No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise Review
Developer: AQ Interactive / Publisher: Konami / Played On: Playstation 3 / Price: $39.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Sexual Themes]
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No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is like a Quentin Tarantino movie: gratuitous violence, scantily clad babes, and a plot focused around killing. And that’s not a bad thing. Heroes’ Paradise is an enhanced port of the original Wii game, and it comes with a flashy new HD visual update, as well as a few extra goodies to keep the assassination fest going.
Travis Touchdown doesn’t have much to his name spare a few collectibles and an armchair, but all that changes when he comes into possession of a beam katana he won in an internet auction. He soon meets the mysterious Sylvia who sets up Travis with a desperately needed job: killing a renowned assassin. Realizing that he is actually skilled at this whole assassination thing, Travis decides to attain the United Assassins Association’s (UAA) number one ranking. Each of the eccentric UAA assassins are engaging characters and make the story more enjoyable. While the main story is entertaining and exciting, the time between ranking fights spent grinding for cash can drag by slowly. Overall however, the story is violent, grungy, and enjoyable.
No More Heroes is an action game through and through with the lightsaber-like beam katana the main method of attack. Chaining combos and attacks together to slice up your enemies is seamless. When your enemies run low on life you can execute a gruesome death move, separating victims from their limbs amid a fountain of crimson blood. Travis is a fan of professional wrestling as well, and is capable of grappling foes and putting them in brutal pile drives and DDTs. After each enemy is killed, a slot machine reel spins at the bottom of the screen. A winning combination allows Travis to enter the powerful Dark Side mode that grants him a short boost in strength and attack combination.
Despite the focus on combat there’s plenty to do when not cleaving enemies. A hefty entry fee is required to enter each UAA ranking fight, and Travis picks up odd jobs and smaller assassination missions to make ends meet. Mowing the grass, making deliveries, and guiding boats on the water are a few options to make quick cash. Earned cash can also be spent on upgrades to the beam katana, new clothes, and stat-improving gym workouts. Between the main story fights the game becomes a free roaming sandbox experience, allowing you to do jobs and shop at your leisure. It’s not to the level of Grand Theft Auto IV, but the freedom is a nice touch.
A handful of new additions are available in the PS3 version of the game. You can now stock up to three Dark Side uses instead of them being activated automatically. New side missions and assassinations are available, as well as the ability to fight some of the assassins from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. A score attack mode entices you to fight all of the games’ bosses in succession for a high score. These additions are good but certainly not enough to make someone who has already played the game on the Wii warrant another play through, but they do make Heroes’ Paradise the definitive version of the game.
One of the big draws to Heroes’ Paradise is the updated HD visuals. The colorful, vivid art style benefits greatly from the graphical facelift. The game looks like a comic book, and the HD graphics make an already stylized game look better. Characters on the Wii looked a bit rough around the edges with some blurry visuals, but the PS3 game’s characters are crisp and clean. I did encounter a few graphical hiccups though. The frame rate dropped drastically when I crashed my motorcycle on a particularly busy intersection. The game holds up well during the intense combat, but slowdowns can be common while driving through the city.
Heroes’ Paradise has two control styles: one with the Playstation Move and the other with the standard controller. The Move control scheme mimics the Wii: movement with the navigation controller and beam katana actions with the Move controller. If you’ve played the Wii version and played the Move controlled PS3 version you’ll feel right at home with the similar controls. It feels different on the regular controller, but it still work well. Beam katana attacks are mapped to the triangle and square buttons and punches to the circle and X buttons. A tap of the R3 button triggers the death strikes to finish off enemies, and throws are executed by pushing the left and right control sticks in the correct direction. It may sound complicated but the standard controller works well, albeit less involved than waving around the Wii remote or Move controller and seeing Travis decapitate a foe on-screen.
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise for the PS3 is a good enhanced port to a great game. It does a lot of things right like tweaking and improving gameplay, adding additional content, and giving the graphics a welcome HD makeover. These improvements however aren’t enough to entice gamers to play the game a second time though. That being said, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is the definitive version of the game and is a bloody good time.