|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Grasshoper||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 26, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Another change made that helps to make playing through NMH2 a much more focused and enjoyable experience is how you'll get around Santa Destroy. Unlike in the original, you'll never need to drive your fairly sluggishly controlled motorcycle from event to event, searching for your next mission or minigame. Instead, NMH2 gives you what basically looks like a Don's view (from Godfather 2) of Santa Destroy and a list of the available locations, minigames, and missions. All you have to do is select wherever you wish to go and you'll instantly be transported to your destination, keeping you in the action rather than breaking it up with aimless and wonky driving segments.
The action itself even feels more refined this time around as well. Hacking through enemies using various combos feels extremely fluid, and the targeting feature seems to work better than it did in the first title as well. I had very few instances when the game targeted the wrong enemy and had almost no problems reselecting targets when it did. The ability to carry all of your useable beam katanas with you wherever you go is also a welcomed addition, making it quite easy to switch to the best weapon for the job on the fly. Players are even treated to the ability to dual wield with a specific set of beam katanas, which not only looks awesome it makes chopping down foes easier and more devastating.
There are even points in NMH2 when you'll be placed in control of characters other than Travis. You'll get the chance to play a small segment as Travis' brother Henry and two missions as Shinobu, one of his former assassin targets. Henry has the ability to dash and fire projectiles from his sword and Shinobu is the only character in the game that can jump, so these portions help to add a more varied gameplay experience. While these segments are mostly fun, some of the jumping required in Shinobu's stages can get a tad on the frustrating side since it can be difficult to judge distance and jumping angles when you have so very little control over the camera.
All in all, NMH2 is a much better game than its predecessor. Almost everything that detracted from the experience found in the original NMH has been addressed and is now vastly more enjoyable. Players are no longer taken out of the fun parts of the game to mindlessly repeat minigames in order to progress and aren't forced to drive around town to find their next dose of combat. Instead, NMH2 is more akin to a shot of gaming adrenaline, delivering over the top action, entertaining minigames, and an enjoyably absurd storyline and characters directly into your veins without delay. If you're a fan of the original NMH or are just looking for a great action title, you definitely need to play this game.
CCC Staff Contributor