Platform Reviewed – PC
Developer – Roll7
Released – 14th May 2015
Not a Hero is an excellent British game. I emphasise British because aside from its awesome gameplay I suspect No More Hero’s humour will fly over the head of our American cousins and probably the rest of the world for that matter. So for the British people reading this, imagine Vanquish crossed with Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and you’ll have an idea of how ‘facking’ good this ‘facking’ game is.
Not a Hero has you obeying the orders of a political candidate running for an election. Topicality could have been in abundance here but this beastly politician is Bunnylord, a homiciadal purple bunny. To help him win the election you must wipe out three criminally controlled districts. Choosing from nine procedurally unlocked assassins, each district has a wave of enemies to gun down. Every assassin has their own perks to make each playthrough a fresh experience. Some levels (20 in total) can be approached more effectively depending on which character you choose which results in some fun experimentation. Not a Hero is unapologetic with its crass but hilarious stereotyping of your chosen assassin. One female killer slugs wine and speaks with a welsh accent which ticks the box of Cardiff lass no problem. There’s also a drunken foul mouthed northerner and an angry Scott. No room for subtlety here but that’s the point.
Moving around the environments requires you to move floor by floor of skyscraper structures, taking cover when enemy numbers increase. Taking cover is imperative to playing the game the right way for maximum enjoyment. Enemy A.I is ruthless and will mow you down in seconds if you don’t take cover. Fortunately there is plenty available and a quick button tap will have you slide into cover with ease. Moving from cover to cover enables you to get closer to enemies and when close enough can perform a critical one shot kill. Sliding past enemies will also knock them to the ground. Shooting them while they helplessly beg for their life triggers a cool finishing animation which ups the gore factor. Each playable character has their own finishing animation which again rewards playing multiple times and increases the longevity of an already short game. I blasted my way through to the end in only a couple of hours but I don’t mind this – no need to fatten up an already lean game.
Not a Hero’s first two environments only differentiate through colour palette but the pixel art remains beautiful. The Japanese samurai inflected third zone is visually stronger with more detail and variety. As well as the pleasing visual aesthetic, No More Hero offers an incredible soundtrack from an ensemble of chip-tune, electronic and ambiance artists. An added dynamism from the music makes playing through each level a joyful and thumping experience. It’s just so much fun.
Not a Hero is an indie game with big ambitions. It succeeds with delivering fast, bloody action with funny homegrown humour. Sometimes the cover system didn’t work and some of my failings were the fault of sticky controls and the odd glitch but these were minor hiccups in a game that was immensely enjoyable. I can’t wait to play more.
Not a Hero is out now on Steam and later in the year on Playstation platforms