>> No More Heroes 1 & 2

I have heard about this series but have not played any of it. I did enjoy the writing and story of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes and with the highly anticipated No More Heroes 3, I needed to play the games in the series before then. Overall, the first game was good but the second game was bad even without continuity. Either way, I do hope they take all this experience as I want to experience this universe.

>> A Good Game

Finished at Normal/Mild difficulty on Switch

No More Heroes 1 is a charming game despite its lack of quality. Boss characters/fights are intriguing with their atmosphere and writing. Those are paced by the the city sandbox with its mundane jobs/mini games and assassination gigs/side missions all adding to the overall charm and aesthetic as well despite the repetitive travel. The combat system is just right with its movement and feel and the bosses are balanced nicely with it providing a good challenge. Aside from the interesting main character and story subversion, everything added up to make this a game worth playing.

My only hope for the sequel is to expand the combat system, provide quality of life options for the sandbox and overall polish. Sadly, this would not be the case.

>> A Bad Game

Finished at Normal/Mild difficulty on Switch

After finishing the first game and a rest day, the sequel No More Heroes 2: A Desperate Struggle feels bad to play even without knowing the prequel. The worst issue is that the bosses are far more broken with stun locks specially the last boss and easier to exploit with the more fluid character movements which makes them less enjoyable as a whole. Levels are primarily room after room mob spawns which makes them less interesting. Enemy variety is lacking and their higher health makes the fight more drawn out. Lastly is strafing where it feels like the camera is only locked and the character still moves as if it was not which is disorienting since many of the fights are duels. Although more characters and weapons have been introduced, the new changes made the combat system clunkier and worse.

Instead of an city sandbox, a stage/mission select replaced it. While the travel was repetitive, I did not want it removed since it adds to the charm where both could have coexisted as quality of life. While the side jobs are a mixed bag, the kill side missions/gigs are repetitive simply being kill one or all types and made worse from the combat system. This makes the game seems to have less content or weight from a surface level.

Aside from the game breaking continuity, the game's character writing and story is lacking. Primarily, the bosses lost their strong introductions and meaningful banter which I craved for in between ranking fights. While the 50 person ranking system may be intended as a facade with multiple jumps and illogical rules, the title has less weight or impact. Subverting the revenge story is a good idea but its execution was lacking with its lackluster experience. Much of the charm and appeal of the first game is lost from the writing alone.

While I have other grievances, the sequel was bad even though it felt more fluid or expanded. If they added more quality of life changes from the previous, it would make this game possibly better to play even if the story was not. Taking continuity into account makes it worse as the character development and hanging question were disregarded for this disappointing setup.