No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is the sequel to Grasshopper Manufacture's 2008 game for the Wii. Set three years after the conclusion of the first game, Desperate Struggle heralds the return of Travis Touchdown and Sylvia Christel, although times have seemingly changed for the worse. This time around, Travis is out for revenge due to the death of Bishop Shidux, one of the supporting characters from the original game who owned the video store "Beef Head Videos" and was also Travis's only true friend.
Once again, Travis has to take down ranked assassins in his quest for vengeance. Travis's quest, however, is longer than the first, as he has to start by battling the 51st ranked assassin, Skelter Helter, instead of the 10th. The 51 rankings do not, however, manifest themselves as 51 separate boss fights; many ranked assassins are killed together by Travis or by other characters off-screen.
Additionally, the game features Henry and Shinobu as playable characters for the first time.
Travis' faithful cat Jeane also returns, although is suffering from obesity. Providing exercise for Jeane through various mini-games she can be restored to a healthy weight at which point she teaches Travis a special move.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle retains the same elements that made the first game such well crafted formula. The main objective of the game remains to earn enough cash in order to enter for the next available ranked battle. Travis can still traverse Santa Destory on his Schpeltiger among visiting several locations.
One of the biggest changes seems to be for the first game's money-making side jobs, which are now overhauled with 8-bit graphics and gameplay. Travis can once again catch coconuts or try out burger-flipping. Side jobs do not unlock assassination gigs as they did in the first game; instead, there are "revenge missions", in which Travis hunts down Bishop's killers. Apart from treasure chests with cash in them, side jobs are the only way to make money in the second game. However, ranked matches no longer require "entrance fees"; money can be spent on clothes from the store "Airport 51", new beam katanas, and training at "Ryan's Gym".
No More Heroes 2 combat is some of the most unique found in any 3rd person hack n' slash/beat em ups. It lends itself to several pedigrees by combining fast weapon combat with quick time finishing moves. All while adding stun techniques that allow for various professional wrestling maneuvers, and powered up states for Travis to perform instant kills and projectile attacks.
Also new to Desperate Struggle are more beam katana types that may be switched on the fly - including the red "peony," which extends as Travis' ecstasy gauge increases but takes longer to swing, as well as the pink "rose nasty", which are two shorter beam katanas that can be dual-wielded by Travis. More wrestling moves are also in the game, such as the gutwrench suplex and the spinning backdrop finisher.
The ability to lengthen the beam katana's combo at Thunder Ryu's gym has instead been replaced by an "ecstasy gauge" - the "tiger meter" that activates during dark side mode turns red as Travis lands more hits on enemies, and turns back to yellow as he takes damage. Once the tiger is red, Travis' combo extends. When the tiger has a white outline, the player can then activate a type of dark side mode by hitting the "-" button.
No More Heroes adds an assortment of minigames/side jobs that allows Travis to earn money to spend at Ryan's Gym for life and attack upgrades or at Leona's Lab on new beam katana's. Most emulate 8-bit retro game design and many are direct homage's to NES games.
Pizza with a Vengeance
Pizza with a Vengeance shares a similar aesthetic and the feel of Sega's Hang On. Overall, Travis is tasked with delivering pizza within a designated time frame on his Schpeltiger.
Man the Meat
Man the Meat plays very similar to Burger Time, where Travis is required to meet certain requirements given by customers and must cook their food to their liking. This is done by holding down the A button until specified cooked time is met.
Lay the Pipe
Lay the Pipe is a puzzle game where Travis needs to use left over parts in order to create a tunnel for the water flow to pass through. The flow of water increases the urgency of well time places and overall strategy.
Bug Out is a mini game where Travis uses a high powered vacuum to clear out rooms of crawling insects that infested have a restaurant.
Tile in Style
Tile in Style is a similar to Tetris but only gives a specified amount of blocks, Travis than needs to fit them into the area before the time expires.
Getting Trashed controls very similar to Asteroids, the objective is to collect all floating pieces of garbage while dodging rock like objects. Travis is only able maneuver by using a rocket to propel himself in any 8 way direction and use inertia to move after.
Stings So Good
Stings so good is the only original minigame that has been carried over from the original title. It does not use 8 bit graphics; Travis is tasked with cleaning up scorpions from an open field within a time limit.
Coconut Grabber is a simple game where Travis kicks trees and tries to catch the coconuts that fall out.
Bizarre Jelly 5
Bizarre Jelly 5 is a vertical-scrolling shooter with large-busted moe girls similar to the Parodius and Otomedius games. It is accessible in Travis' apartment and features several playable characters.
Travis is the protagonist of the No More Heroes series. Travis re-enters the world of the United Assassin's Association when his best friend Bishop's head is thrown through his window at the No More Heroes Motel. Silvia Christel approaches Travis after his fight against Skelter Helter and promises Travis that he will find those responsible if he slices his way up to No. 1 assassin.
Sylvia Christel is an agent of the United Assassins Association and is once again Travis' contact for the upcoming Ranked battles. After every match, Sylvia sends a clean up team to remove the remains of fallen assassins. She was once Henry's wife, but continues to seduce Travis with her assets.
Henry is Travis Touchdown's twin brother and is first introduced during the Rank #5 battle with Dr. Letz Shake in No More Heroes. Henry appears only after Travis has finally defeated Dr. Letz Shake for a second time in the Rank #10 battle. He than begins to regain consciousness while battling in a dangerous dream environment against Mimmy. He than defeats unnamed assassins #5 and #6 before returning to help Travis against Jasper Batt Jr.
The former #8 ranked assassin, Shinobu is the only opponent who Travis defeated by dismembering an appendage, allowing her to flee and later offer support during the his battle with Jeane. She then traveled Asia, becoming the Number 1 assassin and returns to aid Travis during his struggle against the UAA in his mission to seek revenge for Bishop's life..
Bishop runs the local video store, "Beef Head Videos" and is Travis' only real friend. It is revealed that the dismembered head that arrives at Travis' apartment is Bishop's which is meant to drive Travis out of hiding from the United Assassins Association.
The Ranked Assassins
Skelter Helter is the 51st ranked assassin and the first boss in the game. He is seeking revenge against Travis who had killed his brother Helter Skelter. He bares a striking resemblance to Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII.
Nathan Copeland is the 50th ranked assassin. He is the leader of a cult, and wields a boom box rocket launcher that transforms into a set of robotic arms.
Kimmy Howell is the 26th ranked assassin. She is a fan of Travis' and challenges him for his rank, not the other way around. She is accessible right after the fight with Charlie Macdonald. Kimmy Howell is the only Rank Defense battle in the entire game, as she attempts to take over your newly acquired Rank #25.
Charlie Macdonald is the 25th ranked assassin. He is a football player who, with his group of cheerleaders, pilots a giant mech.
Matt Helms is the 24th ranked assassin. He is a ghost of a young child who was abandoned in a house by his parents, who he killed through a pact with the devil.
Cloe Walsh is the 23rd ranked assassin. When Travis finds her she is locked up in a futuristic prison cell for unknown reasons.
Dr. Letz Shake is the 10th ranked assassin. In the first No More Heroes, Letz Shake was Rank #5 only to be killed by Henry, propelling Travis one step further. After a short flashback, Travis finally gets his chance to fight him.
Million Gunman is the 9th ranked assassin. Million Gunman is a western styled old man who claims to love money.
New Destroyman is the 8th ranked assassin. Destroyman fought Travis in No More Heroes and got cut in half; now he makes a return. Each half of his body is connected to a mechanical side, therefore, there are two enemies to fight now.
Ryuji is the 7th ranked assassin. Ryuji is a soft spoken samurai who begins the fight with a motorcycle duel.
Margaret Moonlight is the 4th ranked assassin. Margaret wields two scythes that can turn into a sniper rifle. May be related to Alice Moonlight.
The 3rd ranked assassin. He is a Russian cosmonaut who has recently returned to Earth from years spent in space. He glides around the battlefield in his floating space suit targeting Travis with his attack satellite.
Alice Moonlight is the 2nd ranked assassin. Agile and quick, she wields multiple beam katanas using her robotic spider suit.
Jasper Batt Jr. is the top ranked assassin. He is the owner of the Pizza Batt food chain that has been popping up all over Santa Destroy.
Not Ranked - Mimmy
Mimmy is not a ranked assassin, rather a character in Henry 's dream, similar to the characters in "Bizarre Jerry 5" and "Pure White Giant Glastonbury" .
Travis' default Beam Katana carried over from No More Heroes. It features a contracting tip that shrinks into the hilt that extends when Travis activates it.
The Camelia Mk-III is a modified version of Travis' final NMH beam katana, the Tsubaki MK- III, the weapon created by Travis' former mentor, Thunder Ryu.
While the existence of this Beam is hinted at in NMH, it wasn't available until now. It was Bishop Shidux last gift to his friend.
This is the final Beam Katana purchased from Leona's Lab for $300,000. It varies in power based on momentum.
PAL Territory Version
SUDA51, the series' creator, announced that two versions of Desperate Struggle will be available in Europe, an "EXTREME" version, which will keep the game's blood intact, as well as a second "milder" version, which will censor the blood similar to the original game's release in PAL territories.
The PAL version was released on May 28th in the UK and May 27th in Australia and New Zealand. In the European version of the game, the theme 'Philistine' has been replaced with a remix version. In the Australian version, it is replaced by yet another remix.