Not a Hero – Expanalysis

This article provides our impressions on the Playstation 4 version of NOT A HERO. Review code was supplied.

Devolver Digital are no strangers to the wild and wacky. In fact, their entire roster suggests that they have an aversion to anything but…

Roll7, on the other hand, made their mark with the phenomenally successful, but relatively straight-laced OlliOlli, so their latest game does feels like it’s come from left-field.

Not that it’s a bad thing. Far from it. Actually, it’s genuinely refreshing.

All Hail The Bunnylord

Not a Hero gets a lot of things right, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with it.

You’re trying to get a time-travelling bunny rabbit elected as mayor of Britain before the world ends in nuclear apocalypse. To do that, you need to take part in a series of missions that involve killing lots of people and doing tons of crazy stuff. Like killing mob bosses, or turning on massive self-promoting billboards.

Bunnylord has a rather warped sense of humour. He’s like Max of the Freelance Police, though not quite as demented. The anthropomorphic is gaining the attention of the people, but in order to keep his candidacy hopes alive he needs to keep impressing by building an effective ‘PR campaign’. Which is where you come in.

Choosing from a group of his mates, each one with differing skills and abilities, you must fulfil a series of objectives in each mission, making effective use of timing, power-ups and cover in order to get yourself to the bunny-wagon or copter at the end. Only then can you move onto the next task.

For instance, Steve is very effective at slide tackles, accuracy and range, whereas Cletus is more of a brawler and can shoot to interrupt enemy reloads and gain more critical damage.

Mission objectives vary widely, and can see you killing every enemy in an area, completing the mission in x amount of time, grabbing a series of collectibles within a mission, or even performing a certain amount of kills without being hurt.

Not a Hero is fast-paced, frantic, but genuinely entertaining. As soon as you learn that the cover mechanic is a bit of a decoy and not really that effective in the game, you’ll be diving head-first into the fray, caring little for the carnage left in your destructive wake. And you’ll relish in it. Time after time.

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Random levels of entertainment

One unusual feature of Not a Hero is that the game has randomly generated sentences. For instance, if you complete one mission, Bunnylord may gush over you and want to touch your brain. Replay the same mission and he may say the exact same thing about your elbows.

Same goes for mission objectives. One minute you’re detonating a warehouse full of dogs, next it’s parrots.

The game has no limits on quirkiness. And that goes for its ensemble cast. Cletus is a sometimes (yea, really) Scottish man, whereas Sammy is a full-on Welsh valleys female commando who calls everyone ‘boyo’ and wants to go ‘TIDY up’. In total, there are 9 characters, and you’ll unlock more as Bunnylord’s approval rating goes up and he gains extra members into his fan club.

Missions take place in marijuana factories, on rooftops, and even in plush offices. There’s nowhere Bunny won’t make you go to try and clean up the streets and win him the election. He’ll probably be drinking a Wombat Milkshake with chocolate sprinkles and a bit of manatee in it while he’s watching you do it. And maybe have a dead fox wrapped around his shoulders. Just because.

Depending on how you many objectives you fulfil at the end of each mission, you get a bunny-grading. Max all these out, and you’ll have additional approval and extra bonuses! You’ll also get treated to breakfast by Bunny, though you’ll have to sit through the agonisingly slow text crawl to find out what he thinks of your progress.

Characters will also be able to collect extra power-ups like grenades and power bullets on their travels and can use them against their enemies to make it through the objectives jus that little bit faster.  It’s mindless entertainment, but with an achieveable, yet challenging difficulty curve for true completionists.

Depending on how you many objectives you fulfil at the end of each mission, you get a bunny-grading. Max all these out, and you’ll have additional approval and extra bonuses! You’ll also get treated to breakfast by Bunny, though you’ll have to sit through the agonisingly slow text crawl to find out what he thinks of your progress.

Put simply, Not a Hero is sheer madness. When you hear your characters scream ‘Reload, you muppet.’ to themselves or ‘I’m not in Swansea anymore.’ when entering a new mission area, you know this is one title that walks a little on the wild-side.

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Future Expansion/Development for NOT A HERO

We don’t see much of anything happening. We may get a sequel at some point, likely dependent on how the game does sales-wise, but I don’t imagine you’ll see DLC anytime soon.

It’s really disappointing that the Vita port has been completely cancelled as, honestly, this would feel much more at home on a handheld.

As for patches, we didn’t encounter any major game-breaking issues, except for occasional slow-down when the action got a bit hot and heavy, or when the wagon was ready to take us away at the end of the mission.

All in all, the release build of Not a Hero on PS4 is very solid and complete.

The Good Stuff

  • It’s fast-paced, old-school, run and gun fun.
  • The humour has a real quirky, wicked streak in it.
  • All characters are varied and enjoyable in their own way.

The Bad Stuff

  • It can get repetitive quite quickly so is better played in short blasts
  • Cover-mechanic almost feels superfluous.
  • Text crawl on cut-scenes is just slightly too slow.

Final Analysis

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Joy Award

While it can get a bit repetitive, Not a Hero is an entertaining romp with constant, engaging action. It will keep you smiling throughout with its audacious humour and off-the-wall, bat-crap insane mission objectives that you can’t resist partaking in. 

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,