Video Game Review: Goofy, Bizarre ‘No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise’

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CHICAGO – Games don’t get much weirder than “No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise.” This import of the Nintendo Wii hit that has now been repurposed for both the standard wireless controller and the Playstation Move is such a unique, bizarre game that it almost warrants playing it purely for the copious personality on display. It’s too bad that said personality can’t overcome frustrating gameplay and repetitive action but this is a modest success that could work for the right player. Video Game Rating: 3.5/5.0
Video Game Rating: 3.5/5.0

It’s hard to even describe “No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise,” which is probably why the box description is so light. “Kill a hero to become one.” Yeah, that’s about it, but that doesn’t capture the tone of a game that includes the most-unusual side missions you’ll ever play in an open-world game (go collect some coconuts!), a save system in which your character takes a dump to record your data, and an increasingly-strange panoply of enemies. Add a copious amount of gore to this unusual world — most enemies die via decapitation or are completely cut in half — and you have a game that doesn’t really fit neatly into any of our typical niche genres. Yes, it’s mostly a fighting game with rudimentary slash-and-dash controls for the controller or swinging wildly with the Move, but it’s so much more unique than your standard title. I wish the creative elements that work were blended with a control scheme and visual acuity that was far more refined, but “Heroes’ Paradise” is almost too weird NOT to recommend a look.

No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise
Photo credit: Konami

You play Travis Touchdown, a smooth character rising the ranks of the most deadly assassins in the world. How does a killer move up a spot in the rankings? Kill the guy above you. The bulk of “Heroes’ Paradise” chronicles that career trajectory. Of course, the 10 most-dangerous assassins in the world don’t work alone. You’ll have to wipe hundreds of minions along the way.

No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise
Photo credit: Konami

And you’ll do so in style. You’ll scream bizarre things as blood pours from your enemies gaping neck wounds. You’ll slice, dice, decapitate, and disembowel. From the creators of the recently-released “Shadows of the Damned,” “No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise” is not a game for the little kiddies and yet its cartoonish style never registers as particularly scary either. It’s not unlike “Kill Bill” reimagined through anime.

The control scheme for this port is a little weird on a controller. It was clearly designed for something else and the great satisfaction to be gained by slicing an enemy with a Playstation Move controller can’t be matched with buttons. Also, the actual control scheme, which involves hitting the R3 button, is hard to adjust to. It never feels organic.

Each of the 10 assassins is essentially a story mission while side missions can be played throughout town. These side missions are odd jobs and basically mini-games to allow access to the story ones. They’re the weakest part of the game and feel oddly perfunctory, as if the developers thought that the story missions wouldn’t comprise enough game time and so they expanded it through the side ones. They feel like a waste of time. After you’ve decapitated someone and called them a f**khead, why would you want to go collect coconuts? It’s padding at its worst.

As for the graphics, it’s easy to tell that this game was not designed for the PS3 but the HD translation looks pretty strong in the cut scenes. In actual play, the results can be disappointing. There are a few framerate issues that are unacceptable in 2011 and one can’t help shake the feeling that most downloadable games look better than this. The graphics are good for Wii, still bad for PS3, and one can’t help but think that they could have been polished a bit more.

If you played “No More Heroes” on the Nintendo Wii, there’s no reason to dust off the Playstation Move and play it again here. This is for new fans to the franchise, ones unfamiliar with the original version and wondering what all the hype has been about. You’ll quickly see why people get sucked into this world. It’s like no other.

“No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise” was released by Konami and developed by FeelPlus and AQ Interactive. It was released for the Sony Playstation 3 on August 16th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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