No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise Hands-On Preview: Travis Touchdown Leaves the Wii Behind… Almost

Who among us can say that they never dreamed of wielding a laser sword? Don’t worry, your midnight fantasies of being a Jedi-like assassin may just come true if you happen to own a PS3. Travis Touchdown is back with his attitude, beam katana, and desperate need to be number one. That’s right, children: the demo for No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is up on the PSN, and here’s a bit of what you can expect from this HD remake of the quirky one-time Wii exclusive.

Platforms: PS3
Publisher: Konami
Developer: AQ Interactive, Feelplus, Grasshopper Manufacture
Genre: Lightsaber-Assassin-with-Attitude Simulator
Release Date: August 16, 2011
ESRB Rating: Mature

The Wii isn’t even dead yet, and the PS3 is already picking at its bones like a hungry vulture. No More Heroes was yet another oddball game from Suda 51 that made some decent use of the Wii motion controls. You play as Travis Touchdown, a nerd with a beam katana and a cat. He meets a beautiful woman at a bar in Santa Destroy who tells him that he is the 11th best assassin in the United Assassins Association. Never one to be outdone, Travis immediately goes after number ten and makes a grocery list of heads that would look better rolling around at his feet as he is crowned the number one assassin.

Heroes’ Paradise is a port from the Wii with some HD textures as well as some tweaks and additions to the overall experience. No More Heroes was an open world game that you could explore on foot or tearing along on Travis’s absurd motorcycle. There were a decent amount of side missions and collectibles to keep you exploring, even if the overworld got a bit boring. They have revamped some of the game mechanics so that after completing any of the missions in Heroes’ Paradise, you can warp back and sever some more limbs for a higher score. Another welcome addition to the PS3 exclusive port are five new side missions, five new assassination missions, and five bosses from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.

So it seems that if you’ve already played through once on the Wii, it might be worth a try with the PlayStation Move. You guessed it: in addition to playing through with your old fashioned controller, you can hack and slash henchmen to bits with the Playstation Move. The controls are similar enough to the Wii to be familiar, but the precision of the Move will definitely add to the experience. The Move is not necessary and the DualShock 3 will work well enough, even if the controls take a bit of getting used to. You will be treated to a slew of tutorials at the beginning of the demo, so don’t fear the blades of would-be assassins.

At the beginning of the game, after jumping through the retro 8-bit-style menus, you are given a mansion that needs a bit of redecorating. The owners would like the walls and ceilings to be blood colored, and Travis is happy to oblige. Heads fly off with Kill Bill-esque amounts of spraying blood as hapless minions come at you with guns, katanas, and brass knuckles. After painting the inside of the mansion a new color of crimson, you make your way around to the back to find your target, who has a butcher’s knife so large it would make Cloud from Final Fantasy VII blush. Dispatch him, and you have completed the demo.

Travis has high and low beam katana and hit attacks. You will need to analyze which type of guard your enemy is using and choose the appropriate opposite attack. After a few strikes of the beam katana, you will be asked to perform a death blow. You then have to click the right stick down and point it in the designated direction. Occasionally, you will lock attacks with your opponent and have to spin the right stick to dislodge your sword and decapitate them. Travis evidently had his beam katana built by Michael Faraday. It loses a bit of energy with each strike, and to recharge the weapon, you must press R1 and shake the controller vigorously by your crotch as Travis does the same with his sword on the screen. You also have access to lock-on targeting, blocking, and professional wrestling moves that make use of of both analog sticks. The combat takes a little while to get used to, but it is a new and fun way of wading through enemies in lieu of mashing the Square button.

The largest problem with No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is that it feels like a Wii port. The controls are still very clunky at times, the framerate drops when there is more than ten gallons of blood on screen (which is quite often), and there are invisible walls galore. That being said, I enjoyed revisiting my old pal Travis, even if he is a smartass otaku who spews macho sentiment like a fountain of testosterone. Heroes’ Paradise is shaping up to be a fun ride, and for 40 bucks, it might just be well worth it.

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