So…… Yeah, go read Part 1 and Part 2 of this review if you missed them. As for now, we still have five assassins to defeat, and… yes, that’s what awaits. And… not much else, really. There will be a lot to say here, so I’ll jump right into the plot if you don’t mind.
|Most boring level ever. But the Sith-like enemies|
are pretty cool.
Travis gets to Assassin #5, Letz Shake (no, really, that’s his name), and the fight “starts”.
With all the pictures of him that I'm using, you'd
believe he's important or something.
|Ah yes, a rain of red. I've gotten used to it by now.|
But holy shit, this guy split a giant weapon in two!
|Holy shit, this guy has a beam katana with four beam cross guards!|
AND he's in ann awesome suit! ....Wait a fucking second, he just
stole my kill, why do I act like a fanboy all of a sudden?
Well, Travis did get up a rank, but he didn’t get the fight he wanted. It’s like what he really wants is not the satisfaction of being #1, but just to fight others to prove that he’s the best, like some competitive video game player. And the others are just obstacles to overcome.
Okay, who’s doing that? I’m starting to get really fucking tired to be reminded of the film called Gamer! Who is editing those images into my review? WHO? No answer? Sigh… too bad, I’ll just move on.
So, we collect the money for the entrance fee by doing jobs around town. You want to know two things that annoy me about this game? For starters, for a “wide open sandbox”, there is very little to do. There’s that side-quest with the Lovikov balls, this can take a few hours of your time, that’s good. There’s the Rampage missions, which are pretty challenging since you’re left with a single HP against ten or more enemies. But there are no city-wide quests. And the upper half of Santa Destroy has almost nothing of interest. You could do random assassination gigs or odd jobs… but here’s my issue #2 with this. To enter an assassination gig, you have to drive to K-Entertainment, pick a mission there, then drive through town to reach the place where the assassination takes place. Travis’s X-Wing-themed bike is fast, but it can still take you a minute or two to reach the location of the assassination. You MUST pass by K-Entertainment, there is no other way, because those gigs don’t appear on the map until you pick a mission. Okay, I can kind of understand that, it would add a lot of signals to the map.
However, the same
applies to the Job Center; to enter a mini-game to earn money, you need to go
to the Job Center, pick the job you want to do, then head out to go play the
mini-game. It’s long and tedious, and things would be a lot simpler if all the
odd jobs were always available on the map as soon as you unlock them; you could
do them to your leisure, without having to drive around this boring, boring
city for a few minutes before you can earn the money to get to the next ranked
battle. So there, the wide open sandbox in this game is actually rather poor.
Now I’ll close this parenthesis and go on with Rank #4.
|No man has been both this cool and dorky while mowing|
the lawn since Weird Al in the White And Nerdy video.
Paying his entrance fee, Travis gets a call from Sylvia that invites him to watch a show. Said show will be the battle against assassin #4. So Travis takes the subway to get there, and on the way has a weird dream about his favorite game series, Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly. The mini-game is fine, but the less we discuss the context around that mini-game the better. Travis then arrives at his destination.
|He seems friendly alright... too bad this game is about|
killing people. In Tomodachi Life, we could have been pals.
|I don't think that was part of the show. Get me down!|
Oh, by the way, it’s heavily implied that this whole battle is taking place before an audience. Making a show out of murder, for the enjoyment of the mindless masses. Showing all that violence that we lap up because it looks fun – I mean, I have fun so far playing No More Heroes, but that doesn’t make any of the events any less horrifying. Now where have I seen a similar concept before...
ALRIGHT! FINE! FINE I WILL WRITE THE FUCKING COMPARISON! HAPPY NOW? I WILL GET INTO THAT! In a moment. So, despite Harvey’s various traps, Travis comes out as winner. The laser katana cuts Harvey’s eyes, then his assistants strap him in that same death trap Travis was in at the beginning, and Harvey gets cut in half as the curtains close. And thus Travis becomes assassin #4.
Now, here is what this whole review had been wanting me to say. Multiple times. Fucking flashbacks to that piece of shit film. Now, you might be quick to point out that No More Heroes is actually closer to something like the Scott Pilgrim series; for one, numbered enemies. Second, these works feature two main characters who are not exactly “heroes”, going against people who are even worse, in some kind of quest to serve their interests above those of others. Third, both works try to humanize the opponents by showing more about their personalities, even if they pass by only for a fraction of the whole work.
|Yeah, these two guys are not so different.|
I can't say one is worse than the other.
|Fuck! I thought I'd never see this guy's face again!|
Well, outside of Old Spice commercials, that is.
|Who knows what kind of creepy fetishes he jacked off|
to in that armchair. Neither do I want to know how many
tissue boxes he goes through each month.
What’s more, Travis himself is self-aware. He knows that he’s in a video game, and he often breaks the fourth wall, like he is talking to the player. In fact, the player follows Travis around (obviously) and participates in the murder sprees by doing the finishing move against weaker enemies (by swinging the Wii remote the way Travis swings his beam katana), and also moves the Wii remote and Nunchuk when Travis pulls a wrestling attack. For all intents and purposes, these movements are meant to let the player emulate what Travis does on the screen; Travis IS the player. And the game keeps the same attitude towards him, pointing out time and time again that he's a loser. This game, No More Heroes, is calling YOU a loser for enjoying the gratuitous violence it shows.
|Just change the names to those of the Gym|
Leaders, Elite 4, and Champion, and
switch from "killing" to "beating in
a Pokémon battle" and you can
see what I mean here.
Thankfully, Pokémon also does its best
to humanize its "bosses".
All this violence is wrong, and you should feel ashamed for liking it; that’s the message behind this game. And yet it glorifies its own violence with all the faceless opponents that you kill before a boss fight and during assassination gigs, and makes the violence appealing – and fun – despite the message. The message is hypocritical in its own context, but I guess that’s why they break the fourth wall; to point out the hypocrisy of their message. And to make it clear that they’re talking to the player, that according to this game the player is just as wrong in enjoying this as the game’s developers were in making a show out of murder. Yes, this is fiction, but it can be seen as a denouncement of violent media in general, and calling out those who enjoy it… Not as far as being an insult, but it's definitely the theme that comes out upon analysis of the events of the game. There was no such message in Gamer, where the violence was equally glorified with little, if any, indication that Tillman was as wrong as his opponents. And while Gamer did call out the gamers, those were such ridiculous stereotypes, such strawmen, that they couldn't be taken seriously. Only when a gamer was actually controlling an actual killer, in an actual video game where murder is given center stage, that this message could make any sense. Okay, are we done now? Good? Will I stop seeing pictures of that shitty film now? Yes? Thanks! Let’s FINALLY move on to Assassin #3.
...By the way, sorry for the long tangent. I got carried away.
...By the way, sorry for the long tangent. I got carried away.
|Just a quick reminder that despite all his depravity,|
Travis is still the proud owner of an adorable kitten.
Who happens to be plot-relevant against Assassin #3.
After getting the money – where does all that money go, anyway? – Travis heads out towards Assassin #3, who lives in Speed City, a neighboring town. Travis has to take the bus to go there, but he doesn’t notice his kitten Jeane following him all the way to the bus station, then on the bus, then on the battlefield. Seriously though, how did she do that? Did she hide on Travis’s bike when he was driving to the station? Travis has to be freaking blind not to see his kitty here. Anyway, who’s Assassin #3? Speed Buster? Sounds like a cool name. What, he has super-speed like Sonic? Oh wait, it’s a woman, really? Huh. That’s good, a nice change of pace. Is she cool? What does she look like? …Oh, it’s an old, fat, man-hating woman traveling around with a shopping cart? Um… you gotta be kidding me, right?
|No! Thunder Ryu! You were the most reasonable human|
being in the entire game! even more so than Bishop,
Naomi, and Holly!
|That's not even half the length of that cannon. Seriously,|
it's like, 300 feet long. Minimum. A cannon this long
should be too heavy to stay in midair! How does it stay up?
That's a riddle for the ages.
|Yes, that was a nuclear antimatter beam.|
Courtesy of an old woman.
|I don't care who Speed Buster is. This has got to be the|
most awesome attack I have ever seen in a game.
This old lady is Badass.
|"I'll be as good as Thunder Ryu was? Sorry, I'm not a|
hero. Not even an anti-hero. I'm closer to villain
protagonist, or even nominal hero. But hey, we nevcer
know, things might change."
Okay, this was not a “boss” in the normal sense of the word, but damn, this was fucking awesome. Well, like I said earlier; the game and its violence are actually pretty cool, there's just that underlying feeling of wrongness that never goes away. However, this review has been going on for too long, so I’ll cut here for today. See you in Part 4 this Monday.