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No More Heroes 3 Review – Welcome to the Garden of Insanity

No More Heroes 3 Review – Welcome to the Garden of Insanity

no more heroes 3

It has been 11 years since Travis Touchdown last climbed through the rankings, and now Suda51 and company are back to bring forth Travis Touchdown’s greatest challenge yet. No More Heroes 3 picks up pretty much where 2 left off, and we are seeing a more mature (Umm… maybe that’s the wrong word) version of Travis that has to face a serious threat to Earth or else. It is up to the legendary assassin to finish the job and save the world.

So does No More Heroes 3 continue the awesome story of Travis Touchdown? Or should the series have stopped with No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle? Let’s find out!

no more heroes 3 travis touchdown

The story this time around is another bizarre one told only the way Suda51 can. Basically, we are initially introduced to an old video game called Deathman that is being narrated by a new character named Damon, a game where the lead character must find and kill all 10 alien bosses to win. Eventually, we get to play the last stage of Deathman, killing a slew of aliens and their overlord, before we get into the nitty gritty of the actual story. Damon follows a trail of purple blood and saves a cute little alien named FU (Nice pun), and the two of them become the best of friends. Over time, FU must return to his home planet, and Damon helps him. Upon departure, FU promises Damon that he will be back in 20 years, which is where No More Heroes 3 truly begins.

20 years later, Damon, who has banked on some of the knowledge bestowed upon him by the alien FU, awaits the arrival of his friend. Right on schedule, FU arrives with nine big boss friends (10 total, a nice connection to the Deathman game), and FU’s intentions are immediately communicated. He’s not on Earth simply to reunite with Damon, but he plans to destroy the world because he is a super hero.

Well, you guessed it, this is what brings Travis to the scene with some of his colleagues, Shinobu Jacobs and Bad Girl. These two are still infatuated with Travis and consider him their master, and the three of them start the game by killing some alien peons.

This is about what you would expect from a No More Heroes title. Right out of the gate, we get some abstract storytelling, over-the-top action, and hilarious and often-times childish dialog to set the pace. You do not need to have played prior games in the series to understand, but it helps a whole lot more if you have, as No More Heroes 3 does not go into great detail about the cast of characters surrounding Travis Touchdown.

no more heroes 3 mr blackhole

Sylvia makes her return early on to let Travis Touchdown know about the Galactic Superhero Rankings and where he sits upon it. Just when you think all of this ranking system is over, it expands beyond his world and into the galaxy. I have to be honest, this is a stupid and clever way to expand the No More Heroes universe and give Travis a bigger goal to tackle than the previous games. It makes you wonder how they can even continue this formula if they decide to make a No More Heroes 4 down the road.

Basically, with beam katana in hand, the supporting cast to help prepare, and a new objective to become the #1 Ranked Superhero in the galaxy, Travis once again finds himself climbing up the ranking ladder taking out the top 10 baddies from space and beyond. I mean, what more could you ask for from such a title and developer? No one expects or even wants a Scorsese-level video game story from Suda51. They know what they are getting, and that is a Tarantino-level of direction and creativity. One that breaks down walls, makes questionable decisions, but is an absolute blast throughout.

The way the game plays is pretty straight forward: Travis proves himself by collecting money and clearing Designated Matches, an objective that pins you against a few standard enemies or one rather strong mini-boss, to ultimately earn his chance to challenge the next super alien on the ranking, and this system rinses and repeats until the end of the game. It is rather nice, actually, because each section that leads to the numbered boss feels like a short game in itself. The way the game even has intros for each boss/rank and an ending credit after killing them adds to this feel even more. The intros and outros are, by any measure, absolutely fantastic. Beautiful visuals, unique and colorful designs, and an excellent choice of tunes to set the stages even more.

No More Heroes 3 Designated Match

Gameplay is split into three areas: combat, chores/side jobs, and exploration. As far as combat goes, this is the meat-and-potatoes of the series. As gorgeous and stylized as the culture of the game is, its combat sequences, especially the boss fights, are a sight to behold. There is usually so much happening on screen that it is easy to get lost in all of the color splashing and neon lights flashing, but the combat is spectacular. Travis has never felt more comfortable to use, and the controls, whether you choose motion or standard, are both really, really good and will satisfy fans of either.

But do be warned, No More Heroes 3 is no joke. This is a tough game that only gets moreso the further up the ranking card you go. There are three difficulty options at the beginning, Berry Sweet (easy), Bitter (normal), and Spicy (hard), and Bitter is definitely the way to go for most players. The nice thing about the game’s difficulty is that it never feels unfair. Every time I died, I knew it was my fault for being too risky and not attempting perfect dodges or retreating to charge my beam sword. But the satisfaction of clearing a room of enemies or a boss is second to none, and the thrill you get when you execute your finishing move encourages you to keep coming back for more.

The newest addition to Travis’s arsenal, however, is Bougainvillea Mode. This is accomplished when Travis does a Japanese superhero pose while yelling “HENSHIN!”, the typical Japanese word used by hero shows where the normal humans transform into superheroes (e.g. Power Rangers, Kamen Rider, etc). This is some of the most fun in the game, as it is spread out perfectly and is a welcome change to the combat. Essentially, Travis transforms into a Gundam of sorts, flies into space, and takes on giant space monsters or at times phases of the bosses. Shooting lasers and missiles while dodging feels like playing a classic Japanese mech game, and this is a fantastic addition to a series already hailed for its absurdly fun combat.

Unfortunately, and I hate that I need to point this out, the final boss fight is a drag. When you have such a flow of solid fights in the 15-20 hours of playing through the story, you would expect the finale to be the creme de la creme. Sadly, it is near the bottom of enjoyable boss fights in No More Heroes 3, and that is a real shame. It is not terrible, mind you, but when you compare it to the other encounters, it is not the best note to end on. I can think of a couple other boss fights that would have served as much better options to close the game, but what can you do?

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As far of side quests go, No More Heroes 3 continues the trend of previous games where you have tons of options to keep yourself busy between Designated Matches and boss fights. There are Defense Missions, lawn mowing, coast guard duty, cleaning toilets, trash collecting, and more to earn you money to be spent on new clothes and delicious ramen. The variety is great, and I love the control gimmicks that go into a few of these side quests. Unclogging the toilets is the most practical, as it creates a new save spot in certain areas of the open world, making it easier to save progress and close the game without needing to head back home.

Speaking of the open world, a big complaint from previous games in the series is that the “open world” is very limited, bland, and rather inactive. Well, sadly, this trend continues, as Santa Destroy and beyond is simply lacking in just about everything. There are so few people walking around, only a couple cars to see here and there, and the overall design of the city and its extensions is rather boring. It is fascinating how such a beautiful and stylized game like this can have such a pale and lifeless city. I mean, you would think after nearly 15 years, a series like this would improve upon its exploration factors and world, but there is not a whole lot of reason to drive and look around. Mostly, you will be fully satisfied just quickly getting from Point A to Point B in order to clear the story.

At the end of the day, No More Heroes 3 is an excellent addition to a series known largely for its beautiful action and over-the-top story. The addition of the mech sequences gives a breath of extra life to the combat that is already satisfactory beyond measure, and the scoring system at the end of each combat sequence will be a great motivator for score attackers. Back at Travis’s home, in the Laboratory, you can even replay previously beaten bosses if you want to revisit them, show off to your friends, or improve upon your previous scores. This provides endless replay value if you love the boss fights of the No More Heroes series, and it is so much fun revisiting the bosses you enjoy most.

There is so much to like here that it pains me to say that the open world is lifeless, the final boss is a bit of a drag, and there are a couple technical issues here and there, because overall, I absolutely love this game! The story kept drawing me in despite its insanity, the characters constantly made me smile, especially Jeane the cat’s obnoxiously deep voice, the combat is some of the best in video game history, and blowing up giant space monsters in Travis’s Gundam suit will always be awesome.

No More Heroes 3 gives to the Nintendo Switch what No More Heroes gave to the Nintendo Wii: A must-play experience unlike any other, and it will wow you from start to finish, blemishes and all.

No More Heroes III Review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: Grasshopper Manufacturer
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacturer
Release Date: August 27, 2021
Price: $59.99£49.99€59,99
Game Size: 6.9GB

no more heroes 3

A stylized and abstract experience you cannot find anywhere else

Beyond satisfying combat

Excellent bosses and character interactions

Surprisingly fun, yet chaotic, story

Cut scenes and interludes are spectacular!


Open world is boring and rather lifeless

Final boss section is tedious and disrupts the otherwise wonderful action of the game

A couple technical issues, particularly framerate

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