So, now that I've had time to sleep and rid myself of my headache, I can collect my thoughts and write my NMH 2 review. Yay! <div align="center"><img src="http://chasmang.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/bold-no-more-heroes-2.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div> Personally, this was my biggest game of the year. Screw Mario, screw Zelda, screw Mickey Mouse, Travis Touchdown takes my gold here. I actually pre-ordered and bought this game, and I haven't bought a Wii game (or any video game) in a while. I was feeling very hyped with all the features they toted and talked about, but quite honestly it feels like they decided to chop those out, and overall it feels like a disappointment to original NMH fans. The story follows Travis Touchdown, three years after he tops the UAA list of assassins. Since then, Travis has retired from the ranks of assassination, and Santa Destroy as turned into a growing metropolis due to the Pizza Bat corporation. Travis faces off against Skelter Helter (the brother of Helter Skelter in the original NMH) and after defeating him (yes, you fight him, it's basically your tutorial), Travis is thrown back into the ranks, starting at #51. Soon after, Travis' best friend, Bishop, is killed by the hitmen, hired by the head of Pizza Bat and in a twist of fate, the #1 ranked assassin. So you'll be following Travis, fighting through the ranks, getting to the top to avenge Bishop. The story shows a little more of a passionate side of Travis, since he's pissed off and out for revenge, and the whole story oozes with quirkiness and style. You'll see a return of a lot of the main players of the first NMH, including Slyvia, Henry, and Shinobu, as well as some of the original bosses of NMH returning. The story line is also a lot more cinematic, with lots of cutscenes and more character development. It'll keep original fans satisfied, at least. Lots of style, lots of charm, lots of quirk. Definitely one of the better Wii storylines. When Suda51 and the team set out on No More Heroes, they set out on correcting the flaws of the first game. Great, awesome, that's what every good developer should do. However, the main flaw the team has is that instead of fixing the flaws, they just trashed the concepts. And quite frankly, the concepts that were flawed could easily be amazing concepts when fixed. The open world of No More Heroes was kinda boring, since there wasn't much to do outside of wandering around and doing jobs. Not a lot of sidequests and the like. But, if you think about it, fixing this and creating a GTA-esque world, with tons of sidequests and a much larger world (especially since Santa Destroy has grown exponentially since the first game), would've been great. Yeah, it would've been, but it isn't. They trashed the concept of an open world and made everything navigated by one giant map. You choose a place to go (whether it be Airport 51 to buy clothes, Naomi's lab to buy beam katanas, your next ranking match, or your side jobs), and you go there. It makes the game feel incredibly linear, honestly, and it annoys the shit out of me. Santa Destroy is now a huge metropolis, I want to explore it. But I can't at all. I only get a handful of locations to go through the entire game, and that's it. It's just a huge mess of "what could've been". Another flaw with the original game was the side jobs that were overall pretty bland. They did fix that here, mostly, by replacing the mini-games of the first one with retro, 8 and 16-bit style ones, and they're pretty damn cool. You can deliver pizzas in an old, "Mode-7" style racer (well, not racer, as much as dodging traffic), you can do some tiling in a puzzle, you can do bug extermination, etc etc. While the mini-games are fun, they problem is that they give such weak cash. In the first game, you could constantly take and redo assassination side jobs and get lots of cash, compared to the piddly pocket change of the day labor jobs. Here, there's no assassination side missions, and the cash from the side jobs are weak. With no other source of revenue (not even ranking battle gives you a whole lot of cash), it's hard to manage buying new katanas from Naomi, buying new clothes at Airport 51, or buying some fancy chow for Jeane. And if you do want to do that, you'll have to do a lot of pointless grinding through the same mini-games and the same levels over and over again, and when you've got maybe 10 or so, it feels like an incredibly cramped selection. There are, however, some non-job mini games, which include Jeane and a video game in Travis' room. For Jeane, it's kinda like Nintendogs, in that you have to take care of her, but this time she's got to lose weight (since all you did in the first game was feed her). You have to balance her mood with her exercises help her get slim. It's a decent distraction, but nothing too weighty. The other mini-game, the video game in Travis' room, is really quite good. It's basically a video game of Travis' favorite anime, BJ5, and is a top-down shmup that's really quite good. Not to mention you can unlock new things by playing the video game. There's also the gym training mini-games, which just seem like a chore to do. They're not very compelling and the thing is, if you fail it, you'll gain no benefit except a hole in your wallet. You could do good for a good portion of the mini-game then flub the ending you'll be shafted of your hard-earned cash with not a single benefit in return. As for the hacking and slashing, main game concepts, they're still as solid as the firs game, but not without their share of troubles. The biggest one seems to be just how badly they tricked us with the number of bosses. At Rank #51, you'd expect 50 boss fights, right? Wrong! You'll soon jump down half the ranks to #25 after beating the 25th ranked assassin, and again down to #12 or so after a 12-man battle royal (where you don't even fight 12 guys at once, you just wait for eleven guys to die then get to fight the 12th one). There's just a lot of other features with the game that they toted that aren't here at all. They said that, on top of fighting your way down the ranks, you'd have to defend your own against lower-ranked opponents. That's completely nonexistent. I've fought all the way to #1 without anybody challenging me. They also said that bosses would team up (which would be logical with 50 bosses). Wrong again. There's at least one boss whose actually two people, but no teaming up at all. You do, however, get the coveted dual wieldable beam katanas (for free, too), which are pretty solid, but their fighting style isn't a far cry from the other katanas. The only difference is an additional finisher command where you swing both the nunchuck and the Wiimote down. The bosses this time around are also a mixed bag compared to some of the awesome, memorable ones of the first game. Some of them are good and will push you to the limits, others are just easy breezy and are nothing but a kill to forget. The core hacking the slashing is as good as the first, but the game itself needs a little more work. I'll also briefly go into the 2 other playable characters: Shinobu and Henry. First off, this is lame. They're both great to play with, but you only defeat 2 bosses with Shinobu and 1 person (not even a boss) with Henry. Fucking lame. I was expecting a lot of switching up, although Travis would still clearly be the dominant character. That's not the case. Hell, Henry even goes off to kill 3 other guys and you can't even do one of them. Henry's fight is nothing but a dream, actually. The characters themselves play well, though. Instead of having wrestling moves like Travis, Shinobu can jump and Henry can dash. Shinobu's jumping could use some work, as a lot of the time you'll be doing some minor platforming with her, but it works well enough. Henry's dashing makes for some great evasive moves as well as closing in on enemies, but since you only use it on one person, it feels pointless. As for the graphics, it still keeps a lot of the offbeat original style, but not without some problems. The character models look absolutely amazing, but other stuff doesn't. The regular looking stuff is quite poorly textured and detailed, feeling like a second-rate Wii game mashed together with one of the best looking ones. There's also framerate chugs during cutscenes on more than one occasion. It feels sorta unpolished. Still, the game has it's purely breath taking moments, and the original graphical style of the first one looks better here. As for the audio, it's absolutely brilliant. The superb voice acting of the first game makes a return here, even better than before. The soundtrack is also revamped with more than just background white noise, but catchy, well produced, original songs. I mean, this soundtrack could rival MadWorld's. It's definitely the strongest point of the game. Overall, NMH 2 isn't a bad game at all and still offers a lot of the great hacking and slashing of the first game, but suffers from a severe amount of "what could've been" and what seems like rushed flaws. There's a lot of features that were expected missing, a lot of selling points that are mediocre, and what feels like a game with a lot cut out. <b>Presentation</b>: It's got that great humor and quirk of the first game in all its glory. The storyline is a little more deep that the first one, but it can occasionally take itself too seriously. It'll still please fans of the first game. The menus are well presented and even humorous. <b>9/10</b> <b>Graphics</b>: Phenomenal character models seem offset by some poor textures. Cutscenes are good, but the poor textures and even framerate chugs hurt a lot. The in-game graphics still features great models, wonderful lighting effects, and a lot of positives. <b>8/10</b> <b>Audio</b>: A great return of the top-notch voice acting of the first game, now even bigger and better. The soundtrack is also expansive, original, and catchy. Not just white noise any more, but some truly amazing stuff. <b>9.5/10</b> <b>Gameplay</b>: There's a lot of features missing that we expected and a lot of the features that were included are incredibly skimp. The mini-games are better this time around and fun to play for a while, but become incredibly boring and repetitive when you need to grind through them for cash. Other, non-job minigames are either a chore (the gym), forgettable (Jeane), or excellent (BJ5). The boss battles this time around are good, but not nearly as memorable as the first game. Hacking and slashing is fun, but when you can only do it for ranking matches, it just isn't enough for my liking. It'll have a lot of the same fun as the first, but suffers from a lot of missed features and opportunities. <b>7/10</b> <b>Lasting Appeal</b>: The game feels incredibly linear, which kinda blows, and with no more open world, the game can be beat (if you want to rush it) in 5 hours. There's plenty of reason to come back if you're a completionist, such as unlocking more katanas and getting a full wardrobe, but repetitive and required mini-games hurt way too much. A game that feels like it should've been 12+ hours without any major sidequesting feels incredibly cut down. <b>7/10</b> Overall: <b>7.6/10</b> As much as I'd love to give this a 9+/10, I just can't. It feels like such a disappointment to me. Fuck. I forgot to add "Review" to the title. Would someone be so kind as to change it to "Guild's No More Heroes 2 <b>Review</b>", please. Thanks a bunch.