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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The satirical story attempts to send up elements of gamer culture via a protagonist who embodies stereotypical western gaming attitudes and behaviors, including obsessions with violence and sex, plus a blustery sort of overconfidence.
Positive Role Models
Travis is a rude, arrogant narcissist and a competitive assassin. He believes he's somehow different from and above murderers and psychopaths without realizing that in many ways, he's the same.
Ease of Play
Straightforward combat, simple controls, and three graduated difficulty levels make it easy for players of any skill level to power through the entire game.
Violence & Scariness
Players attack humanoid enemies with slashes and thrusts using a glowing sword. Enemies cry out in pain before disintegrating with a digitized flash. A subplot focused on tracking down a murderer shows several scenes where blood spatters cover furniture and walls, with text descriptions depicting acts of murder. A live-action sequence with real actors shows a man with his throat slit, blood gushing from the wound.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dialogue contains brief references to sexual concepts using language such as "hard-on" and "balls." Travis sits on a toilet when saving a game, his privates covered by a strategically placed text box. His butt is partially exposed during a digital transport sequence.
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Text dialogue contains strong profanity throughout, including the words "f--k," "s--t," and "d--khead."
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Products & Purchases
Many scenes contain references both subtle and overt to other games and works of pop culture, from Bit.Trip Runner and Hatoful Boyfriend to The Terminator and Stranger Things. The Complete Edition includes all of the downloadable content (DLC) packs that were released for the game as well.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Text dialogue contains references to drugs and alcohol, including beer and whiskey. Characters are seen holding and drinking from beer cans. One character smokes a flaming cigarette.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition is a satirical action game for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. It's a title filled with humor aimed at mature players. Its protagonist is more of a villain than a hero; he's a smug and narcissistic assassin who gets sucked into the worlds of several long-lost games where he fights digital characters with a glowing sword. Dialogue is filled with strong profanity; references to sex, drugs, and alcohol; and graphic descriptions of brutal murders. Several environments are coated in bright red blood, and a live-action sequence shows a man with his throat slit, blood spilling from the wound. The satirical script is filled with jokes containing a wide variety of pop culture references, from other games and game makers to film and TV shows. The story is designed to poke fun at elements of western gaming culture by depicting stereotypical gamer fixations, including obsessions with violence and sex and showing gamer arrogance at its worst. Whether players understand that all of this is meant to be satire will depend on their awareness of the way gaming and gamers are often perceived outside of gaming communities and on their knowledge of the game makers' intent. The Complete Edition also includes the downloadable content (DLC) packs that were released, which added items like new characters, costumes, and story chapters.
Is It Any Good?
Even if you're aware that what you're experiencing is supposed to be a form of satire, something still doesn't feel quite right -- and it goes beyond the game's lackluster action. The combat in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition is simple, repetitive, and not particularly satisfying. You'll fight groups of generic enemies -- some of whom will put up more resistance than others -- using a mix of light and heavy attacks as well as the occasional dodge and special attack. The individual games Travis plays don't last long -- about an hour each, if you're playing on normal difficulty -- but even that's long enough for a sense of tedium to set in. The hacking and slashing just isn't very entertaining, which works against the story argument that gamers are supposedly lured to love violent games because they're so much fun. Additional elements baked into each of these games-within-a-game -- such as solving neighborhood mazes and a drag racing mini-game -- are just as basic and underdeveloped as the combat.
Potentially even more problematic is that Travis just isn't likable. Granted, we're not really supposed to like this capable but conceited jerk so much as understand what he's meant to represent. But loathing the character you're playing as makes for a long slog, even in a game as short as this (around eight hours). The Complete Edition adds more content with two new characters to play, along with new clothing and skills. Unfortunately, you have to fight your way through the game to access this content, and the main story might not be enjoyable enough for some players to want to check out these extras. Bright spots, few as they may be, come in a kind of retro visual styling -- the long-lost console and games Travis uses were designed decades ago -- as well as some inside jokes for passionate gamers, including references to indie games and designers, some of which are delightfully obscure. But a few clever cultural references do not good satire make. It's debatable whether the No More Heroes series was ever an effective lampoon of western games and gamer culture or simply one more log for the fire it professed to parody, but this latest entry really misses the mark.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.