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Previews

No More Heroes

The best looking game on Wii?

We're always keen to see what Koichi 'Suda 51' Suda is up to, as he's certainly one of Japan's more interesting game developers. After all, he did spend the entire Killer 7 press tour wearing a lucha libre wrestling mask.

And his eccentric style clearly spills into his games as well; his last console effort Killer 7 was certainly one of most stylish games of recent times and best of all it was chock-full of extreme violence as well.

His latest title No More Heroes - recently renamed from simply, 'Heroes' - looks to continue the trend with a stylish art-style and a bit of gratuitous violence thrown in for good measure. It's also arguably the most visually-pleasing Wii title on the horizon, but will it deliver the goods in the gameplay department?

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The premise is this: you're Travis Touchdown, the world's 11th greatest Assassin with spiky hair and a lovely pair of sunglasses. Obviously wanting to climb the ranks of the Assassin Top of the Pops, Travis embarks on a mission to slug around the Heroes' LA-inspired Santa Destroy picking-off the other top hitmen and women for a chance at being coming the world's greatest - and thanks to famous Anime artist Yusuke Kozaki there's certainly some crazy characters to be found.

Unlike Killer 7, which was a mostly on-rails experience, No More Heroes is a vast free-roaming 3D affair with money to be earned and thrown at new weapons or to "cash out" and progress through the story. Sticking with the Western US theme, Travis's base in Santa Destroy is a dusty motel room, offering weapon and item equipping functions and a place to change your clothes as well.

As you'll notice from the screenshots, particular attention has been paid to Travis' dress style. Over 100 designs have been created for his t-shirt alone, featuring everything from bizarre Japanese witch anime and Suda's own favourite wrestlers.

The core of the gameplay, the Wii-remote controlled sword fights, are according to Grasshopper "easy to get into but difficult to master". Trying to avoid another bodged attempt at recreating 1-to-1 sword movements, the basic attacks in No More Heroes are simply performed using the A button, with fancy finishing move executed by shaking the Wii Remote.

But thankfully there's more to battles than just mashing the A-button; the Wii Remote can also be used to change Travis's positioning, for example if you raise the Wii Remote Travis will stand upright with his sword above his head. Three position types are promised for the final game (upper, middle and lower) with the type of stroke varying depending on which one you're using.

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In addition, there are also quick-fire gesture instructions during battles to spice things up a bit, no doubt inspiring memories of both Resident Evil 4 and Shenmue for QTE fans.

For now there's a lot of No More Heroes kept in the dark - and there's still a lot of work to be done before it reaches it's Summer 2007 Japanese release date. The art and screenshots we've been provided certainly hint at other types of gamplay, including Travis's futuristic-looking motorcycle, but before we unravel all of the games secrets we're going to have to wait with excited eyes for the time being.

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