Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes didn’t seem like a game that needed DLC when I reviewed it earlier this year. But since it’s a game that’s essentially about video games, I guess it would be weird if Travis Touchdown’s latest adventure didn’t do the most video game thing of 2019 and have DLC for no reason.
Despite my reservations about Grasshopper Manufacture charging players for more content, I was excited to try out the game’s first of two DLCs. “Black Dandelion” doesn’t add much to the game—a new character with two new abilities and a new text adventure specifically focused on Badman—but I’d been looking for a reason to jump back into Travis Strikes Again anyway.
I was expecting to write about what the new character, the katana-wielding Shinobu Jacobs, adds to the gameplay, but I haven’t been able to play as Shinobu because of another element that Travis Strikes Again just didn’t need: a New Game+ option.
Grasshopper added NG+ to Travis Strikes Again a little while after the game was released, even then I thought it was unnecessary. Once you beat the main game, you can replay any level you want, whenever you want, at any difficulty level you want, all while continuing to level up your characters. There was already a NG+ option built into the game’s basic foundations. But, like the idiot I am, I started a NG+ anyway just to see what the difference was. Turns out, there wasn’t much difference at all. Surprise, surprise.
Unfortunately, the one thing that NG+ does achieve is making it impossible for me to play as Shinobu until I beat the game again.
The game does warn you that you’ll need to complete the main story before playing as Shinobu. This is a slight spoiler, but after you beat Travis Strikes Again, Shinobu shows up at Travis’ trailer and just… hangs out. If you buy the DLC and you already beat the game, you should be able to replay any of the Death Balls as Shinobu no problem. However, if you start a NG+ (which, by definition, you do by completing the main story), you’ll have to beat the game all over again before playing as Shinobu.
Bafflingly, Travis Strikes Again only offers one save file, so when I started a NG+, I completely erased all progress on my original save. Now I will have to beat the game all over again to play as Shinobu. I’m on the second Death Ball. So, that’s really, really annoying.
Thankfully, the other half of “Black Dandelion” is accessible immediately. The new text adventure, “Badman Strikes Back,” is actually pretty darn good. It gives Badman, who made his series debut in Travis Strikes Again, a compelling backstory, explaining how he went from being a failed baseball player to a mob gopher to an assassin bent on revenge for the death of his daughter, Bad Girl. “Badman Strikes Back” puts Badman in a much more sympathetic light, adding depth to a single-note character. After reading “Badman Strikes Back,” I’d like to see the bat-wielding, beer-guzzling psychopath play a larger role in the series going forward. If you were hoping for something that continued the main story, “Badman Strikes Back” might disappoint, but the second DLC adds a new chapter to “Travis Strikes Back,” so we might get an epilogue in April when that one launches.
I’m still not convinced that Travis Strikes Again needs DLC, but the season pass only costs $10, so it’s probably not the worst purchase you can make. Still, I can’t really make a complete judgment, considering I need to beat the game… again. Hopefully I’ll have time to do that before Bad Girl’s DLC launches in April.