No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle Hands-On PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Dec 16, 2009
Based on the all-too-little of what I recently played of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Grasshopper Manufacture’s follow-up to their 2007 quirky-as-hell hack-n-slash title, the game seems to be an all-around natural progression from the first game. In other words, if you’re familiar with the sword-slashing combat, over-the-top violence and crude humor of NMH, then chances are you will feel instantly at home with the sequel. In addition, everything is just a little bit sharper and tighter this time around, which becomes quite apparent the moment you pick up the controls.
And I could not have been more pleased to find this out, since my hands-on session consisted of 20-minutes of playing through two sections of the game in front of Grasshopper creative lead Suda 51 himself. The instant I took control of series protagonist/star assassin, Travis Touchdown, during the opening fight of the game, it was as if I had just finished playing the original. Locking on targets with the Z button, slashing with A, and dodging with the thumbstick all worked smoothly and responsively. The new dash attack is equally satisfying and provides a nice intro to larger, more devastating combos, all of which end with you swiping the Wiimote in the direction indicated on screen, and turning your enemies into stunning blood geysers.
Travis’ story this time around is all about seeking revenge for the death of his pal Bishop, and he will have plenty of help in the form of new weaponry and the ability to duel-wield beam katanas. There will also be four new types of new death blades that Travis will be able to carry around with him and access without having to swap them back at his once-again gnarly apartment. Visually, the game sports some solid improvements, yet maintains the hyper-stylized design that helped make the first game such a standout.
Now, while slicing dudes in half as Travis is shaping up to be more vicious and enjoyable than ever, players will also be able to play as two other characters at various points in the game as well: Shinobu and Henry. I didn’t get to check out Henry, but I did play a section as Shinobu. She was a blast to play with, thanks to her ability to perform aerial attacks. That’s right; she can jump, and when she does, you don’t want to be anywhere nearby, because it most likely means you’re about to have your chest cleaved in twain.
Given how short my time was with NMH2, I can’t speak to what the rest of the game has in store. However, from what I did see, I’d say No More Heroes fans, and those who might have missed out on the previous installment, should definitely keep an eye on this joyfully violent and eccentric title as we move closer to the game’s launch on Jan. 29, 2010 on the Wii.