From the makers of Killer 7, No More Heroes is a game that tries to be stylized and edgy, and succeeds in that endeavor. Unfortunately, it ultimately fails to be a compelling game because every other aspect suffers from neglect.
In No More Heroes you play as the anime-obsessed Travis Touchdown, living in the fictional town of Santa Destroy, who has just won a beam katana off an internet auction. Having accidently killed the 11th ranked assassin in the United States, Travis is given the goal of eliminating every assassin above him in order to climb to the top. This basic (though frequently amusing) story serves as the basis for the entire game and doesn't become any deeper until the very end, when it degenerates into sheer nonsense.
Gameplay-wise, No More Heroes has little to recommend it. Before you are able to participate in ranked battles, you are forced to collect money by performing dull, menial labor, such as mowing lawns or filling up cars at a gas station. Performing well in these tasks unlocks various assassination missions, which net you more money. Only when you have enough are you allowed to fight the bosses of the game. Combat is supposed to be the main draw, but it consists pretty much entirely of pressing the A button until you are allowed to perform a ridiculously gory finishing stroke by gesturing with the Wii remote. Bosses simply require more button presses, with occassional blocking and dodging. Grabs and wrestling moves are present, but are of limited use. Combine that with a stupidly featureless world map that is a hassle to get around in, and that you have a game that feels more like a chore than fun.
Graphically, No More Heroes sports the now widespread cel-shaded look. While not terrible to look at, other games have pulled it off much better. In fact, I would venture to say that Killer 7, its Gamecube predecessor, looked more appealing. The character designs are somewhat interesting, but the environments are incredibly bland.
The sound is a bit better. The voice acting is passable, and the screams of your enemies and the hums and hisses of your beam katana sound very nice. No More Heroes also incorporates some creative use of the Wii remote's speaker, which is novel. The music is ultimately forgettable.
If you are so inclined, there are some extra things available to do in No More Heroes. By exploring the city you can find Lovikov balls, which you trade in for special abilities. You can obtain medals by doing well on the odd jobs or assassination missions, and learn special wrestling moves and upgrade your katana. You can also customize your outfit. Aside from the katana upgrades, all of these have little impact on the gameplay.
No More Heroes is a bold experiment in stylish action. It is worth playing, if barely, for the experience alone. But this game is a rental at most. Santa Destroy is an interesting place to visit, but you seriously wouldn't want to live there.