No More Heroes 3 Review - Out of This World
No More Heroes 3
Review copy provided by the publisher
Nintendo systems were often seen as too kid-friendly by some for years, which made the release of the original No More Heroes all the more refreshing.
Coming from the always creative Suda51, this violent and very unique series of games received two entries on the Nintendo Wii that became cult classics right out of the gate. The series then took a long hiatus though until the release of the fairly mediocre spinoff Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes in early 2019.
While that game might not have been exactly what fans were looking for, a third entry in the mainline series was announced a few months later and it is finally here with the release of No More Heroes 3.
- More: Read why the first two games are still worth playing too.
No More Heroes 3 had one of the more unique trailers in recent years back at The Game Awards 2019, which set up the plot of the game without having any idea that it was No More Heroes related until the very end. This carries over directly into the game as one of the first cutscenes feels like it’s ripped straight out of a Studio Ghibli movie.
The premise is that a young boy named Damon finds an alien named FU, which leads to them having sort of an ET and Elliott style bond before FU is able to return to his home planet just as agents are arriving to take him. Then cut to years later where Damon is the CEO of a major corporation and FU along with nine other alien assassins come back to Earth and reveal his grand plan of taking it over.
The places that this story goes are unlike anything you will find in any other game and it is absolutely fantastic.
This is where everybody’s favourite Travis Touchdown comes into play, as he is brought into the mix after being attacked and gets roped into yet another assassin rankings competition. The difference this time though is that the competition is full of aliens for Travis to take down along the way. These aliens aren’t the only opposition in his path though, as you will see unfold throughout the game.
The story and charming characters are what always makes the No More Heroes series so distinct and this entry is no different. There’s no shortage of twists of turns throughout the game either, which is no surprise with the craziness that the franchise is known for. The places that this story goes are unlike anything you will find in any other game and it is absolutely fantastic.
Just like in the past, No More Heroes 3 features several homages to different pieces of media, both Western and Japanese. This includes multiple subtle and direct nods to the Kamen Rider series, as well as an actual scene completely inspired by the famous training on the beach scene from Rocky 3 of all things. Like its predecessors, the ways that No More Heroes 3 references other games, movies, and more really help it to stand out.
The game features a fairly basic structure for each chapter of the game, including even an opening theme and closing theme as if each chapter was an episode of an anime. Each chapter will have you traveling to one of the different overworld areas in the game and participating in what is known as Designated Matches against various aliens. Three of these must be completed in every chapter to then unlock what is known as a Ranking Battle against the boss of that chapter, which is typically the next ranked assassin that you are after.
Where the game does get a bit tedious though is where you then have to collect a certain amount of the in-game currency known as Utopicoins and deposit them at an ATM just to enter the Ranking Battle. Early on in the game, this isn’t a major problem since just completing the Designated Matches and a few sidequests should earn you close to enough, but it can take a good bit more work later when the entry fee keeps rising.
Thankfully, the gameplay is what helps to alleviate this issue, which has always been a strong point of the No More Heroes series. The core gameplay is just as you would anticipate, with Travis Touchdown utilizing his beam katana and wrestling ability to mow down hordes of aliens that get in his way. These are easily executed with the Joy-Cons via motion controls or just regular button controls with other controller options.
There’s much more to it this time around though, with much of it being based around his Death Glove controller that actually comes from Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. This Joy-Con inspired power-up features four special abilities that you can use in battle, which each have their own cooldown meter.
Travis also has the new Slash Reel at this disposal, which gives you special bonuses every time you slash through an enemy to kill them. These can vary from getting extra UtopiCoins to being able to use Full Armor Mode. The latter allows him to transform into his own Kamen Rider meets Gundam type suit and use a deadly attack on the enemies that are on screen.
This suit also gets to be used in some special battles in the game as well where things turn into more of a shooter. In these fights, you get to fly around and shoot his lasers or Megadeath Particle Cannon. Adding in battles like these are a nice change of pace that helps the game feel fresh throughout.
No More Heroes 3 is far from the best looking or performing game out there, but it does well enough in both areas.
No More Heroes 3 also completely turns the game on its head at times too, often surrounding the boss fights in the game. The Musical Chairs section is something you would never expect to see in a game, but they manage to pull it off somehow. Going into any further detail on that or bringing up some of the random moments you’ll come across in the game like this would just ruin the experience, as it’s best to just experience it for yourself with no knowledge of what is to come.
This also extends to the various sidequests in the game as well. Every area has toilets that you can find and unclog, but they each have their own sets of missions and challenges that you can take part in to earn extra UtopiCoins. My personal favorite was the one where you are put on a cannon where you have to fend off giant alligators that are trying to attack the coastline.
No More Heroes 3 is far from the best looking or performing game out there, but it does well enough in both areas. The visuals can be very colorful and the different designs of the aliens are solid, but much of the overworld leaves a lot to be desired. Some areas like Santa Destroy are well designed, but then some other areas in the game feel a bit underdeveloped.
The Call of Battle area in particular actually has an interesting idea with the design, but the execution is poor with how hard it is to tell what parts of the stage are actually able to be accessed and walked on, even with the constant usage of the map. This led to much more frustration than anything else when trying to navigate to find the next Designated Battle or sidequest to complete.
While the overworld design leaves a little to be desired at times, the good news is that it actually performs quite well. There was some worry about the framerate and such when in these areas, but everything seems to have been polished for a much smoother experience. This also carries over to the combat, where it almost always felt very fluid, which is of the utmost importance in a game like this.
Featuring a great variety of different styles of gameplay and combat, No More Heroes 3 rarely feels stale and keeps players coming back for more with the over-the-top story that they have come to expect from the series. Fans were a little worried after the lacklustre spinoff, but No More Heroes 3 brings the series back to form in arguably the best outing to date.