No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a game designed by Suda51. The man named after the number of sodas I drink per day. A hack and slash game with NES style mini-games with colorful and interesting boss fights. Compared to the last game, the developers removed the open world which is a positive if you ask me and the PC port team didn’t want to be left out on the chopping block trend, so they removed stability from the game. Well I can’t give the game 11/10, so it remains a 10/10 for me but since the game is more flawed, it’ll get a lower score in a more objective department so here’s your4/10 Engine Software because I also lost 5 or 6 scores when I was doing a review.
I'm glad you’ve all been waiting for me to make another reviewto make a purchasing decision. As the slowest reviewer in the world, I'm finally ready to review No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. We'll look at it’s port quality, audio, visuals, story and gameplay in the same order. As usual, this isn’t a spoiler free review.
Oh, here we go again... Why is this happening again? The game is ported to PC with the amount of care people put into cleaning their septic tank. And surprisingly, Engine Software has been porting games for a while, and they are just getting worse!
First one I saw was kilelr7 with mouse and keyboard support and controller, and you could rebind the keys than No More Heroes came and removed the keyboard and mouse support and the key binding and now NoMore Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle came, and they couldn’t even be bothered to make the game stable. You have to run this new port in Windows 7 compatibility mode to avoid crashing a lot.
The game still can’t tell the difference between Left and Right Analog Stick, Despite no Mouse and Keyboard support you can navigate menus with a mouse and the options might as well have been "What do you want your anti analyzing to be?" and the biggest crime was that there was no way to pick your resolution, and it uses display settings for it. If you scale your screen using the Windows display settings to say 125%, it means that the game will run in 720p instead of 1080p. Why?
A bad port is better than no port, but at least put the effort in when you are getting paid to do it.
This section is going to be sliced to several other sections. Voice acting, Music and sound effects, Now let’s get to it.
The voice acting in this game is music to my ears. They are impactful, have good quality and have emotion in them. No line comes across as forced either, but the dialogue is very 80s action herostyle.
Travis’s voice suits his behavior, but definitely doesn’t suit his murderous side. But you know, this game doesn’t take itself serious, and it shows you that the moment it breaks the 4th wall, and Travis’s voiceis perfect for that. Shinobu is young and confident, his brother is as British as ever and Silvia is…Silvia.
Aside from the cast that remain alive by the end of the game, the bosses are also in the well voice acted crowd. They deliver their lines with confidence, and they are well written too… Aside from the dude whose lips are stitched together because you know… he doesn’t talk.
The soundtrack of this game is honestly good, The main theme is one of my favorite tracks on earth and a lot of the tracks that play during the game are variations of it, in different music genres. Aside from that, there are some other tracks which are rock for the most part. I remember a track that was… Have you seen the show "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo!"? There was a track in the style of the intro to that cartoon series. Basically, all tracks are made toget your blood pumping.
It’s the second game, and it’s time to up our game, said the developers. "Since we didn’t spend time on the open world, we put in more death screams. Instead of one death scream, we have one death scream per enemy type!" I’m not a fan of these screams. They feel low quality, but nothing too bad. They are way better than the one from the first game that you could hear from Mars.
The gun sounds sound pretty off. The SMGs sound fine, but the pistols sound like something out of a PS2 game, but the swords? They are great. The sound of clashes and Beam Katanas are great.
Well there are 2 sections here, the UI and the actual graphics of the game, and let’s start with the UI because I have fewer things to sayabout it.
The UI here as 2 steps forward and one step back. It has a few elements, There’s no longer 3 types of map because there is no open world and the mini map actually shows where you are instead of the weird normal stuff mapped on a pixel art thingy. Still flawed thou, for example, is a hallway that is symmetrical, you need to rely on the map to know where you should go. The map uses a different color for the things that are not on the same plane as you, but the stuff above and below you use the same color, so you look at the map and think you have to go to one side just to see it’s the wrong side because you have to go down.
Your sword charge is showed by a battery with a balloon doll on top of it that gets deflated as its charge is reduced, followed by some beep sounds when it’s low on battery. Pachinco machine at the bottom to show how you’re doing in terms of power ups and a tiger going to a flag to show how long you have until you run out of power up, and it goes red when you can go to rage mode but the biggest issue I want to bring up here is the health bar.
In the previous game, when you upgraded your health, a mini heart with a different color would show up on your main health, but here you don’t see that. You do not see a number for your health either, so you never know how much extra health you have, because the heart doesn’t change shape either, so you do not know if you can with stand some hits.
The combat UI is actually worse. People have their health bar above them, so you can see what you are doing to people you aren’t focused on and when you focus on a guy the circle appears here, on the other hand this time the circle doesn’t change depending on if you can land a hit or not. This makes it less useful than the previous game, doesn’t mean it was causing too much trouble. It just needs some getting used too.
Oh, god! Where do I start with this? In my previous review, I said these games were remasters, which turned out to be lies. Some websites said they are remasters, but they are just re-releases, so I do take that part back. Not the polygons part thou, they are awful.
I don’t mean the polygon count cause that falls under it looking bad for a remaster. By Polygon I mean there are gaps between the polygons of the models! How did that happen? Also how is this still a thing since the last game? It’s not as noticable but it is there. Despite those the graphics have improved a bit and that is enough for me to like them more. For starters the blinding whites aren’t there anymore and lastly they increased the saturation so our funny action game look like a funny action game and not a XBOX 360 era realistic shooter. So can’t say the visual fidelity has improved a lot but they have improved.
Here we go. The fun part for me. In this game, you play as Travis Touchdown, an otaku gamer that succeeded where we all failed by actually getting laid!
Warning: For those of you who skipped the intro, This is not going to bespoiler free.
When the story began I thought we had a parallel narrative going on, but when I thought about it more I realized we are just listening to someone telling their memories. The game began, the Camera is in first person. We go to some sort of booth to talk to a woman that you don’t see her eyes. I instantly knew who the woman and the man were, but for those who are new or get distracted by clouds and shiny objects, by the end of the game you too shall know who the man and woman are.
After playing this game, I finally understood why I like Suda51 games. It’s a life sim. Not in a way that simulates working at a Starbox or a high schooler. The simulator of a daily schedule. A set of stuff you do every time and as time goes on you get better at it, so you do more, every once is a while, you call in sick for the day and someone else does it for you and every time there’s a thing that changes a bit like a boss that you have to motor bike to death.
In this case we are called to go somewhere and kill someone which is the goal, the massive amount of goons you reduce to a plate of Swiss cheese are the paper works, the mini-games are the bathroom breaks and so on.
Each mission begins by the first person man listening to the telephone woman telling him about a rumor or a legend or something. Then we are transitioned to the mission, and we know time has passed because the telephone the woman’s underwear has changed. Speaking of underwear…
The sexy jokes are everywhere, and they don’t end just in the dialogue. Here’s and example:
In a cutscene, Sylvia tell you that killing gives Travis ecstasy, and it is like he is getting turned on. Ecstasy is an actual meter in the game. It is filled with something that looks like an adult magazine, but it doesn’t end there. There’s a sword in game that is slow and pretty short unless your Ecstasy meter is full, then it's going to be be half a room long! So they successfully took a joke from a cutscene and took it all the way to a tiny mechanic! Well done guys.
And with this amazing joke explained, we go to the part you guys careabout, the gameplay.
It is the sequal and to subvert expectations they removed features instead of adding them. The removed feature, was the open world, and I could not have been happier. No more driving around a pointless open world, although here is the thing. Not having an open world removes the sense of real life aspect the previous game had because of it is open world. Driving by cars and people you could not care less about to get to your destination, really felt like the times I drive to my university.
Since they removed the open world, what did they replace it with? A bunch of things, really. Now instead of an open world, you can walk around an equally pointless store. Yes, instead of stores and your house being a menu they are a space that you can walk around in and the mission areas are massive this time around, but that is not all my fellow readers. Since we don’t have an open world to render, we can now afford to render some other things like jiggle physics... yeah... I am not kidding. And it’s not like a fine-tuned one, either. How do I explain this? Have you installed a physics mod for ElderScrolls V: Skyrim but didn't give it a physics preset? It looks like that.
Come on guys the rest of the game’s disc space has to contain more than just jiggle physics and the game does not disappoint so let's talk about the gameplay loop.
We talked about how we begin the mission in the story section, so we have to talk about the rest. The first step is killing goons. When we’re done with them, it is boss fight time. After that, we reach a point that things have changed. I suggest going out and doing the revenge missions, then go do some jobs and go to the gym to level up. After all of that, go buy some weapons and finally cloth, then do the main missions. I will explain how the missions work later.
Things are pretty much the same as last time in here. Look for chests to find magazines to learn wrestling moves, after mission hit the gym to get more health and deal more damage, buy new weapons from the inventorlady, but a new addition to that is playing with your cat mini-game that gives you the ultimate attack once you make her fit. Too bad I never used it because I prefer stun locking people to death than dealing a large chunk of damage at a time, but I do appreciate the combos that utilize more buttons than one, at least for Travis. As far as plot goes,Travis is only in for 10 missions, 2 missions as Shinobu and a dream as Travis’s somehow British brother, but you do have combos for the most part and a lot of the things I say here will only go for Travis. Let’s begin with attack first, because the combat is actually pretty detailed here.
You can just attack like a lunatic without any aim but what you are expected to do is to focus on your enemy than attack which gives you alot of other options as a result, but we leave that to their own sections. You have your high attack and your low attack. Not only that, but you also have a dedicated kick and punch buttons giving you access to more combos, but that’s only for Travis. Shinobu trades her punches and kicks in exchange for access to the third dimension, so she can jumpand has a jump attack, but she can’t suplex people to death like Travis despite her owning Japan’s Wrestling Championship belt. We get to playas Travis’s Brother for one boss fight too, and he traded his kicks and punches with a dash to left and right. Thanks for keeping it Fancy Mr. Henry, but I much rather have the suplex city ticket.
Every attack also has a charged model. Shinobu does one of her spacial moves from the previous game that sends two sword slash waves to the target, Travis’s brother (Henry) has a very small charge-up time and throws a projectile and Travis just does a powerful attack but in this game they are a lot less powerful and eat up way too much charge, so it’s not really worth doing, and I was maxed out and had this issue.
You attack until the HP bar of the enemy reaches zero. On the other hand, if you kick or punch them, you get a chance to make them dizzy halfway through tehir health as well as dealing damage. Once the HP bar is depleted you have to perform a finisher, just mind the charge meter that Travis and Shinobu have despite Shinobu having a katana. With that said, let’s talk about finishers.
After bashing a dude to death, We have to finish him off. Choosing between turning him to Swiss cheese or take him to suplex city is decided by what you attack him with. Swords to slice the dude and anyone in his general vicinity and your punch and kick to… well what do you think is going to happen? Give him a hug? Get real.
I think this game handles finishers a bit differently because sometimes I can miss the execution and I swear to god the game does not know how to handle the dual sword because it sometimes just doesn't read the inputs that require both, left and right analog sticks. So the best sword in the game has a chance to fail execution. It's not a big deal unless you are on the Bitter difficulty.
After a dude is finished off using a finisher, we reach a new mechanic that I called power up.
After a successful execution you get to see a pachinco machineplaying in front of you and if it works you get power ups ranging from a charge attack that kills everyone in the room to a power up that turns you in to a tiger that one hit kills everyone. This is a massive improvement because in the last game you got these after each enemy wave, and you usually got powers when there was nobody there to use it on. But man can’t live with attack alone, so we are moving to the dodge and guard section.
Dodge and gaurd:
Remember when I said focusing on someone opens up some other options to you? Well, this is it.
Once you focus on someone you gain the ability to block incoming attack as long as your sword has some battery left and dodge by flicking the right analog stick in one of the main 4 axis and if you are a good boy and dodge at the last second, maybe you will be rewarded with “WitchTime” or whatever it is called here. Pulling this off is much harder in this game compared to the last game, but boy it feels amazing when it happens.
I talked about how the combat plays, so lett’s talk about the rest of the game, starting with the missions.
You have 4 types of missions:
Almost all of them are the same as Main missions which I explained inthe previous section, but each with a little twist. Main missions are you slicing threw goons until you reach a boss. After each rank you have to kill more goons to reach them until, at some point, I think we cut through half of Santa Destroy’s male population before we get to the boss, and boy some of these levels are big. My life for a run button.
Revenge missions throw you in a room with a bunch of goons, and you have to kill one specific guy in that room under a time limit, but I have never failed to do this on any difficulty. There's also a single defense mission which is just a boss battle that you can get or miss halfway through the campaign if you don't do every revenge mission or job, but Jobs… are a different story.
If you do the missions back to back, the game will start to feel very repetitive and mono tone, so there needs to be something to balance that out. A form of downtime from the chaotic hack and slash and screams of agony that your enemies make. If only there was a way to fix that. Oh, wait, there is… Jobs.
The jobs in this game got a lot more attention and became NES style games. Isn’t it interesting how far has technology improved? Those mini-games could be classified as games in the NES era, but now, they are just mini-games. Sadly, most of them aren’t really replayable. For example, the water pipe mini-game is always the same thing, so it’s not really a puzzle anymore. They don't scale with difficulty, either.
One Job is like the last game thou, and it’s the scorpion catching mini-game, but that got an upgrade too. You can get poisoned by them here. I’m not a fan of NES era, and it’s arcade like games, but these mini-games are a massive improvement over the previous game. One might ask: why should you even do these mini-games? And the answer is to earn cash to buy stuff.
Unlockables, upgrades and purchases:
This game starts where the previous game left off when it comes to the economy. Everything starts a bit grindy, which was the way the previous game ended. The distribution of stuff isn't as good as theprevious game. Around the mid-point of the game, a huge chunk of cloth becomes available for purchase so if you grind to buy all of them, you won't get any new cloth to buy for the rest of the game so don't grind and just do your daily routing in the game. Even when it comes to your sword upgrades, they stop becoming available halfway through the game, and you will never get an infinite charge Beam Katana like the last game. But hey, you can switch between swords during the missions… very pointless to do because they don’t make much of a difference, but you can do it.
Your health and strength upgrade system have changed too. They became another NES style mini-game. The health one becomes a “Stay on the belt” thingy as the direction of the belt changes and the strength one becomes a “parry the attacks” thing and forget about spamming buttons in that, because it will not work in your favor.
Sadly the collectibles are a let-down here, The previous game gave you concept art to collect but here…you just collect wrestling magazines, not very interesting stuff. With all that said, let’s see how difficult the game is and wrap things up.
This game is certainly more difficult than the previous game and the bitter difficulty will tear you apart if you aren’t careful with your moves, but still very manageable until the last boss. The last boss cranks up the difficulty up to 11. It’s supposed to be a difficulty curve, not a difficulty wall.
The higher the difficulty, the faster, stronger and tankier the enemies become, so the last boss of the game can deplete your health with a few hits and one of his moves in his second phase gives you a very small window to react and dodge. Add that with the window in that battle, and you get a ticket straight to hell because if you fall out of the window you will die immediately. Fortunately you do not restart the fight from the beginning, each phase is a check point and in the second phase you will discover the game’s biggest issue.
If you paid attention, I said the last boss will “Deplete” your health, not kill you. For some reason, enemies have a hard time finishing you off. When you run out of health the screen gets a bit blurry, you get a Call of Duty flash bang noise, and Travis struggles to walk for a bit. If you stay alive and not do a death scream, You recover some health and keep going.
How do you stay alive and not die? I have no idea. Sometimes I died the first time I ran out of health, sometimes five and sometimes 10. I have no idea how this works, that’s why I said enemies have trouble finishing you off and this concludes our review of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
Overall NoMore Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle improves the gameplaywhile messing up the rest of the things and held back by an awfulport.