Hello Internet, J.C. Koopa, back again with a game review for you. Today I am going to tell you what I think of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition. Travis Strikes Again is a spin-off of the No More Heroes Series made by Suda 51 and was released in January 2019 on Nintendo Switch. The copy of the game I received to review was for Steam, but it was also just released for PS4 for those on a console, or you can still pick it up on switch if you’re interested.
“Some Time Later”
So Travis Strikes Again is, as a said, a spinoff game from the previous ones, not a sequel. It takes place a few years after the events of the others where the series protagonist Travis Touchdown is hiding out living in a camper, playing the mysterious game console known as the Death Drive Mark II. The other main character you can play as is an assassin called Bad Man who is out for revenge on Travis who killed his daughter in the first No More Heroes.
Plans change though after Bad Man sees that Travis has the Death Drive, which is rumored to grant wishes to anyone who beats all seven of the only games ever released for it. Both Characters get sucked into the game where they decide to team up to get out of the first game back into the real world and then collect and beat the remaining games to gain that wish.
Being a Suda 51 game, it has the sense of style and humor that was unique to the other No More Heroes games like the characters, having a hand-drawn look and a touch of bloody hyper-violence to the combat, with an added layer of meta-humor as it breaks the fourth wall from time to time and makes indirect commentary on games themselves to somewhat humorous affect.
Simple But Polished
Travis Strikes Again is a fixed camera angle, hack and slash game with a few changing elements as you play through each game on the Death Drive. Some games change the camera angle from the top down to more of a side-scrolling perspective, and some additional little game elements like simple driving games or puzzle-solving elements, but nothing too complicated or indicative of mid-game genre swap. All of the levels have retro gaming feel with decent visuals that look well polished but simple to the point of being a little bland at times.
The game does benefit on the PC version from being able to run with an unlimited frame rate, making it feel incredibly smooth. In between each level, Travis can hop on his motorcycle to go search for more game cartridges for the Death Drive, known as Death Balls, which turns the game into a humorous retro style visual novel though I will say though that these sections kill the flow of the game for me and can drag on. Though at one point, the game even acknowledges and makes fun of this fact.
The combat is relatively simple, with each character having light and massive attacks along with unlockable special attacks and a chargeable ultimate attack. The AI in the game is not super hard to take on though there is an added mechanic where each character has to charge their weapon fairly often as each hit depletes energy, so during hectic fights you will find yourself having to stop and either press in on one stick and move the other back and forth or, if you are using a controller with motion detect you can mash in one stick then shake the controller while trying not to get hit. The game also features drop-in/drop-out co-op, which seems to work seamlessly and provides the option for a little more fun with friends.
Not Quite a Touchdown but Close
I have mixed feelings about Travis Strikes Again. On the one hand, it has the aesthetics of the previous games that I love, and it went with an excellent approach for a spin-off game. Travis Strikes Again is well built and is relatively bug and problem-free, which is always a plus. I like the characters, and the humor it has throughout that is unique to Suda 51 games. I love the retro motif it has for each level, and I like the action that it provides in the main chapters, but there are a few things that make this game just short of perfect.
The enemy and level designs are bit bland, and the AI is not the most challenging I have ever seen. Any puzzles or different mini-games it incorporates are functional but not overly developed, and they feel more like little distractions between action sequences that just don’t quite fit in. Lastly, the visual novel sequences can be quite funny, although the heavy reading they entail slows down the flow of the rest of the game to a crawl at points, though not long enough to hurt the game in a significant way.
So collectively, I would say that Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition is a decent game. It is a pleasant experience that is functional, well made, funny, and just entertaining enough to keep my attention even though the game overall is not groundbreaking or an absolute masterpiece. The $39.99 price is not bad for the experience. I would say if it were just the base game, it needs to be half of that, but keep in mind it has all of the post-release content of the Nintendo version, which adds extra levels, two additional characters, and a few other things which is a good value.
As I said, it is not a multi-award-winning masterpiece, but it is a substantial spin-off that I would say is still worth a try for sure. If you are a fan of the series, it is a reasonably likable small edition to the series that will at least give you some fun but pure entertainment. Additionally, it will make you want to backtrack through the previous games when you have finished it. If you are on the fence about it I will leave a link to it below for the Steam Edition so you can check it out for yourself, or you can check it out on PS4 or Switch, and if all else fails, you can try to catch it on sale for an even better value for some decent fun.