Not a Hero Review – Political Warfare
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: PC (reviewed on), PSVITA, PS4
Genre: Shooter, Action
Sliding, shooting and executing its way on Steam and PSN comes Not A Hero, a 2D side-scroller shooter released by the developers of Roll7. Here in Not A Hero, its up to you blast your way through a criminal underworld in order to boost up the public approval for your anthropomorphic rabbit boss, BunnyLord. Through its fast gameplay, brutal combat and bizarre sense of humor – Not A Hero is a game that satisfies the needs of players through its fun challenges and strong replay value.
Kicking off Not A Hero, you start off as a professional assassin under the name of Steve – who is operating for BunnyLord as his active campaign manager. With a city currently controlled by three main criminal organizations, BunnyLord explains that in order to gain public approval, we must eliminate these threats head on through excessive means of violence. By running and gunning your way through a series of main criminal bases and operations – it’s up to you to bring safety back into the community, and to sway the undecided voters to consider BunnyLord for mayor in the upcoming elections.
There are around 21 missions for you to complete, with 4 secondary challenges to take up as well. As you play Not A hero, your main assignments range from destroying bases, stealing confidential materials, rescuing hostages and taking out any specific targets. Each level varies in main objectives, with additional challenges such as eliminating everyone, racking up kill combos, or finding hidden objects, serving as the main replay value in all of them. At the end of each mission, Not A Hero gives you a ranking based on the side objectives you managed to complete, which in turn boosts up your overall approval ratings.
Gameplay is what I can only describe is an odd mix of Hotline Miami and Bro Force. Within Not A Hero, players can run, shoot, slide and hide behind cover as they battle their way through local thugs and mobsters. Difficulty of Not A Hero is especially challenging, and operates more or less on the same basis as Devolvers Hotline Miami 2. Quick reflexes and mindfulness of your surroundings are two prominent gameplay factors that must be mastered in order to progress throughout Not A Hero, especially in the later challenges of the game. Controls are also easy enough to pick up and play, and are especially responsive with the added controller support.
In regards to playable characters, Not A Hero has a neat roster of nine individual heroes to which players can unlock through the secondary challenges. Starting off with Steve, players for example can choose between heroes such as Scottish Redneck Cletus, angry Welsh woman Samantha, Spanish lady-killer Jesus and the katana wielding Kimmy. Each hero comes back with packed with their own unique perks and weaponry – with suave Jesus for instance providing the incredibly useful perk of additional ammo. But with each perk, there are also some minor set backs to keep the players constantly challenged the further they progress. Using Jesus as an example again, his excessive ammunition doesn’t really account to much, as he’s rubbish when it comes to aiming at his targets properly.
Aside from its fun combat and cute visuals, one factor that I absolutely love about this game is its sense of humor. As you can probably pick up through its bizarre plot, Not A Hero is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and prides itself in that regard to deliver fairly strong comedic moments.
Whilst the comedy isn’t inherently laugh out loud, its humor relies more heavily on its strange setting, and random dialogue to convey its humor. For instance, with the start of every new mission there’s generally a meeting with BunnyLord as he discusses the upcoming mission brief. With that as well, there’s always something strange and incredibly random that BunnyLord may present forward within these meetings – such as having a clown stand behind him or a dead body placed randomly in the corner. These little moments may not sound like anything too special, but really these really do highlight the more playful, and sadistic nature of both our central protagonist and the Not A Hero’s tone.
If you love challenging arcade shooter titles, Not A Hero is the kind of game that players can easily invest a good amount of time into it. Gameplay is fast paced, action packed, and helluva lot of fun to play. Through its cute visuals, energetic music, and stereotypical characters – Not A Hero is a game that hones in the bizarre, and prides in not taking itself too seriously.