No More Heroes Anymore

28 May

(Before reading this article, please note that I’m a huge fan of Miyamoto and really respect and appreciate everything he’s done for modern gaming.)

One man has looked at the Wii, realized the potential of its motion controls, and utilized them better than anyone else in a single game.

Can you guess his name? Here’s a hint:

IT’S NOT SHIGERU MIYAMOTO!

No offence, I really like the guy

For as much as people complain about GameCube games getting ported to the Wii with tacked on motion controls, they seem to miss out on the most unusual of them all:

The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess

Hailed as one of the greatest launch titles ever, Twilight Princess is actually a port of a GameCube game that came out before the GCN game even came out. The motion controls were tacked on, and Nintendo even flipped the entire world map around in order to cater towards a right-handed Link.

The problem is, of course, the motion controls.

Wii’s philosophy is to offer the player a new experience by having the motion controls serve as an extension of their bodies, allowing them to play games in a way they never have before.

Twilight Princess doesn’t offer much in this regard. You have to swing the Wiimote to have Link swing his sword, but the motion requires no precision; the Wiimote just need to register enough motion. So, instead of being able to control the direction of Link’s hacks and slashes, you pretty much execute a predetermined combo at an awkward pace since the swinging motion isn’t as reliable as a simple button press.

These controls go against the Wii philosophy since you’re not actually controlling Link’s sword, you’re just pressing an invisible, harder to press button. There’s no reward for drawing out your motions to replicate an actual sword slash. Instead, you’re better off slightly flicking your wrist back and forth to complete combos as quickly as possible.

If you want to execute Link’s classic spin attack, you have to shake the Nunchuk. This motion is lot less sensitive, as it should be considering you move Link around with the same device. The lesser sensitivity still doesn’t matter much since the motion is awkward and unreliable.

The only example of successful motion controls are found in the first-person view. Controlling the bow and hookshot work well, but that’s no saving grace. The controls are basic enough that it would have been unforgivable if they had been screwed up.

So, going back to the original question: Can you guess his (the guy who has best utilized the Wii’s motion controls, name?

It’s Goichi Suda, aka Suda51.

mask not included

Suda51 is the man behind Killer7 and, most importantly, No More Heroes. He has stated several times in interviews that he went into NMH without observing what other people were coming up with on the Wii. Later on, he noticed that majority of Wii titles were uninspired shovel ware, shameless ports, and unoriginal mini-game collections. He was inspired to make NMH something very unique.

Let’s cut to the chase:

While Twilight Princess has you flicking the Wiimote to swing a sword, No More Heroes by passes that for the traditional “mash A.” This might not sound revolutionary, but there are some unique subtleties. The position of the Wiimote is constantly used as Travis Touchdown (the player’s character) fights using a high stance or a low stance which lead to different finishing moves. These moves are where No More Heroes really shines.

After dealing enough damage to an enemy, time slows and an arrow flashes upon the screen. Swinging the Wiimote in that direction executes a violent finisher that often ends in dismemberment. The genius in this is that the motion requires more than just a slight flick of the wrist. Combine that with the pacing of having to hack and slash an enemy and you have a game that encourages the player to swing the Wiimote like an actual sword.

When Travis finishes off an enemy, you finish off an enemy.

The only thing better would be finishers that require a thrusting towards the screen motion. There are also wrestling moves that Travis can use to take down stunned minions and bosses alive. They require a set of motions (sometimes more than one set) from both the Wiimote and the Nunchuk. Again, the controls require slightly more motion to register allowing the player to emulate their lucha libre fantasies.

Motion controls are also used in what sounds like a hypocritical move: side-jobs that work like mini-games. These jobs will have using the Wiimote as a lawnmower, a toy to distract kittens, a pole to pick up trash, etc. They’re done tastefully, and they’re not required all that often so they never become a gimmicky burden.

NMH has two very unique motion controls that display Suda51’s humor and creativity. My favorite is the use of the Wiimote as a cellphone. Before each boss fight, Travis received a phone call from the woman who sets up his fights. Instead of coming from the TV’s speakers, her voice comes from the Wiimote’s. It’s soft enough that you’re encouraged to place the Wiimote to your ear like a cellphone. The first time I encountered this, I laughed. This use of the Wiimote is pure genius and pure Suda.

The other…creative use of the Wiimote comes when you have to recharge the batteries of Travis’ beam katana. The game tells you to shake the Wiimote, but the process is completed much quicker if you emulate Travis’ motion on screen.

don't come in!

Yes, Suda51 has you suddenly making depraved motions in the middle of your blood baths to keep the murder going.

In the end, No More Heroes feels different than your average game. Even if the plot and dialog weren’t filled with over the top violence, F-bombs, and sexual innuendos, No More Heroes would still have this unique feeling to it that could never be replicated on any other system.

Twilight Princess is NOT a Wii game and should have controlled like No More Heroes did.

I like throwing that line around.

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One Response to “No More Heroes Anymore”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. No More Heroes « BOLDSTATE - August 20, 2008

    […] you may think I’ll be tackling some classic subject at some intellectual angle or at least Suda51’s crazy cool Wii game, but you’d be wrong. This post is about boobs, both literally and […]

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