It didn’t hit me until near the end of my playthrough of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle that until this Nintendo Switch version, it has never seen a port outside of its original Wii release. That’s a crying shame, because, whilst it may be a much briefer experience, No More Heroes 2 often surpasses what the original managed to do and, most importantly of all, is much more fun to actually play.
For the people who have played the original Wii release, or those just wondering how it runs on the Switch, I’m happy to report that it is pretty much a perfect 60 frames-per-second throughout in both handheld and docked, with only a few instances of frames dropping when things got too intense. More importantly, motion controls are completely optional now and don’t have to be used at all, which is almost enough reason on its own to give this re-release a go. Although this isn’t a lofty statement considering its previous status as a Wii exclusive, this is easily the best way to play No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle takes place three years after the events of the original game saw Travis Touchdown rise to the top of the UAA seeking glory and… you know the rest. Travis rejoins the fight here in search of vengeance, although this time he’s also occasionally joined by Henry and Shinobu. Although the story here isn’t groundbreaking by any means, it is incredibly charming and fun with some awesome characters and lines throughout. At times incredibly awkward and childish, at other times philosophical and surprisingly deep, it’s exactly what you want from No More Heroes.
That much is very true of pretty much every aspect of presentation as well. The mix of chip-tune rock and beam katana “wooshes” is just as great here as it was in the first. Particular praise has to be given to the voice of Travis Touchdown, who delivers all of his lines in the most extravagant way possible.
Thankfully, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle follows the adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as it plays much the same as the original. Travis goes through levels slashing through endless amounts of goons with his beam katana and wrestling moves before fighting an awesome end boss. Much like the original, the bosses are really the highlight here and are incredibly fun to fight through especially when accompanied by awesome cutscenes and themes.
Although the main gameplay is kept very similar to the original, there are enough changes and tweaks throughout that make No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle a much more enjoyable game to play. For starters, Travis has a much leaner set of moves and power ups that make him feel a little less gimmicky, as well as giving him different weapons to swap between. It’s hard to describe considering how similar the games are but combat just feels better here.
To help keep things fresh there are also multiple different characters to switch between throughout the story, although they’re only present for a little bit of the game. Henry and Shinobu are great fun, but when No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle leans into gimmicks like mechs and motorbikes it’s noticeably less fun.
Arguably the biggest thing that No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle changes is how streamlined the whole thing is. Gone is the explorable map and forced grinding for entry money and in its place is a simple mission selection system. The side content is truly skippable here and if you don’t want to do it you really don’t have to.
On the one hand, this gets rid of my biggest issue with the first, which was the amount of grinding necessary before each fight. On the other hand, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a much shorter experience that really does feel a little bit light on content. It’s a double-ended sword, but I personally didn’t mind a more succinct experience.
It may be much briefer than the game before it but thanks to its satisfying gameplay, fantastic characters and its focused content, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle manages to be a much more satisfying experience. Bring on No More Heroes 3.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by XSEED Games