Release: Dec 17, 2011 - Author: FreshDudel - Translator: Tony Montana
Intro - I know a lot of gamers don't have much patience...
No More Heroes certainly is one of the most whacked-out video games in the last years and presumably one of the most humorous . Usually, so much satire can only be found in Grand Theft Auto or Conker's Bad Fur Day.
Story - If I get #1, will you do it with me?
When anime and wrestling fan Travis Touchdown (Robin Atkin Downes, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Mass Effect) meets the very attractive Sylvia Christel (Paula Tiso, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 4 – what an enchanting accent) in the "Deatmatch Bar" one evening, he actually has just one thing in mind. He's not aware at all that
he's going to spend all his money to buy her drinks all evening. But of course he doesn't realize until he intends to rent sth. from the video store the next day. Over the course of the game, he's receiving calls from that video store to obey the rules ("This is not our video but a clip showing a guy... humping a pillow...?").
But there's no reason to despair because Sylvia had a proposal for him that evening: she's from the "UAA" (United Assassins Association) and she's always looking for competitors who want to climb up the ladder. But Sylvia doesn't only allure him with obligatory prize money which comes with any step he makes forward but also and primarily with herself. Getting laid is understandably enough motivation for him during the entire game. It even makes him the winner in the most difficult fights against most sophisticated hostiles. With a lightsaber recently bought in an auction, he starts taking down #11 in the ranking immediately. Let the pleasure being.
The Game – Let the Bloodshed begin!
As one can possible assume, the fights with the lightsaber in proper style is what needs to be done in most parts of the game. The fights themselves are fun. They're quite simple and monotone (but not in a negative way), except for a coincidentally performed special attack or sth. like moving superfast or a laser blaster for instance, which eases the fights a bit. To avoid the hostile blocks, the degree of the attack can be regulated in two steps: smashing sb.'s face in or abusing the crown jewels.
As die hard fan of Mexican wrestling, Travis is familiar with with special attacks like the classic suplex. Very handy for boss fight and hostiles who consider blocking reasonable. The whole thing is pretty entertaining and the US Version is pleasingly bloody. Only the tedious trips across Santa Destroy wouldn't have been necessary. Due to the bad controlling, it's not fun at all and none of this influences the rest of the adventure.
The humor, the diversified boss fights and entertaining things like an arcarde shooter sequence are the big plus of the game. Given these circumstances, it's not a big deal that the open world should have stayed private and the story, which isn't bad at first (the monolog during the first boss fight rules), gets going way too late. But the simple and entertaining fighting system and the mini games between the huge missions (Travis keeps the city clean, catches scorpions, prevent the excessive expansion of the fast food chain "Pizza Butt" or spending the remaining dough for new weapons or training at the dubios dojo master, who explains the importance of body hygiene in the rectal area).
The entire game contains references to the contemporary pop culture - among other things also video games. Consistent references to Star Wars (respectively Spaceballs), a huge online auction house, the men's vice (I point out to the charging animation of the Beam Kantana) or just the little things in life like sponging a kill in an online game. These things make the game funnier and more important for the industry. While the story in most of the games just exists to combine the single levels with the other ones, No More Heroes has sort of the aspiration to be more than just another stupid stereotype game. It has actually a message what can't be said about very much games..
But one shouldn't look for it with too much effort because it bears the hallmarks of director Goichi Suda aka Suda 51 (Japanese: Goichi = 51). Even though it got better since Killer7, he allows us at least taking a peek into his mind, the player asks himself what kind of whackos must be locked up in Japanese looney bins if people like him and his team are allowed to walk arund freely over there. One way or another, one shouldn't start become philosophical like one did in games like Bioshock, Silent Hill 2 or Planescape: Torment.
(I herewith appologize to all the brainiacs ut there whose interpretations skills are much more advanced than mine. That's the reason why I have some problems with the author's intention here and there, although I consider his work really fascinating. My comprehension for modern art has its boundaries as well which I also regret.)
Exclusively postive things can be said about the score. The music is awesome and as rich in variety as the bosses. From coutry and punk to electronic high speed beats, the game contains anything what's necessary.
Bottom Line – Why would you bring that up at the very last minute of the game?
No More Heroes is an experience one should have made at least once. The producers really achieved an absolutely terrific game which is without equal. But of course, it has its weaknesses, too. Due to its simplicity, some people might not like the gameplay. But if you're looking for a swell and simple game aloof from the mainstream, you'v got the jackpot with No More Heroes.
Censorship – It would have raised the rating of the game even further!
Why are you, dear readers, here again? Okay, lets cut the chase.
Now it becomes quite confusing because the US Version is the only version worldwide with blood effects in it. Any other version doesn't contain one single drop of blood. At least this goes for the international Wii-Version. The worldwide PS3-Version is uncensored with one exception: The Japanese PS3-Version does have the same edits like the international Wii-Version.
What does it mean? Were all the versions censored to get a lower rating? Or is this version the actual version and the US Version was just pimped with blood? Especially the last issue has "burned" into the people's mind. I mean, the Japanese Version doesn't contain one single drop of blood either which is why this version is considered original.
Wel,, what can I say? It makes sense but it's just not true. There are several arguments against that theory:
Exhibit A: One of the first trailer contains Shelter's beheading. A lot of blood splatters (this trailer also exists without any blood splatter).
Exhibit B: The Japanese restrictions for a rating can be pretty tough. A perfect example would be Resident Evil 4. A lot of violence got cut out regularly in Japan. It was similar with the Japanese Version of Resistance 2. The Uncut Version was unplayable on a PS3 with Japanese firmware, no matter which version is being played.
Exhibit C: Goichi Suda aka Suda 51 announced that his new baby was going to be more violent than Manhunt. I have to admit that this comparison is nutty but it's also an arguement against the theory that the Original Version of No More Heroes is the one wothout any blood effects.
Exhibit D: The later released international PS3-Version does not have the censorship. Only the Japanese PS3-version is still censored.
So, who claims the blood-free version of No More Heroes is the original one, also has to admit that the Family Guy premieres on FOX are the uncensored original versions, just like and Seth & Co. intended. Anything else is just for freaks who like redundant swearing and stuff.
Another con is the fact that the splatter effects are much more than just a few blood drops that can be edited in the game in a couple of minutes. In my opinion way too much effort just to make it bloodier for the US market or sth.
Addendi – You don't want this to become No More Heroes: Forever, do you?
Personlly, I suppose that Suda 51 did all this back and forth intentionally - to slam the intransperant chaos at Kill Bill. Quote me if you want, I really believe he's capable of doing sth. like that.
BTW An HD Version of No More Heroes has been recently released for PS3 and 360 in Japan. The Xbox Version is uncensored and rated Z (the highest rating in Japan), the PS3 Version is censored. Facts about an International release are unknown, except that Ubisoft, who released the Wii Version in the US, aren't interested in the distribution.
Compared are the Censored European Version (represented by the German Version, rated USK 16) and the Uncensored US Version (M 17+)
Last but not least, I'd like to thank Gladion for writing the intro in the original comparison for the German site.
I. Blood and Splatter Effects
The Censored European Version lacks almost any blood and splatter effect. Only the little clouds of blood when Travis gets hit remain unchanged.
Beheadings are only possible in the US Version. In the Censored European Version, the hostiles just vanish into thin air. The blood fountains are missing as well.
2. Dissecting Hostiles
Of course, dissecting a hostile is impossible in the Censored European Version. But it's that bloody that the dissected hostile is barely noticable anyway.
3. Exploding Hostiles
In the US Version, the remains of dead hostiles explode with a cloud of blood.
(screen from the Uncensored US Version)
4. Censored Pool of Blood
After fighting Death Metal, his mutilated body is in a pool of blood. In the Censored European Version, there's just a pile of ashes instead.
The many cutscenes are affected by censorings as well.
In the US Version, Helter Skelter gets beheaded. Black blood splatters out of his neck.
1. Cutscene - Arrival at the Mansion
After Travis landed on the ground, the two guards' heads fall off adn blood splatters. In the Censored European Version, they simple dissolve to dust.
After that, Travis dissects the doorman in two parts while he simply vanishes in the Censored European Version.
(Barely recognizable I'm afraid)
2. Cutscene - Fighting Death Metal
Different cutscene after fighting Death Metal in either of the versions.
In the US Version, Travis chops off both of his hands to disarm him (lovely choice of words, don't you think?).
In the Censored European Version, he just hits the sword and Death Metal drops it.
Subsequently, Death Metal gets beheaded by Travis in the US Version. In the Censored European Version, he just crumbles into dust.
3. Cutscene - Fighting Dr. Peace
This cutscene doesn't only lack blood in the Censored European Version but some have been replaced as well.
The blood at Dr. Peace's wound hasn't been removed.
4. Cutscene - Fighting Shinobu
Travis cuts Shinobu's hand off to disarm her. Blood splatters on the ground. In the Censored European Version, he just hits the sword and she drops it - similar to the fight with Death Metal.
5. Cutscene - Fighting Destroy Man
After this wannabe superhero was defeated, Travis stabs him in the back with his sword. Only in the US Version, blood splatters out of his wound. Neither the actual wound nor the corpses and pools of blood spread in the entire room have been censored in the cutscene or the fight itself.
After Travis pulled his sword out of Destroy Man, Destroy Man turns around and fires at Travis with two automatic weapons firmly fixed in his chest. But Travis isn't impressed at all and dissects him vertically. In the Censored European Version, he just crumbles into ashes which is why there's nothing when the camera zooms in to one half of Destroy Man's body.
6. Cutscene - Fighting Holly Summers
Due to Travis incapability of killing Holly Summers, she commitsw suicide by sticking a hand grenade in her own mouth. In the US Version, her head and upper body parts explode. In the Censored European Version, her face just turns bacl after the explosion. It kind of looks like it does in lots of cartoons.
7. Cutscene - Fighting Letz Shake
Only in the US Version, Letz Shake "bursts" in a bloody way.
8. Cutscene - Fighting Harvey Volodarksii
First, the Censored European Version lacks the blood fountain when buzz saw behind the curtain lowers its position (hardly recognizable due to the low Wii resolution).
Later on, Harvey Volodarksii himself gets killed by the buzz saw. The Censored European Version doesn't onkly lack the blood but the curtain also closes faster to cover up what's going on on stage.
9. Cutscene - Fighting Speed Buster
Travis' master gets killed by the explosion. The following blood rain is missing in the Censored European Version.
Finally having reached Speed Buster, Travis chops off the granny's head. one can see how it hits the ground from the head's 'POV. This tracking shot is also in the Censored European Version but glasses, that subsequently hit the ground as well, have been added here.
In the US Version, Sylvia picks up the head. In the Censored European Version, she picks up her head.
10. Cutscene - Fighting Bad Girl
Travis rams hsi katana into Bad Girl's belly. Lots of blood splatters. But of course, it doesn't in the Censored European Version. Here, she just crumbles intodust.
11. Cutscene - Fighting Dark Star
Okay, one actually doesn't fight Dark Star. But I have no intention to come up with a spoiler which is why Travis simply fights the Blond here. Travis remembers how his parents got killed. Only in the US Version, they have been found hacked to death. Consequently, the Blond doesn't have the arm of Travi's mom in her hand.
Moments later, Dark Star gets killed by the Blond, completely blood-free in the Censored European Version of course.
After the final fight, the Blond rams her hand in Travis' chest. Suddenly, Shinobu shows up and cuts off the Blond's lower arm. While the other half still sticks in Travis' chest in the US Version, the Blond just pulls her arm out of Travis in the Censored European Version. She also gets chopped up exclusively in the US Version.
12. Cutscene - The Original End
As soon as one has all 3 beam katanas, the "real" end gets unlocked.
In this cutscene, Travis is on the can. He surprisingly gets attacked but Henry shows up and kills the aggressor. In the US Version, he gets dissected in a really bloody way but he just drops forward in the Censored European Version.