No more heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

More action, less distractions

18th February 2024


There are few series with such a unique vibe as No More Heroes. Brainchild of the extravagant game designer Goichi Suda (AKA Suda51), No More Heroes is heavily characterized by a mix of over-the-top violence, a self-aware sense of humor, and a ton of references and homages to other games and movies. Imagine Scott Pilgrim, but with much more blood and censurable language.

While not published by Nintendo, this series is somewhat associated with their systems, as the two first games were designed around the Wii, and the third one around the Nintendo Switch. It was precisely with the third installment that I discovered this series, as it was revealed during a Nintendo Direct. I started my journey with No More Heroes with its first game though, to get some knowledge of the lore and characters. But after that, in a hurry to play the newest game, I decided to completely ignore the second one. I must admit I didn’t regret that decision, as I absolutely loved No More Heroes III, despite its flaws.

For a long time, I had no interest in playing No More Heroes 2, as I was almost sure I wouldn’t like it as much as its successor, but now, almost two years later, I finally decided to give it a chance. It turns out my assumption was right, but I still had a good time with it.

Ranking up by revenge

In the first No More Heroes we play as Travis Touchdown, a professional assassin with a unique taste for wrestling and anime, that’s challanged by a girl to climb up to the first rank of the UAA (United Assassins Association) in order to have a chance with her. That’s it, that’s the premisse. And how exactly does the process of ranking up works? With deadly one-on-one matches with each ranked assassin. After reaching the number one rank and ending up without the girl, as she decides to not honor her part of the deal, Travis decides to retire from the “business”. All is good until his best friend is killed by revenge for someone Travis killed before. Coincidently, the person who plots this assassination is now the new number one of the UAA ranking.

It is with this renewed motivation that Travis Touchdown decides to rank up once again, marking the start of No More Heroes 2. Unlike the first game, where he started ranked 11th, he’s now ranked at a distant 51st place. While initially it’s assumed that we would need to do 50 battles to get our desired revenge, we soon realize that the game defies our expectations by killing off more than half of those assassins off-screen during the course of the story at the most unexpected times. By the end of the game we end up actually fighting, and killing, 15 of those assassins.

Speaking on combat, that’s the aspect that had the biggest improvement comparing with its predecessor. While in the first game the combat relied mostly on counter-attacks, making it a waiting game most of the times, this one gives more freedom to approach the enemies, be it by brute force, hit and run, or still by counter-attack.

❖ One of the many ranking battles we face during the game.

No more side jobs

An important part of this series uniqueness lies in everything else we do beside fighting. Unfortunately that’s where in my opinion No More Heroes 2 fumbles the most. In the other games we are somewhat forced to do random jobs to have money to pay the ranked battles entry fees, with those jobs ranging from minor killing sprees to some mundane tasks like lawn mowing or unclogging toilets. It’s ridiculous for sure, but that’s the point. It’s satirical.

There are still side jobs in No More Heroes 2, but they are presented in an 8-bit style this time around. They are mildly fun, but mostly useless. Unlike on the other two games, here there are no entry fees for the ranked battles, as so, the money can only be used to buy new clothes, weapons and going to the gym (to upgrade life and attack power). But even considering the gym upgrades, which are in fact useful, there is no need to hustle for extra cash, as we can gather enough just by going through the ranked battles. Buying weapons isn’t necessary as well, especially when the best one is given to Travis during the course of the story. The game can be entirely played without even interacting with this extra content, as it doesn’t even have a freely explorable hub world, being replaced by a simple menu.

❖ All the side jobs plays like a NES game.

All things considered, nothing in No More Heroes 2 is actually bad, but the decision to cut the open world exploration (that made its comeback on No More Heroes III) and the battle entry fees made a huge part of the game completely redundant. I still did every side job anyway, but they just felt like a mini-game compilation attached without rhyme or reason to a good hack’n’slash game.




No More Heroes 2 is the definition of two steps forward one step back. While the main course is definitely an improvement from its predecessor, literally everything else is a letdown.

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