No More Heroes 3 was nearly always going to be a cult classic. Even before it was released the infamous nature of the series had made sure of that. A sequel 11 years in the making continuing the story of everybody’s favourite assassin Travis Touchdown and his band of allies. All it had to do to guarantee that cult classic status was not be completely terrible and I’m glad to say it is not!
The first 2 No More Heroes were, in many ways, SUDA51 at his best. Odd humour, fun combat and a style that feels unique. No More Heroes 3 continues that trend and in some ways that’s great, but it’s not without its problems.
In No More Heroes 3 the world is being invaded by aliens and it’s up to Travis to help put a stop to that in the best way he knows how. By defeating a bunch of bosses to slowly climb a leaderboard. It’s a ridiculous story full of bizarre moments that’ll make you laugh or leave your mouth agape.
Graphics and Style
No More Heroes 3 has strong scene direction during cutscenes and a sense of style during combat that helps make up for its shortcomings. It’s not the best looking game ever but its confidence helps make up for that and that confidence shines the best during its combat and cutscenes. Having everything explode on the screen as you beat the heck out of enemies is a very rewarding feeling.
When exploring the semi open-world sections though it’s clear that confidence can only hide so much. Areas are dull to explore and just don’t feel entertaining. They also lack the bustle needed to make them feel truly lived-in. The mini-games and everything else you can teleport to in the world is great fun, it’s just a shame exploring the world isn’t.
Overall No More Heroes 3 definitely looks better than the Wii games but it doesn’t feel like it’s pushing the boundaries of the Switch. The style of it though does a lot of heavy lifting to help you try and forget that. From the animated cutscenes to the combat and everything else there’s no denying that style of No More Heroes 3 is superb and helps make the experience more enjoyable. There are some really solid performances too from the cast that helps you like/hate them even more.
The open-world moments of No More Heroes 3 may drag but they lead to so much that does not. Plus you at least have a bike that makes it quick to get around. Combat is moreish no matter if you’re playing the game in handheld mode or not. I don’t always enjoy playing games with motion controls but No More Heroes 3 makes it fun. Slamming your hands down in real life as you slam your beam katana into an enemy feels great.
It’s definitely the combat of No More Heroes 3, combined with its style, that makes it stand out. If you love hack-and-slash games then No More Heroes 3 is a delightful addition to the genre. The need for your beam katana to recharge also means it has different pacing to other hack-and-slash games. You can only attack for so long and picking the right moment to recharge is vital to a successful battle. As does making sure you use your special moves at the right moment.
Different enemy types require different tactics of how to fight which help keep it feeling fresh, as do the boss battles. It feels rewarding taking down the bosses and climbing the rankings. Even the mini-games are enjoyable. Who knew mowing the grass and unclogging toilets could be fun?
Text is nice and large but the game does feature flashing and a variety of colours, which may make it slightly harder to read for some. It doesn’t allow you to change the subtitle size too so if you don’t find the text big enough you can’t alter it. The controls can utilise motion or not which is perfect if you’re on the go. I found it easy to play on both handheld and docked.
You can tweak the camera sensitivity, decrease the amount of blood and alter the BGM, SFX and voice volume separately. Outside of that though that’s about it for accessibility. You can’t change difficulty once you start the game either, which is a shame for those that like to increase or decrease their challenge accordingly.
No More Heroes 3 does so much right. It may not be the best graphically and there can be frame rate dips but there are so many lovely touches in its design if you can overlook it. From the pacing of each section making it perfect for handheld gaming to its over the top style No More Heroes 3 is often a joy to play.
Some battles may not be as enjoyable as others but there’s so much fun to be had in most of them that it doesn’t matter. The story is interestingly bizarre, the characters are larger than life and the combat is a delight. Arguably the most important thing though is that it’s a worthy entry in the franchise that will no doubt be another cult classic in the world of gaming.
We interviewed SUDA51 back in 2019. Why not check out the interview for more of an insight into No More Heroes 3 and his other games?
Featured image credit: Grasshopper Manufacture