“A violent today for a better tomorrow.”
Time travellers these days, am I right? In a game with no relation to the Magneto comic book of similar title, BunnyLord has come back to win elections but that means cleaning up the streets and although he’s not above getting his own hands dirty a number of times throughout the 21 days of campaigning, players are going to help a LOT. This involves taking cover behind bricks, whatever’s around, firing shots at increasingly difficult hordes of enemies, sliding to cover, execution style attacks, grenades, laser beams, rocket launcher – type bullets, grenade-shots, drill-shots, turrets, nail bombs, and whatever’s handy really.
The cover mechanic found in NOT A HERO is genius (known as ISO-Slant, a Trademark of Roll7 / Devolver Digital), each level becomes progressively harder and requires the further honing of skill. It gets to the point where dozens of unstoppable ninjas who one hit kill the player are rushing in. Some even take double the amount of bullets meaning run and duck for cover, before shooting again. Not just ninjas, ‘mafiaso’ using a variety of weapons as the player makes due with what’s randomly generated and/or scripted to be on that map.
Graphics being at a smooth 60 frames per second and high resolution with impressively animated pixel art is a massive advantage for a quick, action oriented shooter full of nonstop mind bugging gun-fights. Any fans out there familiar with Elevator Action from the arcade game company Taito will need to know something: NOT A HERO is like Elevator Action on steroids with the difficulty of Ninja Gaiden. From that aspect though, the levels are way huge, and that take-away might not really do NOT A HERO justice.
The attention to gameplay design by development Roll7 in NOT A HERO is amazing. The game seems perfectly balanced and tuned to make it so that survival and exceeding walk a thin line from complete failure and death. It’s possible to do great things and pull of some crazy accomplishments in what is basically a never-ending battle, but barely just so – making the reward that much sweeter upon victory.
There are 9 playable characters in total which are unlocked as the approval rating of BunnyLord progresses. This isn’t just done by beating each level once, which will take you a good amount of hours to master, it’s also to do with side-objectives for each mission. Each playable character adds a whole new dimension to the game, making it desirable to play through levels again.
Steve: Accurate and keeps things simple. This is an easy favorite, he of course gets lots of different types of ammo for his gun, but he’s reliable and standardized in terms of what to expect. This is often times an advantage more than anything, but is the vanilla setting of gameplay. Special Powers Include: BunnyLord’s best friend, slide tackle enemies, fast reload, and good shot range.
Cletus: Claims he’s the “only character with a real gun” because he blast doors open with his shotgun weaponry. In addition to blasting doors down his special powers also include killing enemies with one shell while mid-reloading, enemy blowback, and preventing enemies from reloading their own guns. Apparently he thinks he’s scottish too.
Samantha: Speed and finesse come into play as this assassin uses her race as a superpower, which actually makes sense because she’s Welsh. Although moving around so fast there’s some amount of clumsy aim in between dashes, fast executions are a major benefit once this character is mastered. Reloading while running, and firing guns while running are also possible. This brings me back to the age old debate about whether or not fans could handle a Resident Evil main series entry in which characters could shoot while running. So funny.
Jesus: Shoot and slide, moving executions, high rate of fire, run really fast, and enjoy constant hip thrusting as flamboyant Jesus in the pink spandex. Unfortunately no relation to the lord and savior of the christian faith, but religious complaints can be directed to the BunnyLord offices.
Mike has two crazy deadly shots from his sawed off shotgun and then he’s out of ammo. But he can do stealth, silent executions very quickly. He’s an absolute spaz but it’s a fun challenge trying to play through levels as Mike. He describes himself as a “functioning alcoholic”.
There’s also Kimmy (who uses Katana swords and Uzi’s), Ronald (bashes faces off with a hammer), and a number of further unlocked characters later in the game by achieving more incredible feats of gameplay, 9 in total. Unlocking each new character opens up fresh abilities that can help the race for a perfect score, intensely upping the ante.
Upon the defeat of an entire level, BunnyLord will receive a Ratings update on your progress doing side-objectives for a given level. Stuff like, perform 12 executions on guards, saving innocent pandas from evil ninja executions, defeating a level without getting hit more than a few times, or destroying attack helicopters that are after you all go towards getting higher approval ratings.
This adds a lot of replay value while undoubtedly chasing the side-objectives of the game itself (84 to be exact) and defeating the harder, final chapters which can take hours each to fully master and defeat. Think Ninja Gaiden type of difficulty but with controls that are more visceral and straightforward. I played the game on Windows PC through the Steam storefront on an Xbox ONE Controller and found it to be excellent feel. There’s also no batteries required once the right drivers are installed through a standard USB plug, which is nice. The title will also be available on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita which is great so more people are able to enjoy it.
Replay Ability: High
Engine Performance: Excellent
I feel confident highly recommending this game since it’s addicting to play, provides a real sense of purpose to the violent action it portrays, it’s fun taking out challenging enemies, jumping roof to roof, crashing through windows, and acquiring crazy over-the-top weapons in a balanced ISO-Slant ‘ed world. The soundtrack keeps a pulse moving the player even further into the game’s depths, and the replay value of figuring everything out is truly of solid length. NOT A HERO is a Platinum Game of 2015.
Overall Score: 9.5 / 10
RGN Rating: Platinum Game
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Available On: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PS Vita
Played On: Windows PC
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.