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No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle review: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

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The quest to make Travis look even more ridiculous continues. (Credit: GameSpot)

No More Heroes 2 features a much more streamlined method of navigating Santa Destroy than the original game — you simply pick where you want to go on the map and you're there. Ranked matches also no longer require entrance fees, which means that if you want to go directly from one fight into the next to keep the action going, you can. Working side jobs is still a necessity, though, if you want to stay abreast of Dr. Naomi's latest weapons technology, update Travis' punk couture, or work out to increase your max health and damage output. This time around, you earn cash through simple and delightful 2D retro games by performing tasks such as exterminating bugs, delivering pizzas and collecting trash in space. These fully featured but nonetheless brief minigames are a great way to relax in between murder sprees, but if you prefer an aside that's a bit more "hands on," you can always hunt down the goons directly responsible for Travis' best friend's death. As intriguing as this may sound, the revenge missions are ultimately disappointing — they're simply timed deathmatches, and the hit men fight and act no differently than the average thug, which is a huge missed opportunity for more nutty villainy.

Desperate Struggle utilises a highly stylised, cel-shaded look that delivers some of the most striking graphics that the Nintendo Wii has to offer. Even in the midst of a bloody massacre, the action unfolds smoothly and without stutter. The game's greatest weakness, however, lies in its camera system. Though you can lock on to enemies and it's easy to reset the camera, it all too often doesn't know where to look, and things aren't much better in the handful of nonstandard sequences during which you're given direct control over it. On the positive side, Desperate Struggle includes an all-star voice cast, from the lovable and gleefully self-aware Travis to the sexy French siren Sylvia to the Irish badass Henry and beyond. Accompanying the great vocal performances is a wicked, eclectic soundtrack full of catchy punk and rock songs, fantastic retro themes, and brilliant parodies of cliche anime music.

Despite a couple of key shortcomings, such as a poor camera system and a general lack of rival assassin characterisation, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is an overall improvement upon its predecessor. This greatly streamlined game throws out the tedium of the original, and a host of smart changes to the side jobs make even plumbing fun and rewarding. While an average play-through will last you 10 to 12 hours, you can easily put in more time by searching for all of the hidden collectibles, by earning enough cash to complete Travis' wardrobe set, and by replaying boss battles for low clear times in the unlockable Deathmatch mode. Whether you're yearning for a fun and violent Wii action game or simply want to live out a secret Star Wars fantasy of duel-wielding laser swords, No More Heroes 2 is the game for you.

Via GameSpot.

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