Reviews: No More Heroes and Devil May Cry 4

No More Heroes (Ubisoft, for the Wii): The last console game written by Goichi Suda – aka Suda 51 – was 2005’s “Killer 7,” the spectacularly weird tale of an assassin with multiple personality disorder. “No More Heroes” isn’t quite as bizarre, although it’s perverse enough that fans will definitely recognize the Suda touch.The antihero, Travis Touchdown, is a young hit man with an itch to make a name for himself in the brutal town of Santa Destroy. He’s the low man on the assassins’ totem pole, and the only way to advance is by killing everyone ranked above him. His rivals are a colourful bunch – a gunslinger named Dr. Peace, a wannabe superhero called Destroyman – and a lot of the fun comes from witnessing their distinctive attacks.

You wield Travis’ “beam katana” by pressing the Wii Remote’s A button; finishing blows are accomplished by swinging the remote and nunchaku to match on-screen prompts. The mix of button-mashing and physical exertion creates an unusually visceral experience, especially after you’ve made a garage full of henchmen explode like blood-filled pinatas. “No More Heroes” suffers from some lacklustre side missions, but the primary assassination jobs are so deliriously entertaining that they’re almost as much fun to watch as to play. Three and a half stars out of four.

Devil May Cry 4 (Capcom, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3): You wouldn’t expect much originality out of a game with a “4” in its title, but “Devil May Cry 4” does throw a few curveballs at fans of the series. Longtime demon-hunter Dante has been demoted to supporting character; the prologue is an extended duel between the erstwhile hero and new leading man Nero.

Nero flashes some familiar weapons – a big gun and a bigger sword – but he also sports the Demon Bringer, a glowing right arm that he can use to rip apart monsters or zip across the landscape. As the game progresses, the weapons become more powerful and Nero’s arsenal of moves becomes more varied.

Despite the new hero, none of this is particularly fresh, and the level designs are obvious and repetitious. But “DMC4” looks spectacular, and working Nero into a demon-slaughtering frenzy can be highly entertaining. Three stars.

(link)

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