Written by Thomas GJ Sharpe
The trailer for Not A Hero set high expectations with ridiculous violence, surreal comedy and well-pitched pixel aesthetic. I can assure you that this game is 90% what it said on the tin and thank heavens for that. Hero has a solid, bold and confident voice in all of its facets.
At first it appeared to be an ultra-violent Bonanza Bros., one of my favourite games of all time. But the cut-section'd buildings and cover system are just the tip of the iceberg. Throw in the viciousness of Hotline Miami, but with a more humourous edge, and a dash of the fantastic (if buggy) Gunpoint, and you have a very potent game. What makes it spark right off the bat, and throughout the campaign, is the incredible writing and voice-acting.
The story is of a psychopathic rabbit called Bunnylord who is running in the British election. Hiring in a selection of killers, Bunnylord hopes to prove he can overcome evil by repeatedly shooting it in the face. The mission briefings are a master-class in nonsensical, hyperactive comedy that may grate on some, but had me rapt. At times, I wanted slightly less pre-mission talking, but on the whole I've watched them with glee.
In-game, you take control of an assassin of your choice, each with their own distinct character, voice and perks. This allows fantastic replay value as you try and chase the three optional goals of each mission. The quips of each murderer are some of the best I've ever heard, both writing and acting, with a distinct UK thread running throughout. My particular favourites are the shot-gunning Scot who doesn't own a kilt, screeching Swansea lass, and Mike who is definitely not drunk. You grab different and suitably silly temporary ammo upgrades and secondary weapons such as mines and Molotovs as you rip through drug-dens, warehouses and apartment blocks.
The gameplay moves at a decent speed, keeping action exciting and giving the appearance of fluid, talented execution, any slower and it could feel a bit thin on the ground. The rich, efficient animation, weapon effects, crackin' music and exemplary voice-acting, build on a very simple premise that never outstays its welcome. All you have to do, however, is consider it all for a moment when you are not playing the game and realise that there is very little there, but really, you don't care as it is an incredible laugh both in cut-scene and in-game.
The campaign is, admittedly, rather short, and even with nine varied characters and three unique goals in each mission, this is a brief game. I expect a medium to low replay value as well, sadly, as the levels are simply not varied in approach or structure enough. I would expect I'd need a bit of time between plays to watch the cut-scenes again and enjoy them, however great they are first time round. I personally don't think that a tenner is exorbitant for this game, perhaps a couple quid too much, but there is enough here to justify it. I've had many a dull experience with games that stretch the same content over a much wider space for triple the price, and this is kudos to the developers for making such a rich game.
From the hilarious graffiti, to the aggressive swearing, to the constantly thrusting killer called Jesus, Not A Hero makes more sense, and more happiness, than most others dare to.
I can’t really add much to what Tom has said and I agree with pretty much everything. I too found the between level dialogue a bit of a drag and quickly skipped through them to get back to the action. This is a stupidly slick and joyous experience though and it never fails to raise a smile. I’m not sure there’s quite enough replay value to hit the heights that Tom has gone to with his score but it’s a great experience while it lasts.
Tom’s Score - 9/10
Gareth’s Score 8/10