No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a third person action game developed by Grass Hopper Manufacture and directed by Suda51. You play as an assassin named Travis Touchdown whose goal has always been to be the best assassin. However, Travis is now motivated by revenge.
If you have played the first No More Heroes and Killer 7, you will probably think that the way Suda51 has directed this game is a little strange. However, on some level it makes the game more unique and enjoyable.
No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle picks up three years after the original No More Heroes. Travis Touchdown had simply vanished and left the number one rank behind him. He is now a retired hero.
Travis Touchdown had slaughtered all the assassins in the first game, so in this game he is confronted by Skelter Helter, whose brother he had killed. This fight puts you directly into the game’s action immediately and becomes a tutorial at the same time. While this fight is taking place, a group of criminals murder Travis’s best friend Bishop, and throw his head into Travis’s apartment for him to find later. Angry and upset by this, Travis is forced back into the UAA (United Assassins Association) ranking battle to seek revenge.
The gameplay in this version are all the best parts of the first game, but with a lot more than the original. The game’s combat is pretty much the same with its high and low attack, depending on how you hold the wii mote. The A button is to strike with the sword, the B button does hand to hand combat while flicking the wii mote allows Travis to do finishing death blows.
The wrestling moves make a return but with a bigger list of moves than in the first one. Travis now has the ability to dual wield swords which can make one of the finish moves very satisfying by swinging both wii mote and nunchuk in a cross in front of you.
The Darkside modes make a return in the game and one of the new modes is the Ecstasy Gauge. By connecting combos and death blows, a tiger on the bottom right screen starts to get excited. Travis is then able to initiate the new Darkside mode. It allows you to randomly turn into a Tiger and maul every enemy on screen. There is no reason behind why you would be able to turn into a tiger, it’s simply because it’s a strange Suda51 game.
Thankfully, some of the features they have removed in this game that were present in the first game are the open world sections. This was possibly the worst feature in the first game and without this open world, the pace of the game feels more solid. You are now given the option to go straight to the next battle if you wish, or if you would like to buy new cloths and upgrades, you can do a side mission out of choice.
These criticised missions have been completely revamped as they are now all retro 8 bit mini games. I am a complete sucker for old school games, so these games were some of my favourite moments. Some of them involve you cooking steak for customers, driving on an old school highway to deliver pizza. There is a top down bug vacuuming game where you suck up bugs and items to clear the stage and a space mission where you collect trash that is flying around in space while avoiding asteroids. They might sound strange and a little out of place for a game that involves assassins with light sabres, but it’s a Suda51 game, so it’s expected.
This game introduces new playable characters which was not featured in the first game. The new character is Shinobu. Shinobu is a high school student who just happens to be a master with a samurai sword and have some acrobatic ninja moves. She appeared in the first game as an enemy boss, but was not killed. She is back to repay her debt to Travis for sparing her life.
The third playable character is Henry, who is Travis’s Irish twin brother. He is also a skilled assassin and wields a cross beam katana. Unlike Travis, Henry has the ability to dash at enemies. These playable characters don’t play a major role but they are nice addition to the game.
In conclusion, with No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, everything that was wrong in the first game has been put right. The game has a lot of fan service with inside jokes and plenty of sexual references, particularly the one involving the wii mote and charging the beam katana. The game does not take itself seriously at all, and if anything, it can be very overwhelming with what it throws at you.
One moment you will be doing a regular mission, to playing an eight bit side mission, to then sitting at the hotel and watching an anime about school girls turning into super heroes. When you finally get to a boss you may just have to fight them in a huge robot, like the old Power Rangers series. Yes, this does actually happen in the game. Blood sprays with every death blow and the dialogue has plenty of swearing. It’s clearly aimed towards a specific target audience. I absolutely loved this game and it is personally one of my games of the year.
5 out of 5