[Review] No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
  • Publisher: Marvelous
  • Release Date: 15/11/2020
  • Price: £17.99 / $19.99
  • Review code provided by Marvelous

Introducing: No More Heroes 2 Switch Review

During Nintendo’s Wii era, many titles managed to pass me by. Unfortunately I got hung up on the waggle-heavy games that dominated the first few years of the console’s life. Because of that I moved onto other consoles, managing to miss some true gems on the system.

Between the many classics I managed to miss, the one that interested me the most has always been No More Heroes. Now that the first two games are on the Switch, I’ve finally had a chance to experience No More Heroes beyond the rather lacklustre Travis Strikes Again.

An Otaku Assassin has Appeared (Again)

We begin with our no more hero Travis Touchdown, as he is attacked by the 51st ranked assassin. Apparently Travis killed some people important to him, and drops some ominous words before passing on. Shortly after, Travis’ best friend Bishop is gunned down by assassins, sending him into a rage and vowing to march up the ranks to get revenge.

The story itself is simplistic, and serves mostly as a vehicle for the insane battles you will partake in. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few twists thrown in, especially in the form of nods to the first game and a few returning characters.

More Moe, More Problems

No More Heroes is a hack and slash title at its core. Main missions break down to you moving around an environment, killing all enemies before the next area is opened up until you ultimately reach the boss. The lead up to each boss doesn’t change besides a few notable encounters. Although they are repetitive, they never hang around long enough to feel like a slog.

The standout of the game is in its boss battles. These range from standard sword fights to epic mech combat. Each boss has a unique personality that is reflected in their combat style. Unfortunately none of the battles felt challenging enough. You do unlock higher difficulty settings when you finish the game, which is nice, although I wish they were accessible from the start.

High or Low, Around our Katana Will Go

Combat breaks down to selecting the appropriate attack on an enemy, and finishing them with flicking the right stick in the indicated direction. You select a high or low swing of your katana or a high or low punch/kick, depending on how the enemy is attempting to block your onslaught. You can also perform wrestling moves on stunned enemies by punching them, then executing a flick of the left and right sticks in the indicated directions.

Killing enemies is extremely satisfying. A finishing blow will see their bodies slice in half and the blood spurt out like a fountain. Despite every enemy dying in the same way, it never loses its appeal.

As the katanas used are energy weapons, they run off of batteries. When your swords are out of power, you can no longer block or attack, rendering the weapons useless. Thankfully you can charge them up by shaking them in a rather suggestive fashion. Just make sure you don’t have any menacing men with bats watching you as you, ahem, charge your sabre.

Whore Yourself Out for Profit

When you aren’t ascending the assassin rankings in the main mission, then mini games dominate the remainder of your time in No More Heroes 2. The majority of these mini games are done in a NES art style that is both charming, and manages to harken back to the gameplay of that era.

These mini games range from fixing pipes and cooking steaks, to exterminating bugs and delivering pizzas. The gameplay is simplistic, but still manages to be entertaining. Completing these games is the main source of income in the game, so if you want those shiny new katanas, you better pick up those scorpions.

Art Style Trumps Graphics

No More Heroes 2 is dripping with style. Instead of high graphical fidelity, the developers have clearly gone for a more artistic approach. Because of this, the game has aged superbly and is a joy to look upon even today. There are some cutscenes however that clearly don’t fair as well, as they are extremely blurry, but for the most part the game retains a sharp picture outside of those rare instances.

Matching the stylish art style is an equally sublime soundtrack. Each track manages to capture Travis’ character, as well as the over-the-top action. Outside of the music, the sound design is good enough, but never steals the show. Voiceovers are generally well done, but not every performance is a banger.

The Boring Technical Stuff

The game runs without a hitch for the most part. That is to be expected due to the games age, but a surprising amount of old ports don’t transition to newer hardware cleanly. At one point the game did hard crash back to the Switch home screen, which was concerning. Thankfully this turned out to be an isolated incident, as I didn’t encounter any other issues in my time with the game.

Final Thoughts

No More Heroes 2 is a game that is oozing with style. The combat is visceral and satisfying, and contains enough variety with its added mini games to avoid feeling repetitive. A bland story is made up for with over-the-top characters that steal the show, and the game runs well both docked and handheld. Although the humour won’t be for everyone, if it hits for you, then No More Heroes 2 is a worthy addition to your Switch library.

Pros

  • Superb overall style
  • Satisfying gameplay
  • Interesting characters
  • Great sense of humour

Cons

  • Can be a little easy
  • Short at around 10 hours

Verdict
No More Heroes 2 is a fun and brutal action romp that will have you laughing one minute, and brutally decapitating enemy after enemy the next.


Missed our review of the original? Check it out here.

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