Anyone claiming that violent, adult games don't have a place on Wii should be pointed in the direction of the original No More Heroes. Insane levels of action, a bonkers sense of humour and some of the most offensive language you'll hear on Nintendo's little white box all combined to make an experience like no other. That said, we did have issues with No More Heroes' gameplay, issues that its sequel Desperate Struggle has aimed to address.
For the most part, it manages this with flying colours. Usually red. With a head attached. If you've ever played the original No More Heroes, the first thing you'll notice when you start playing Desperate Struggle is blood. Lots and lots of blood. This is a big deal because the original game was, for some reason or another, released in a censored state with all the blood removed.
I Need A Hero
Blood aside, the general gameplay is more or less business as usual. As Travis, you have to kill a series of assassins in order to fight your way to the top of a rankings table. So you'll be ploughing your way through a variety of enemies, cutting them to bits with your beam katana, until they're all defeated and you can make your way to the boss fight.
There are two main types of attack Travis can perform with his beam katana, depending on whether you tilt the Wii Remote up or down as you press the A button to attack. Tilting it up makes Travis perform quicker, less powerful attacks, while tilting it down results in much stronger attacks which are also significantly slower and easier for opponents to avoid or block. This tilting mechanic also works with the melee attacks (performed with the B button), with an upward tilt making Travis punch and a downward tilt resulting in a kick. You can also play with the Classic Controller.
Fighting normal opponents can get a little frustrating at times, as some opponents will take a lot of hits to kill and others will block an infuriatingly high proportion of Travis's attacks.
The boss designs are typically crazy, ranging from a little girl in a mech suit to a Russian astronaut armed with a laser. That said, there are a few designs that aren't quite as 'out there' as others such as Ryuji, a motorbike-riding samurai who, despite being able to summon purple energy shaped like a dragon, could easily slot into any generic Japanese action game.
Boss fights are as lengthy as usual and can be really tough, even on the game's lowest difficult settings. It's likely to take you a couple of goes to figure out the technique needed to destroy each enemy, and even once you've got it sorted you're still likely to get floored by a few cheap attacks. Still, the length of these fights mean that when you finally defeat them and do the required on-screen prompt to deliver the killer blow, there's a great sense of achievement as you watch the typically ridiculous cut-scene that follows.
The main criticism we had with the original game was the bike sections as you rode from destination to destination down a series of empty streets. This time the driving sections have been scraooed and you can reach the missions, shops and jobs can be reached with a simple press of the A button on the map screen
On The Job
Speaking of the jobs, these have been greatly improved as well. The dull side-games have been replaced by old-school NES-style games and while a couple are stinkers (the one where Travis has to cook steaks for fat customers) the majority are a good laugh and actually quite playable.