Grasshopper Manufacture’s whacky action franchise is back.
No More Heroes 1 and 2 might not have been he most prominent exclusive releases on the Nintendo Wii, but the two hack and slash titles from the eccentric mind of Suda51 have a huge cult following even to this day. After a few years in dormancy, the Beam Katana wielding professional assassin Travis Touchdown is coming back, and though he might not be doing so in a full fledged No More Heroes 3, fans of the series and of developers Grasshopper Manufacture’s work are still understandably excited to see what Travis Strikes Again has in store for us.
In anticipation of its upcoming release, we’re going to take a look at fifteen vital pieces of information that we feel you should know about the game, which is looking quite different from what one might expect from a No More Heroes title.
Now that the customary intro is out of the way, let’s get right into it.
Travis Strikes Again takes place seven years after the events of No More Heroes 2, with a middle aged Travis now living in self-imposed isolation in his trailer. Meanwhile, he’s being hunted by an assassin named Badman, who wants to kill Travis for having killed his daughter, Bad Girl. Events transpire, and the two find themselves somehow transported into Death Drive MK-II, a video game console that was cancelled during development- Travis and Badman now race to play through and finish all seven games in the console, and whoever does it first will be granted one wish.
Yeah, that sounds like Suda 51 alright.
What’s interesting about these separate games is that they’re going to allow Travis Strikes Again to switch things up almost constantly, genre-wise, with each game implementing ideas from different genres or styles. While the game overall is, of course, still a hack-n-slash title, the separate games within the game will have elements from racing games, RPGs, horror titles, adventure games, and much more.
So what exactly are these seven games that Travis and Badman need to play through? While one of them has been kept a complete secret so far, we do know a few things about the other six. There’s “Serious Moonlight”, an AAA style open world title which is going to be the biggest of the lot; “Golden Dragon GP”, a story-focused racing game; “Electric Thunder Tiger 2”, an isometric hack and slash title; “Killer Marathon”, an arena survival game; “Life is Destroy”, a puzzle horror game that will have live action cutscenes; and “Coffee & Doughnuts”, a 2.5D side-scrolling game.
Of course, each of these games is also going to have its own unique boss to contend with. In their efforts to beat each of the games on the Death Drive MK-II, Travis and Badman are also going to have to beat each boss- presumably, given the wildly varying nature of these games from each other and the different styles they’re all going for, the bosses will also have a nice bit of variety to them.
NOT A DIRECT SEQUEL
As the name (and its very nature) implies, Travis Strikes Again is not a direct sequel to No More Heroes 2. While it is chronologically placed after the 2010 title, it’s also been designed as a game you can jump into without having played any of the previous two, and is not designed as a full fledged continuation of the series, more as a side experiment. Suda51 has, however, also stated that he looks at Travis Strikes Again as “a stepping stone” to a potential No More Heroes 3, so keep hope alive.
That said, for fans of the previous two No More Heroes games, there’s definitely going to be some familiar faces to look out for. There is, of course, series protagonist Travis Touchdown, who is once again being voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. Meanwhile, Bad Girl, who we’ve already mentioned, will also appear in the game, while Shinobu Jacobs makes a return as well.
No More Heroes 1 and 2 were both third person action titles, but Travis Strikes Again is going to be completely different- in more ways than one. The most instantly apparent of those is its perspective, which has now switched to a top-down one. While the perspective might of course change depending on whatever game-within-the-game you’re playing, Travis Strikes Again is largely going to be played from a top-down perspective.
COLLABORATION WITH INDIES
Doubling down on the meta nature of Travis Strikes Again and the eccentricities that one would expect from Suda51’s works, the game will also pay homage to several indie titles. That will mostly happen in the form of Travis wearing t-shirts of several indie titles in the game itself. Travis, who is apparently a big fan of indie games, will wear t-shirts of various indie games.
UNREAL ENGINE 4
The game’s meta nature goes beyond that, however. Travis Strikes Again has been built using Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, and you’ll also see Travis sporting t-shirts of the engine in the game as well. Why is that the case? Because the games on the Death Drive MK-II that Travis and Badman will be going through are also all UE4 titles.
While the games on the Death Drive Mk-II are obviously the main attraction in Travis Strikes Again, that’s not where you’ll be spending all your time. At any time, players can return to Travis’ trailer, which serves as the hub where you can load up the console to play the games on it, or engage in several ancillary activities, or even purchase and equip new outfits for Travis.
TRAVIS STRIKES BACK MODE
Something else you can access from Travis’ trailer is “Travis Strikes Back”, which is, essentially, another game within the game (though not part of the Death Drive Mk-II’s lineup). Travis Strikes Back, which is an old school visual novel style adventure title, is not going to be a side activity though- this is where you’ll have to keep returning to find physical copies of the Death Drive Mk-II’s games, which you will, obviously, only be able to played once you’ve acquired their copies.
A feature that is new to Travis Strikes Again is Skill Chips- there are going to be 24 Skill Chips in the game in total that players have to collect. These chips, which are all named after Gundam models, will each come with their own special attacks and abilities, such as being able to call in an orbital airstrike on a bunch of enemies. At any given time, players can equip four Skill Chips.
Given all the varied content that is going to be on offer in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, one question many people have is- how long is it going to be? Developers Grasshopper Manufacture have stated that the game is going to be pretty much as long as the first two No More Heroes titles were, which would put it in the 10-15 hour range. Given its lower retail price of $30 (or $40, if you purchase the edition that includes the Season Pass as well), that seems like a pretty good deal.
TWO PLAYER CO-OP
Travis Strikes Again will also allow you to play through the game with a friend by supporting two player co-op. While playing co-op – which will, of course, support single Joycon support – one player will play as Travis, while the other will take control of Badman. There will also be attack moves in the game that will be exclusive to co-op play, which serves as added incentive to play with a friend.
As mentioned previously, Travis Strikes Again will also receive DLC after its launch, and as such, will come with a season pass, which will bring new stages, characters, and scenarios. The first DLC will add Shinobu Jacobs as a playable character and bring a new scenario for Badman, while the second DLC will make Bad Girl playable, add a new stage for Death Drive title Killer Marathon, and add a new scenario for Travis. While all physical copies of the game – which will cost $40 – will come with the Season Pass, those purchasing the game digitally can either spend that same amount to get the Season Pass, or spend $30 to buy only the base game.