Travis Touchdown began his illustrious assassin career on the Wii in No More Heroes, and continued that career in 2010 with No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle also for the Wii. For gamers it has been nine long years since we’ve seen a new game starring Travis Touchdown, the brainchild of one of my favorite developers, Suda 51.
Yes, we got a port of the first game on the PS3 and an earlier edition of Travis Strikes Back on the Switch; but these really haven’t quenched my thirst for a brand new No More Heroes game. I know that Suda 51 developed this title so that he could gain the capital and the clout to make a real No More Heroes 3, which has been announced. But that doesn’t take away the sting of the fact that this isn’t a full blown No More Heroes adventure. I am thrilled a REAL No More Heroes is incoming for the Switch, but I don’t know if Travis Strikes Back: No More Heroes Complete Edition quenches my thirst enough.
Since Suda 51 wrote this title, you know there is going to be 4th wall breaking, insane humor and a ridiculous story. You see all of this in just the opening cut-scene. Birkin otherwise known as Bad Man sits in hiding mourning the loss of his daughter, Charlotte when a mysterious man gives him a call.
This surprises Birkin since he’s been looking for Travis Touchdown for seven years, the mysterious man gives him one last chance to redeem himself, the location of Travis Touchdown and the Death Ball. Bad Man heads off to Texas to kill the man that murdered his daughter, he finds him playing the Death Drive Mk II and during their scuffle they get sucked into the game. The game that you begin your tutorial in is Electric Thunder Tiger II, once you beat this game the world opens up a bit and you begin to look for the remaining five Death Balls to play in the Death Drive MK II.
The design of this game is off the charts, at first you think you’re getting the full blown No More Heroes experience in glorious current gen graphics and then Suda 51 pulls the rug out from you and has Travis running through classic versions of games. These games are obviously not licensed, they’re created for the game only but they take from many older games and pay homage and make fun of some of their mechanics and such.
It was kind of a let down when I first began to play it, but as I progressed through the game the story, writing and combat were all still there, just without the amazing cell-shaded graphics! The enemies and designs have that amazing Suda 51 feel and if you’ve played Killer 7 you know what sound effects you will be encountering, strangely familiar and beautiful ones.
A majority of the game is played in a quasi-top down perspective which put off a lot of gamers, but as you continue through the game it begins to make sense and is insanely fun. This whole game is a love letter to video games, Suda 51 games and gamers.
The mechanics of this game worked really well for the Switch, which I previously played this on, but have a hard time porting over the PS4’s controller. The biggest problem that I saw was when I have to recharge my sword I have to press down on the Left Thumbstick and shake the controller.
In my head doing this all with my left hand should work, nope you have to shake it with both hands or your sword doesn’t charge. I know it’s a little problem but my instincts are to just press and shake with the left hand. The rest of the controls work great, are tight and fit the game perfectly. Square is basic attack and Triangle is heavy attack, when you press Cross you can jump and if you combine it with either attack button you cause more damage to your foes. Since this is a hack and slash you will need to dodge A LOT, so Circle will be your friend.
You find skill chips throughout the game that allow you special moves, you assign them to face buttons and when you press L1 and a face button you unleash hell. As you battle your super special move meter fills, once it fill you can attack by pressing R1 and shaking the controller. This is where the shaking failed a bit too and I had to go it alone during big boss fights.
There are two versions of this game available, one for the Switch and the PS4 version. If you want better controls but don’t care about graphics I would grab the Switch version. If you want to be blown away by the game when the Unreal 4 cut-scenes come on then by all means get the PS4 version, you also get those nifty trophies as well; which I’m a fan of. I have both versions so I can do what I want! This game is fun though, I had a blast tackling the Death Drive MK II with Travis and defeating the six games to have my wish granted. I am going to go back and play through again as Bad Man, you get some different perks and whatnot if you play as him; I also want to see his ending if it’s different.
I will warn you, this game is for niche gamers like me who like the weird and usual to play. I look forward to Suda 51’s games, Swery’s and of course Kojima’s. If the prior two developers mentioned were given the budgets like Kojima the gaming industry would be a very different and weird place. I would love that, and if you want to see more weird, niche games hit the market by all means pick up either version of Travis Strikes Back, you won’t regret it.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher.
What did you think of Travis Strikes Back: No More Heroes Complete Edition? Had you played the game before? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Travis Strikes Back: No More Heroes Complete Edition
Travis Touchdown is finally back, but does his jaunt into a video game within a video game capture the magic of the originals? Let's find out!
- Great Suda 51 story
- Graphic upgrades from the Switch version are very nice
- All other controls are very well done
- It's nice to see Travis back on console after a nine year hiatus
- Shaking controls don't work as well on the PS4 controller
- Can be underwhelming if expecting a full blown No More Heroes game