This is what we’d like to see more of, good Wii games in HD, instead of violating our beloved HD screens with scart leads. The series has already had its second game on the Wii, but this is just the first game polished up. So don’t fret if you’re new to it, but perhaps feel a bit annoyed they didn’t put both titles on one disc for the asking price.
The story in this bizarre beat em’ up is one of an assassin named Travis Touchdown (see how close they came to making Travis a cool name?). Not happy with always being strapped for cash, Travis decides to take out the Top 10 ranked assassins to become the new number one and score with a hot French chick. Kill Bill, meets Highlander with Suda 51 refereeing if you will.
Travis dances all over the fine line between cheeky scamp, cool guy and insufferable douche-bag with his style and collection of lines. The game’s full of stylistic choices that insist it is cool, but they don’t make it quite as cool as it thinks it is. Wow, he goes to the toilet to save, some of the writing is pixelated like an old school game and he mentioned I have a controller. Mind-blowing.
Those of you expecting a serious upgrade to the graphics over the Wii version may be a bit disappointed too. Some character models still look like something the PS2 rejected and there’s a shocking amount of screen-tearing, both outside and when you spin the camera around in corridors.
The ‘Uncut’ status plastered all over the box doesn’t really seem to have added any extra material over the Wii version either. Not that the game is shy of splashing claret all over the place with most finishing moves slicing men clean in two, between the eyes or beheading them.
A beam katana (a light sabre to us non-lawsuit-fearing types) is your weapon of choice and controls differently depending what set-up you go for, control pad or PlayStation Move. If you’re planning to use a pad, it’s important to note that it has to be a Dualshock pad, for some reason the old SixAxis ones aren’t recognised by the game. Vibrations are used to find some of the hidden items, but there’s an audio cue too. Poor show chaps, get it patched.
Blade attacks and kicks for stuns are assigned to the face buttons, while throws are activated with R2 and analogue stick QTEs. Each opponent usually needs to be finished with a special move that requires a press of an analogue stick in the indicated direction before the timer runs out. Get enough of these and you’ll unlock special moves. For the most part, you are just hammering away at the square and triangle buttons. Two or three levels in and you’ve pretty much seen it all, even with the limited set of extra moves to unlock. The lock-on system at least works well enough to make sure you aren’t screwed over by the camera in tighter environments.
Using the Move controllers (you need a nav stick to move around too) works well enough, but basic attacks are assigned to the Move button, with only the finishing slashes actually requiring any swinging of the controller. In all honesty, it gets boring by the time you’ve offed the first boss, so a pad might be your best option.
Enemies that block your path to each boss fight don’t put up much resistance but will occasionally try something new, such as the later ones having guns, meaning you need to take them out first unless you constantly want them interrupting your combos from afar. Most goons have swords, axes or even flaming baseballs.
Boss fights usually take a bit too long for comfort even though you won’t really find them that difficult. Just expect them to block a lot and use powered up attacks you’ll have to roll out of the way from at the last second. Sometimes they surprise you though by adding something new, such as the fight on the beach where you have to look out for hole-traps by spotting the faded areas of sand. Each boss is unique in terms of character though and their introduction videos usually provide a few laughs the more ridiculous they get.
To earn the right to fight each ranking assassin you must pay a large fee to an agency. Fortunately, there are many ways to make extra cash in the city of Santa Destroy. You can take on side missions in the form of low-paying dull minigames like collecting coconuts or mowing lawns. Or you can take on extra assassination missions against sole targets, or ‘kill everyone’ scenarios. Some under a time limit, others under harsher conditions like not taking a single hit.
You’re never forced to do too many of these missions though as it doesn’t take long to earn enough money to enter the next boss fight. There are other things to do around the city, although the giant motorcycle you ride around has astonishingly poor handling and collision detection. Rent videos from the store to unlock new wrestling moves and visit the beam katana technician’s workshop to buy new weapons and tech upgrades such as adding hidden items to your map. Collect enough red balls from around the city and you can trade them in at the bar for combat upgrades. Finding the balls is a fun diversion and at least it’s actually beneficial.
Before long though you’ll run out of activities and realise the banality of the repetitive formula of work, fight goons in corridor, then have a boss fight. If you’re going to play in small doses you can stretch out some enjoyment, but it’s not the sort of game you’re going to play all weekend.
- Playing with a control pad is much better for most gamers
- Untaxing gameplay for short bursts
- Might make you laugh every now and then
- Screen-tearing, are you kidding?
- Slightly attention seeking style that warrants a punch in the face
- Combat lacks depth
The Short Version: It may be worth waiting for a price reduction for what is essentially an old Wii game in HD. It can be a fun distraction but the gameplay becomes repetitive after a while and the technical side of the game feels very dated.