No More Heroes 3 Review: Less Heroes, More Fun!
RRP $ 60.00
“No More Heroes 3 is a jewel for the Nintendo Switch that no action fan should be without in his collection.”
Unique and fun writing
Lots of fan service
Some empty hub locations
Goichi “SUDA51” Suda is one of the most unique and creative video game designers, directors and writers on the market. His best-known works include Killer7, The Silver Case, Fire Pro Wrestling and the No More Heroes series. His newest game, No More Heroes 3, is another Suda homerun that shows off his talent for a thought-provoking, high-octane adventure.
No More Heroes 3 is a sequel to two earlier games in the series, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. After playing 2019 Travis Strikes Again and being very impressed, my expectations for the next numbered entry in the series were sky high. With hopes so high, I’m stunned that No More Heroes 3 is delivering them – and quite a bit more – on every imaginable front.
No More Heroes 3 is an action-packed good time with strong writing and loads of fan service as the icing on the cake. Fans of No More Heroes, Suda51, and Hack-and-Slashes wouldn’t do themselves any favors by missing out on this Nintendo Switch gem.
Suda strikes again
The game begins in classic No More Heroes fashion, with Travis immediately thrown into a new war and with the chance to climb the killer rankings. This time his enemies are not killers from Earth, but aliens from different planets that the extraterrestrial prince and self-proclaimed “Goddamn superhero” FU has gathered.
They find out that FU was once an adorable little creature who made a connection with a human boy, Damon, whom Travis Strikes Again players can instantly recognize. Upon returning to Earth to meet his friend again, he not only wears a new humanoid look, but also his own private army of alien fighters and a new goal to conquer the planet. It’s a shame he didn’t expect a tough otaku assassin to have the power to defeat them all one by one.
As in previous No More Heroes entries, Travis faces these fighters as he climbs the killer rankings and encounters some surprises in the process. Of course, it’s not cut and dried as it may seem; Suda’s writing makes the adventure a lot more unique than the gameplay premise seems to allow.
As a fan of the series, I felt a variety of emotions as I went through the story – from joyful joy to sadness. We see Travis go through more than ever, and for the first time we see him accept the fact that he is the hero of a world where (wait for it) there are no heroes left. Players will really want to play through Travis Strikes Again to get the full impact of this character growth. It makes the story of this game even more powerful.
Travis isn’t the only character in the spotlight in No More Heroes 3. Sudaverse characters pop up in abundance throughout the game, with tons of surprising faces to the left and right. Each of these characters offers something new, and I couldn’t get enough of any of them. It really feels like a wonderland for fans of each of Suda’s past games. And yes, that includes games like Fire Pro Wrestling.
The action increases
No More Heroes is not just defined by its spelling; The action here really takes the series to the next level. The hack-and-slash battles are a mix of the classic battle from the numbered titles on the Wii and the series’s Switch spinoff. Ripped straight from Travis Strikes Again, Travis can now perform light and heavy attacks instead of just having access to a beam katana button and punch / kick melee attacks. This already offers players a wider variety of fighting options than in previous titles, but there is a lot more on the agenda.
Holding the joystick forward, backward, or neutral will allow players to perform different attack strings with their respective light and heavy attack buttons. For the first time in a numbered entry, Travis can also jump. This gives players access to a forward moving, airy blow and an airborne attack that drops Travis like a stone.
Offense isn’t everything in this game; Players can block and dodge to go around the enemy. The Dark Step mechanic, which acts as a parade, also returns with a new twist. If Travis dodges before an enemy hits him, he will immediately move behind them and become invincible to all attacks for a short time. He can either unleash a barrage of beam katana attacks or grapple with enemies and instantly recharge his katana (you can also shake the Joy-Con as you walk to recharge it for the first time in the series).
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s the Death Glove attacks returning from Travis Strikes Again. Players begin with a harmful “death blow” that can put a great distance between them and their enemy. As players progress, they will unlock more death attacks, including Death Force, a power surge that pushes enemies farther away and damages anyone they come in contact with. There is also “Death Slow”, a field that slows down anyone who comes in contact with it, and “Death Shower,” another field that showered everyone in the vicinity with harmful one-bit pellets.
Although the fight may be clunky at first for anyone unfamiliar with No More Heroes, I found it to be best implemented on the series. Players can get creative and use their Death Glove attacks to tackle challenging enemies in a unique way that suits their play style.
Do you want to play super lame and keep your enemies away? Use Death Kick or Death Force to push them away and attack if you want. Do you want to pile the damage and get rid of a pesky enemy quickly? Knock them down, use Death Slow and Death Shower in conjunction with your heavy attacks to end them faster than ever. The possibilities are endless and make for a game that never ceases to be fun even with later playthroughs.
Trust me, I played three times before writing this review.
What’s all the fuss?
After fans demanded their return in every game since No More Heroes, Suda has finally delivered by recreating the GTA-esque hub world everyone remembers the original. Players ride their very different Kaneda-von-Akiras motorcycle through Santa Destroy and neighboring towns to advance in the game, collect missions, and earn money doing odd jobs.
While some of these areas can be a little bare, it seems like a deliberate design choice – especially in the Call of Battle section, which is a cheeky joke about the Call of Duty series. Even then, I enjoyed traveling through these areas looking for kittens, trading cards, new t-shirts, sushi stands, and toilets for diving. Yes, all the goodness of side quests returns from No More Heroes 1 and 2. But for the first time, these missions are not needed to earn progress money.
No More Heroes 3 allows players to progress at will once they have completed three required battles to earn their chance to fight the next alien boss. Players can completely ignore the more mundane odd jobs like mowing the lawn and shooting kaiju alligators for the usual combat missions. Or they run around collecting scorpions for the sushi guy.
As in the past, these missions can seem a bit intrusive and repetitive. In the combat missions, you are trapped in an area with a number of enemies that you must defeat, the only difference between them being the enemies and locations. This is doubly true for the shooter missions where you have to defeat a huge alien boss.
However, if you like the Combat and Shooter sections (like me) you will find that these sections are just another chance to test your skills against new enemies.
No More Heroes 3 is one of the best action games of the year and offers well-rounded fun. The writing, gameplay, performance, music, and virtually everything else come together to create a must-play game for the Nintendo Switch, just like the 2007 original on the Nintendo Wii. Fans of Suda51, No More Heroes, action games, and having a hilariously good time must try this game out. If you weren’t a fan of developers Grasshopper Manufacture and Suda before, this is what you’re looking for.
How long it will take?
My first playthrough on normal / easy difficulty took about 11 hours, but that was without me getting through all of the unlockable and side quests. When I returned to tackle the sharp / hard setting for New Game + and get it 100% complete, I hit about the 17 hour mark.
Is there an alternative?
There’s no shortage of good hack-and-slash and character action games in the world, but No More Heroes is one of a kind. There is no comparable title in both the writing and action departments. The only alternatives out there would be past No More Heroes entries, which I recommend playing through before trying your hand at No More Heroes 3.
Should you buy it?
Yes sir. If you want a one-of-a-kind action experience like you’ve never had before, I recommend No More Heroes 3. Combat can be a little shaky at times and its methods of progression are not for everyone, but the game offers an adventure switch owners shouldn’t get that miss.