Published on January 17th, 2019 | by Zorbz0
REVIEW – Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
Reviewed by Snrub!
Summary: Much like your parents, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes spends a little too much time trying to seem cool instead of doing its job.
Concept: When it was first announced and awkwardly translated, Suda51 mentioned “discussing new ideas with the indie game community”, and a year later it was teased that Travis would be playing Hotline Miami at some point. What could this mean? Were indie developers working on new content in this studio that would somehow interconnect to the No More Heroes universe while being completely different? Was this going to be 6 or 7 games in one that break the fourth wall and deliver unique experiences in one package? No, don’t be silly.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is an isometric hacky-slashy game where you ‘level up’ the more you hacky-slash. Travis (and Badman if you’re playing co-op on the couch with a friend you want to share your miserable time on this game with) is pulled into a video game world that is loosely based on the one you might remember from No More Heroes (Wii), complete with crapping in toilets to save your game progress, and shaking your controller to recharge your light sword.
There’s a bunch of text to read, for fans of smug banter with the f-word thrown in for apparently comedic effect, and several references to pop culture including Tron, Hotline Miami, Zelda, and Terminator among other things. Cool, dad.
Gameplay: You enter Travis’ trailer and wander around his room. You can shop on his computer for some shirts with logos from Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami, Papers Please, and dozens of other indie games to replace the odd product placement for the Unreal Engine across Travis’ chest if you can work your way around the menus, but the game begins on Travis’ couch where an old-school videogame console is plugged into the TV with “Electric Thunder Tiger” across the screen.
Once the game-within-a-game starts, you are placed into a visually stunning dark tunnel that actually looks pretty cool with particle effects and a reflective surface that looks like the night sky turned rainbow. You then wander into a sparse boxy environment where progress is blocked until you eliminate all the pixel-puking zombie-type creatures, and then do the same thing in the next bit, and the same thing in the next bit, collecting coins because that’s the most video-gamey thing you can do. 6 toilet crap saves later, and you’re fighting the final boss of that game.
You’re then ejected from the monotony and finally free to do something else! You check the game console and still see only one game. Hmm. You wander outside the trailer and see Travis’ motorcycle and the game asks if you’re sure you want to proceed. What are you hiding, game? According to Wikipedia this bit is a “classic visual novel” about Travis looking for more videogames to play. There are no choices to make here, just some blinding green text and pixelated images with no voice acting. C’mon even the first Metal Gear Solid game on the first ever PlayStation could do better than that.
You go back inside after what feels like an eternity, and sure enough, you can now play “Electric Thunder Tiger II” – surely this will be different from the first part? The “new” game opens with Travis naked doing the pose from Terminator II, before you’re tasked with more hacky-slashing the same pixel-pukers with the same weapon but this time it’s different. This time… it looks slightly like Hotline Miami (but made in the Unreal Engine and less fun to play). Amazing!
Sound: The game mostly sounds unremarkable, and although voice actors were hired to shout things during combat their talents were not really used where it matters: to try making the story more engaging than DOOTDOOTDOOT scrolling text noises we could do without. Music was fine with a sort of techno-dubsteppy-synthy sort of feel that fit the Tron/retro aesthetic but nothing worth getting excited about.
Awesomeness/Final Word: Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is a self-indulgent mess that promised input from indie developers but instead took “inspiration” from them to give boring, empty, generic levels a coat of paint. This is a difficult game to recommend, unless you’re a HUGE fan of Suda51’s version of humour which is certainly consistent to say the least, if you like irreverent (or irrelevant) pop-culture references, or if you’re looking to switch your brain off for a few hours fighting waves of clunky AI. Hey, you might be into that! I won’t judge.
Snrub was excited to play the new No More Heroes game with Zorbz and write a review. He now regrets his choices.
Out of 5 Bugs!