No More Heroes is a weird game series. Back when it was on the Wii, it was published by Ubisoft and was criticized for its slog of a map system and strange gameplay mechanics. Then No More Heroes 2 came out and fixed all the map problems while refining the battle mechanics. Then somewhere down the line, Konami yanked the original title out from underneath Ubisoft and decided to apply all the great fixes from No More Heroes 2 to it. The result is No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise, and I got a chance to play the game at this year’s E3.
The first thing you will notice is that the game stays true to the original plotline. Travis Touchdown basically buys a lightsaber off eBay and out of a totally random set of circumstances he accidentally kills the 11th best assassin in the world. Thus his strange journey to become the world’s best assassin begins. The original opening cinematic is back right down to the dialogue. The only difference is that this time we get to see it in HD.
The graphics are hit or miss, at least in the short mission I got to try. Sometimes the graphics look like they were meant for an HD system, but I have a feeling this is just a coincidence. It appears as if most of the graphics were just run through a filter or two in order to touch them up. This is most evident when lighting effects come into play and the models start to get fuzzy around the edges. Still, it does look better than it did on the Wii, glitches or not.
The version that was shown at E3 was pretty much complete, so there wasn’t a point where the demo cut me off. Instead, the only thing keeping us from playing till the doors closed was the desire to not be a jerk to the people waiting in line behind us, and of course the desire to see other games at the show. Sure, there’s lots of additional content that is advertised about NMH:HP, such as five new bosses, five new minigames, many new assassination missions, and a mode where every girl in the game wears far less than normal, but we really didn’t get to see any of that. Instead we were really playing to see the new gameplay changes, and to experience the controls.
The controls are either better or worse depending on what version you are playing. Playing with a controller actually makes the game feel a whole lot more responsive. Digital controls trump motion controls in this case, allowing you more precise control over Travis. You still have to shake the controller in order to recharge your Beam Katana’s batteries, but that rarely interferes with gameplay any more than it did in the original.
The Move controls, on the other hand, are a bit of a hit or miss affair. They pretty much perfectly mimic the Wiimote controls from the original game, but the Move itself isn’t really as responsive at the Wii. There is that strange split second Move delay that you get with some games, which screws you up when you first take the reins. Eventually you get used to it, and all things considered it doesn’t actually affect gameplay all that much; it’s just annoying when you first start out.
All in all, your control scheme of choice is really just going to come down to personal preference. The Move is fine once you get used to it, and the Dualshock works just as well for action games as it ever did. So pick your pony and get to slashin.
As for the gameplay itself, let me just tell you that fast travel is a godsend for this game. The ability to skip the boring motorcycle segments and just warp to any job once you have beaten it makes grinding for cash way less annoying. Missions and jobs now have a retry option, so if you fail you don’t have to drive back to them all over again. The ability to go back and replay cinematics and ranking battles is also a nice touch. It used to be that you could only fight a boss once, but honestly, going up against the crazy psychopaths that give the game its charm is probably the best way to mindlessly farm money.
Overall, I really liked No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise. As a general rule, I don’t buy ports of games I have played before. Once is enough for me, no matter how much extra content I am given. However, I would give serious thought to purchasing Heroes Paradise for the PS3 even though I previously played the Wii version. Frankly, it’s just refreshing to play this game without having to deal with all the design flaws that plagued the original release. It brings this quirky Suda 51 title to a whole other level of good.