No More Heroes is what happens when the Japanese try to interpret American action films and end up subtly spoofing our entire violent history. Lead designer Goichi Suda has a history of creating hyper-stylized games (like the GameCube's Killer7), and with No More Heroes, he continues his streak.
No More Heroes has lofty, bizarre aspirations: It attempts to combine the violent hipness of a Tarantino film, the vaguely homoerotic pugilism of professional wrestling, and the open-world freedom of the Grand Theft Auto series. On a few counts, it succeeds—but sadly, this stylish muffin could have used six more months in the oven.
You play as Travis Touchdown (was "Rambo Cocksplosion" taken?), who roams the streets of Santa Destroy, California, and constantly runs into bizarrely placed invisible walls, witnesses odd graphical issues, and struggles with a confusing control scheme. No More Heroes' basic gameplay isn't incredibly complex, so it's depressing to see the title fall short in such crucial areas.
Inevitably, a lot of reviewers are going to get hung up on these technical issues and just write the whole game off—but in this case, it's actually fair to look at style over substance. Sure, developers should be held accountable for their failings, but I just can't stay mad at a game that kept me giggling for three hours simply because of how unique and intense it was. Nothing on the Wii even remotely resembles the inherent fun in body-slamming an enemy, then slicing him in half with a glowing laser sword.
For many gamers, No More Heroes will only work as a rental, thanks to its technical issues and short story mode. I beg you, though: Please play through to the end. The secret twist ending is simply so perverse and incredible that I'd be fired and probably branded with a scarlet letter for including it in this review.