For more than 10 years, fans have been waiting for another mainline entry in the No More Heroes series. Some Travis Touchdown fans were happy with the 2019 release of Travis Strikes Again, but the spinoff game left people wanting more, and now the series is back with the long-awaited release of No More Heroes 3 on Switch, It’s better than ever.
For the uninitiated, No More Heroes is a third-person action hack-and-slash series created by Goichi Suda, who plays Suda51 in the game world. The series relies heavily on its M rating and is filled with profanity, gore and other adult themes. Like a typical action movie, the main character, Travis Touchdown, enters a contest to see if he can become the number one assassin. He must take on every boss that stands in front of him, engaging in bloody battles with his trusty laser katana (basically a lightsaber).
No More Heroes 3 kicks off today, and Travis Touchdown has to climb to the top of the assassination charts once again; however, this time, he has to face a horde of aliens. While some fans of the series might think the gameplay formula sounds similar to past games, that’s not the case.
Typically, players will start out in Travis’s motel apartment in the city of San Destroy, which is essentially a small town inspired by the West Coast of the United States. In previous games, players had to participate in mini-games and short-term combat challenges to earn money to fight the next boss. In Heroes No More 3, it changed quite a bit.
It feels like there’s more variety in what players can do when they’re not fighting a boss. Instead of earning a certain amount of money by completing combat challenges and playing annoying mini-games, players must explore various areas and complete three combat challenges. Of course, there are other mini-games to play, such as a lawn-mowing game and a toilet-flushing activity, but neither is required.
It’s nice that there’s a lot of combat activity to engage in, because the combat in No More Heroes 3 is so shocking and satisfying. Travis has his katana back, and veterans should be immediately familiar with his controls. Still, Travis could take advantage of some new abilities that add more depth to somewhat basic combat.
Travis can use the X and Y buttons for heavy and light attacks, and when they connect with the alien enemies Travis encounters, the visuals are spectacular. On the Nintendo Switch, the game can look a little rough around the edges at times, but the fight scenes are always visually appealing.
The particle effects of each blade of the katana are always delightful. Thanks to the game going into slow-motion mode with every enemy death, players will no doubt enjoy fighting opponents, whether they be regular enemies or bosses.
All the mesmerizing and frantic on-screen action that takes place in combat certainly adds a poignant flavor to the game, but some players may be disappointed by how the game works outside of combat. While Travis was exploring Santa Destroy and surrounding towns, the Switch’s frame rate dropped very low, especially while using Travis’ turbo on his motorcycle. Draw distances are limited and texture popping can be quite jarring. Thankfully, none of these issues will occur in combat, but it’s still something players might find frustrating.
As for the new abilities Travis Touchdown can perform, there are four in total, each with its own cooldown. The first one players will get allows Travis to perform powerful kick moves, hitting targeted enemies. The other creates a small field that deals damage to enemies within it. Another has Travis pick up an enemy from the ground and throw them with a telekinesis-like motion. Finally, there’s one that slows enemies near Travis, allowing the player to hit quickly.
Using these new moves can change the pace of a hero’s no-longer hack-and-slash fights, but mastering them means little in terms of tempo. Players will gain the first of the four abilities early on, but the others will not be acquired naturally throughout the game. Instead, during the early boss fight, the last three moves go to Travis at the same time.
At first, the player might feel like an overwhelmed superhero, but that feeling gets old quickly, as Travis no longer learns the moves as the game progresses. Combat in No More Heroes 3 is still as engaging, dynamic, and satisfying as it is, but sadly, by the end, players will be performing the same moves over and over again.
It wouldn’t be a big deal if the bosses were as memorable as the ones in previous NMH games. While each boss fight in Heroes No More 3 is still fun in its own right, the alien cast doesn’t stand out compared to the rest. That doesn’t mean players won’t have fun, though. Travis and his pals are always cracking jokes, and No More Heroes 3 can be ridiculous at times.
One minute players will be shopping for ramen while listening to some of the best Japanese hip-hop music in video games, and the next they’ll be unclogging toilets by cranking a Switch Joy-Con. There’s a boss fight that’s essentially a turn-based Final Fantasy fight; scorpions are all over the map; aliens gift Travis T-shirts to clear certain game objectives; and there’s even a boss fight where players have to Win the game of grabbing chairs.
This will come as no surprise to fans of No More Heroes or the Suda51 games, but the series’ absurd nature shines through more than ever in the latest entry. Even if the gameplay is repetitive at times or the cutscenes go on for too long, the game is almost always fun and will often put a smile on the player’s face.
Now is the time to play No More Heroes for those of you who have always been interested in the series but were always too scared to join. The game throws the player’s expectations out the window and manages to keep throwing the player in a 10-15 hour story loop. No More Heroes 3 offers rewards for veterans, but novices can play too, if only to enjoy wacky and ridiculous boss fights.
No More Heroes 3 can be repetitive at times, and doesn’t have the best bosses in series history, but players old and new will have a good time with the game. This is a very lively and colorful game that only shows the true wildness of Suda51.
No More Heroes 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on August 27, 2021. Game Rant has obtained the code for review.