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Review: ‘Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes’ just watered down wackiness

Travis+Strikes+Again%3A+No+More+Heroes+never+actually+has+more+than+10+seconds+of+this+fight.
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Review: ‘Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes’ just watered down wackiness

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes never actually has more than 10 seconds of this fight.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes never actually has more than 10 seconds of this fight.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes never actually has more than 10 seconds of this fight.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes never actually has more than 10 seconds of this fight.

By Jeremy Brown, Arts & Entertainment Editor

“Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes” is made for the people who already know Goichi Suda’s library of titles and love them. While it does bring back the titular protagonist in all his vulgarity after nearly a decade, you should not buy this if you aren’t already a fan of Travis Touchdown.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
Genre: Hack and slash / Action
Rating: M for blood, drug references, partial nudity, strong language, violence
Developed by: Grasshopper Manufacture
Published by: Grasshopper Manufacture, Nintendo
Price: $30 (digital) $40 (physical)

Final Grade: B-

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Suda, or commonly called Suda51, and his studio Grasshopper Manufacture are the defining developers of cult classics in video games, consistently making the most niche, bizarre games such as Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer7.

Suda51 crams in deep-cut references throughout ranging from simple nods to outright teasing full sequels to the studio’s best works. The basic conceit is that as Travis himself is a gamer and he is sucked into this Death Drive Mk. II console, he gets to notice and poke fun just as much as the player.

But Travis’s gameplay within these games he inhabits is underwhelming at best and frustrating at worst. You’ll be repeatedly using light or heavy attacks to smack through droves of enemies early on, but once the enemy types grow by the second half, you’ll need to use your assorted special moves.

The movement is usually stable, but when action gets stressful, the controls aren’t responsive enough to make you feel as though there’s enough breathing room for you to experiment with your arsenal.

Special moves become vital to your tactics later on, because enemies have enough health that the default moves will feel like throwing Tic-Tacs at boulders. Many times they’re just as agile as Travis and can easily stun you out of your health without any clear way to stop it.

The larger enemies take up so much screen real estate, it’s hard to see what you’re even doing.

Even with this challenge you’ll get tired of seeing the enemies because they threw every enemy type at you in every level, making none of the settings feel as distinct. While the game isn’t very long, it should’ve cut a third of its fights and made for better pacing.

Boss fights are the most entertaining moments because they change things up substantially, and each gain more moves as the fights progress. But they don’t feel like final tests of your abilities as the player, just a more unique fight in which you’ll still use the exact same special moves.

When Travis Strikes Again is willing to abandon the hack-and-slash combat, it really shines. There’s a brief, entertaining racing section that requires shifting gears, as well as a stressful timing-based gridlock puzzle section. These make the different games of the Death Drive Mk. II unique, but they aren’t as frequent as they should be.

Story is primarily told through an old-school text adventure. If you don’t mind extended 15-minute periods reading fourth-wall breaking humor and tongue-in-cheek unnecessary subplots, it’s a fun aspect of Travis Strikes Again. None of it is deep, shocking or memorable, but it’s enough if you just want to see Travis talk. If not, you can skip through it quickly.

The story very rarely gets told in any fashion other than this. Most of the conversations are this mundane, as well.

From a tech standpoint, the game runs smoothly with a paired-down, less exaggerated and thus less interesting art style than the main No More Heroes games. In co-op sessions you will probably run into framerate dips, but they don’t ever hinder the game enough to complain about.

While this game is a hopeful teaser for Grasshopper Manufacture’s future, it’s not worth purchasing for people who aren’t already on board from the title alone. Suda51’s return as director doesn’t break any new ground, nor match up to what he’s revered for, but his writing is enough to make die-hard fans smile for the time they’ve put into his franchises.

Arts & Entertainment Editor Jeremy Brown can be reached at [email protected]

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