The plot is simple enough, carve your way through the top 10 assassins to become number one. There's more to it than that though. There's also the small matter of revenge to be added too the mix. Travis Touchdown knew it was going to be a bad day after his friends head is left in a duffle bag on his doorstep, so why not get pay back as well as becoming the top of the heap? Heck once you are number one, nobody is going to be in a hurry to do anything to tick you off right? And so off you go, the desire to be number one driving you but that's secondary too the revenge mission and the side jobs that will eventually appear on your itinerary. So this simple premise sets you up for the quest that lies ahead. It's a simple enough premise and the game play reflects that. It's a simple matter of mashing buttons to wade your way through wave after wave of henchman, the only problem being posed by those willing to stand back and attack from a distance with guns but even these guys can be sidestepped with comparative ease. Once up close and personal, it's not difficult to despatch the enemy with a decapitating strike or a move that will cut the guy in half from top to bottom. Follow the onscreen control prompt to deliver a messy finishing move. The enemy a.i. does not seem to be that challenging but wait, don;t think it stays that way. Once you get too the boss of the level, things get taken up a notch or two and this is where the frustration sets in. Even on easy, the lowest ranked boss is more than a match for you and time after time I found myself cursing the guy as I found myself being blocked, dodged and counter attacked with strikes that depleted my health whilst I (even with a target lock) couldn't get past his defenses to deliver enough damage to slow him down. Sure a melee attack stunned him for a while but he recovers so fast that it still made little or no difference. Take into account that every attack drains the energy of Travis's sword, or should that be ceiling strip light? (sorry that's what it looks like too me) To replenish the energy run away from your foe and shake the control pad or Playstation Move controller like mad until it recharges. That's all fine and dandy but don't turn your back on your foe! And whilst you are recharging the weapon, guess who charges you head on! To say this is frustrating is an understatement indeed. As a result or sense of fun and enjoyment soon evaporated away.
GRAPHICS: They are fine, a nice comic book style presentation that is crisp and clear. Textures are well rendered. Lighting effects are as authentic as an interactive comic book style can provide.
SOUND: Meaty where it maters, blows sound painful, and the voice acting is fine and lip synching is very good indeed. The soundtrack is fast paced and laced with guitar riffs that match the style effectively. But the sounds and graphics do not make up for the games drawbacks.
CONTROLS: L1 should give you a target lock but that keeps slipping. Movement is controlled by the left stick and is fine if not attempting to do anything too complicated but in heavy combat and especially during boss fights, there is a problem where one small move leaves you wide open for an attack from the flank or even the back. Add to this the dodgy target lock, then you'll soon find yourself being hammered.
GAMEPLAY: Sure all games have a repetitive streak but this one soon becomes an exercise in tedium. Oh sure some hack and slash games can and are indeed fun, but when the learning curve becomes the gaming equivalent of climbing Everest without ropes this soon becomes tedious to the extreme. As said you'll wade your way through henchmen with no problem at all but the bosses will have you tearing your hair out (at least they did with me). You can play with either the six axis or the move controller but neither makes it any easier or any more enjoyable sadly. There are response problems with both systems and even though you unlock wrestling moves so you can deliver some melee attacks, getting close enough to do this is a pain in the rear. This COULD be a fun game, indeed it SHOULD be a fun game. Sure it uses the same kind of plot as Afro Samurai, but Afro at least has a vain of dark humour to keep things fun, but this game just heaps on frustration after frustration and any humour that there may be in the plot or gameplay is soon negated. I sincerely hope that it's predecessors (which until now are Nintendo Wii exclusives) are more enjoyable than this shambles. I have no desire to find out I hasten to add. This game has put me off going back into the games past titles and has already deterred me from looking at any future releases in the series. It's not often I find a game so bloody hard work and lacking in any enjoyment for me that I only play it twice or three times and then leave it to collect dust or pass on to someone else who has the desire and the patience to wade their way through this title from start to finish. Does this review seem harsh? Well I can only be honest so brace yourself for the summing up that follows:
SUMMARY: A tedious, boring and frustrating game in every sense of the word. It looks bright, and as said the soundtrack and the voice acting are good, but it's not enough to save this title in any way, shape or form. Konami have given us hard games before, Devil May Cry comes to mind here, but at least DMC has redeeming features and isn't so hard that you'd rather stick pins in your eyes than have to sit through another session of the game, No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise just does not deliver for me. It's not just a poor title, it's a BAD title and I personally would consider spending your money on something else. I'm scoring this a 3 out of 10, but thats because the presentation and voice acting make me feel that it deserves more than a 1 out of 10, but only just.