Nearly 12 years after it first debuted, PC players finally get the chance to try out the No More Heroes series. Although it is not a mainline entry in the series, Travis Strikes Again is a decently fun spin-off that serves as a good introduction to the series for PC players.
For those unfamiliar with it, No More Heroes is an action-adventure hack and slash series developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and directed by acclaimed designer Suda51. And for those not familiar with his works, well, just know that they’re usually very bizarre and don’t adapt to conventional game design. This is quickly evident in Travis Strikes Again, both with regards to how it looks and how it plays.
When it comes to aesthetic, the game adopts a wide array of different visual styles. Brawler segments are done in top-down with relatively normal 3D graphics (although with plenty of bright colors and visual artifacts), dialogue scenes are layered on top of this with super-detailed 2D art, and there are even visual novel segments done in the style of a very old PC game, one capable of only displaying a single color. It’s all over the place and completely over the top at times, but that’s just Suda51’s signature style. I felt that it made for a very visually-appealing experience if anything.
The gameplay also takes several forms, but at its core it is a top-down hack and slasher. You’re able to make use of light and heavy attacks, special attacks, and a variety of skills unlocked throughout the course of the game to dispatch of the various enemies the game throws at you. The game is constantly introducing new enemies with new attacks, so it isn’t one of those games that grows stale due to only having a few enemies. However, what it does have a problem with is not breaking up these combat sequences with other gameplay mechanics.
Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself going through a series of combat scenes before you get to something else, something to break up the repetition (like a puzzle, platforming section, or story scene). The game relies heavily on its combat and it really shows, sometimes to its own downfall. However, it isn’t to the point where it completely ruins the experience. The combat itself is still decent and the story is interesting enough to warrant putting up with the occasional repetitive scene or two.
As for the story, that is usually a strong suit in Suda51 games and Travis Strike Again is no exception. To go along with the aesthetic, the story is also completely over the top and constantly making fun of itself. You’ll get jokes about traditional game design, the modern video game industry, and even the game’s own Metacritic score. It’s a ridiculous story for sure, but that’s just another aspect of what makes this series so unique. It’s also worth noting that the game provides enough backstory to get caught up with the story if you’ve never played the series before, I had no issues getting into it as a newcomer.
And finally, for those wondering about the actual quality of the PC port, there isn’t much to worry about there. In the time I played it I didn’t run into any crashes, bugs, or really any technical issue at all for that matter. It looks great, runs smooth, and plays well on both controller and keyboard and mouse. It’s pretty much on par with past XSEED/Marvelous PC ports.
With all of that said, I do give the game my recommendation. It’s got a great aesthetic, a cool story, and some fun combat, even if said combat does feel repetitive at times. Perhaps if this one does well we can see the rest of the series come to PC, we’ll have to wait and see.
You can buy Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.