Scott Watson reviews NOT A HERO…
BunnyLord wants to be Mayor. He wants to be mayor so badly that he’s traveled back in time from 2048 to enable him to save the world from absolute obliteration and alien invasion. The only problem is, in order to convince the populace he should be elected he has to clean up the city with the biggest rag-tag bunch of freelance anti-heroes you’ve ever seen.
That folks, is the premise for Roll7’s insane, but incredibly entertaining and tough as nails shooter NOT A HERO.
Fans of Roll7’s hit OlliOlli will feel right at home with the game’s style. It has that wonderful 8-bit retro feel about it (but all in glorious HD of course), complete with matching audio, all played in their trademark ISO-Slant pseudo 2D view. It is indeed glorious to look at and more importantly play.
Although it’s been available for almost a year on desktop platforms, it’s only now getting its release on PS4. The game in short, is a shooter with cover based mechanics, it can also be quite the fiendish puzzler as well. Each level consists of three objectives; a primary and two secondaries that BunnyLord expects you to complete for him to help further his public image and candidature for mayor. There’s plenty of scope and creativity in these objectives too; be it tasks as mundane as putting up billboards, to more intense chase downs like hunting a courier down before he makes his drop, or saving hostages across a level. What’s great about these objectives is the way they make you have to think your way through the levels, while you indiscriminately take down every bad guy in your way.
Taking down the bad guys is also integral to the game, and where the most fun is to be had. BunnyLord can call on 9 different “heroes”, each unlocked as the game progresses. Each with their own unique fighting style and take downs, each humorous caricatures of particular nationalities and archetypes. Perhaps not particularly PC, but it’s all in good fun and dark comedy. As a Glaswegian myself, I have to say I’m persistently drawn to using self-styled lumberjack trucker Cletus whose shotgun-wielding antics and chatter bring a smile to my face every time. I’m also amazed at the amount of violence that can be portrayed graphically with the pixels Roll7 bring to life (and death) on the screen. I wince every time I see Cletus take a shotgun to the face of a downed enemy or someone is blown to bits by mines, grenades or turrets.
Yes folks, even the weapons, both primary and secondary, are inspired in their execution when used. The game calls to mind some of the finest anarchic moments from kill frenzies in the original GTA or even more recently the violence from the likes of Hotline Miami. The death and destruction can be relentless. Which is of course half the fun of this game!Extreme Force Actively Encouraged
Admittedly, there’s a degree of trial and error involved in each level as you learn the location of each enemy, objective and task and how to get to them. In a way it’s a lot like trying to perfect that line in OlliOlli, and like it I didn’t find it laborious or a drag because the game is too much fun for that to happen. In fact, my only complaint would be that the difficult ramps up pretty quickly when you hit the second suburb. But hey, that’s just me and my impatience and poor gaming skills, because for all the difficulty does increase I never felt the game was ever being unfair. I died as the result of carelessness, impatience or just downright stupidity on my own part.
Yes, there is a LOT to love in NOT A HERO. But be warned, underneath its black comedy and pixel art design lies a tough as nails shooter than can be at times unforgiving. Then again, so can Cletus’ shotgun to the face!