Touchdown, an anime and wrestling devotee, but also an assassin, looking to become the top ranked assassin by knocking off the ten above him. It’s not quite as odd as Killer7 and it’s more of a standard action game, of which gives it a broader appeal, but the narrative and characters are offbeat enough to satisfy many Killer7 fans.

Unsurprisingly, it makes use of Move, though perhaps saying it makes use of it is being a bit kind, as it doesn’t take advantage of the additional precision of the controller that it has over the Wii remote. A welcome addition for traditionalists is DualShock support, of which functions as well as it should.

Being a PS3 game, the distinctive visual style is displayed in HD, though it also brings with it an unwelcome visual element: occasional screen tearing. But other than that it’s a nice looking game that, whilst not technically accomplished by any means, has wonderful art direction, granting it a personality that a lot of the more complex looking games simply don’t possess.

Alongside more incremental changes and additions, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise also brings five new jobs and five bosses from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (which in fittingly outlandish fashion, you get the option to fight when nodding off on the toilet), whilst dark side mode charges (they’re power-ups of a sort) no longer have to be used immediately and can be stored for later use, while unused ones will reward you with additional cash at the end of a stage.

The combat eschews complex combo strings, though is skill based, requiring proficient defence and timing. Travis possesses a beam katana, which is essentially a lightsaber, and you can stun opponents, opening up wrestling manovoures. Another thing to take into consideration is that the beam katana has limited battery power and must either be recharged by shaking the controller or picking up an item.

Dealing a heavy level of damage to any of the regular enemies will activate deathblow mode, of which allows you to see your adversaries off in gory fashion (yes, blood is intact this time around) and, as a further bonus, a slot machine will pop up and if three icons match, you’ll be rewarded a power-up.

Each area sees you fighting your way to the boss and sadly the environments along the way aren’t terribly interesting and suffer from repetition, whilst death can see you occassionally losing a substantial and maddening amount of progression, but the strength of the core fighting, whilst not entirely eradicating these issues, deadens them somewhat.

Whilst the regular fights often test your skill, it’s the boss encounters where the true challenge lies. These are a truly oddball bunch, but it isn’t only their bizarre personalities that results in them being memorable though, but also your duels with them, of which are epic and strategic encounters.

In between all the fighting, you’ll be exploring the city of Santa Destroy, attempting to make enough money to enter the next fight by doing jobs such as knocking coconuts out of trees, signalling ships and mowing lawns, they’re fun of the throwaway type and don’t last long enough to hurt the experience in any meaningful way, and do their part in breaking up all the bloodletting, but  many will nonetheless still see them as nothing more than obstacles getting in the way of their fighting.

Santa Destroy is an unremarkable place and in comparison to other sandbox environments, there just isn’t enough interesting things to do. You’re able to upgrade your weapon and Travis’ stats and find t-shirts. The fastest way of navigation is via Travis’ flashy motorbike, of which has erratic handling and just isn’t as fun as such a monstrous looking vehicle should be.

No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is the definitive version of the game, possessing all that made the Wii release great and more, but also sadly all of the same issues too, which is all the more jarring when you consider that there’s a host of new additions, the Move support on the other hand is a wasted opportunity. So whilst there’s a few disappointments, it’s still nevertheless a wonderful action game with a delightfully off the wall premise that has come to be expected from Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture.