After 9 years the legendary assassin Travis Touchdown returns in the aptly named Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. With his trusty beam katana in hand you embark on another wild, overly stylish and ridiculous action game from the mind of Suda 51.
Travis Strikes Again takes place sometime after the events of No More Heroes 2. Travis has gone into hiding from his life of assassination and fame to be a recluse in the woods. Now he can finally sit down and beat all the video games released for the Death Drive Mk II game console. But before Travis can even begin, Bad Man tracks him down seeking revenge for murdering his daughter. As they begin to fight, the two are sucked into the Death Drive itself and find out they may be able to bring Bad Man’s daughter back to life if they can survive the death drive games.
There’s 6 games in total to complete and each one takes you through a plethora of game homages and call backs. You’ll track down a neighborhood murderer that opens with a pretty incredible FMV sequence. Another game has you completing weird platforming levels that feel right out of the early 3D game era. Most of the worlds ultimately felt more in service to the next reference or joke then to a fun gameplay sequence which makes a lot of the environments feel bland or outright forgettable.
Your base attacks consist of a light and heavy attack and a dodge roll and doesn’t go beyond that throughout the entire 7-8 hour game. You’ll find skills that you activate during combat scattered throughout, but they don’t amount to much above some basic AOE style attacks, simple projectiles and flashy effects.You’ll be locked in some form of combat arena what like a countless amount of times and it quickly starts to drag. While the other games in the franchise aren’t necessarily known for their combat, they were still more engaging then what’s on display here. Nothing in Travis Strikes Again gives you quite as a satisfying feeling as doing a suplex on a gangster like in the earlier entries. I wasn’t able to play the game in 2 player local co-op, but it doesn’t seem to be a game changer by and large as most of the Co-Op attacks I found were basically right before the end of the game.
That being said, Travis Strikes Again has a lot of heart and is very self aware of its shortcomings. A lot of humor in the game is very 4th wall breaking and luckily, I didn’t find it too overbearing. Characters referencing budget restraints stopping them from having more dialogue, or jokes about potential sequels being canned because of how poorly this game is going to review did land for me. But that was probably because of the overall disappointing experience I was having with the game, and I just wanted to find something to enjoy from a franchise I liked growing up.
It’s hard to recommend this game to anyone that isn’t a fan of No More Heroes or some of Suda’s previous work already. His bright and colorful grunge is still in full effect here and, as a fan of his games, this game had enough going on for me to see it through to the end. It sure has a lot great moments in the later stages that are worth seeing but it can be a bit of slog the make your way too. Shadows of the Damned fans would be pleased at least. But anyone looking to maybe check out the series or Suda’s games I wouldn’t recommend this as a great jumping on point.