While the original games started out on the Wii and weren’t available on non-Nintendo systems until 2021, No More Heroes III is now a multi-platform title after originally launching on the Switch last year. With versions for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 now available, here’s our look at the game.
No More Heroes comes over ten years after the previous game in the series, and also promises to be the be final installment. The premise acknowledges that it’s been a few years – protagonist Travis Touchdown has been enjoying retirement for a few years but it now being called back to action. A group of superheroes from outer space are threatening his status as the deadliest killer alive, so he must defeat them in order to prove his worth as the number one once more. And as with Suda 51’s previous games, you can expect this story to be delivered with plenty of fourth wall-breaking humor and pop culture references.
Not having played the original Nintendo versions of any of the games in the series, I checked out the Steam versions of the first two when they launched last year. The gameplay in number III certainly feels quite similar, with your normal and heavy strikes returning as your standard attacks and the wrestling and finishing moves you can layer on top of them. A carefully timed dodge gives you a bit of bullet time, and the Slash Wheel returns as well – granting you bonuses when you successfully land a finishing move. The one new move is the Death Glove, granting extra powerful and flashy attacks to your arsenal.
Also similar to the previous game is the emphasis on boss battles, which isn’t surprising when you consider that the game’s story premise revolves around you taking down a bunch of alien superheroes one by one. This is where Suda 51’s creative mind takes over in full effect, as boss battles are where the game throws together several genres and blends them together for a wild mix of gameplay styles. These range from controlling a couple of mechs to some first person horror and from arcade-like challenges to turn-based strategy. It’s all over the place and not everyone will like that, but it’s also a celebration of all things videogames.
To access these boss levels, which are definitely some of the highlights in No More Heroes III, Travis needs to pay the entrance fee. As you can probably guess, that means traveling around and taking up jobs and winning smaller matches in order to make some money. This is another area in which the game mixes and matches genres, only here you’re more often faced with microgames that generally aren’t as good as the boss battles – especially when some of them start to repeat themselves. You can cut down on the time spent with these by using the fast travel option, but in general we found ourselves just wanting to get to the next boss fight.
Luckily, the creativity found in the gameplay also translates to the audiovisual presentation of No More Heroes III, which features stylish cel-shaded visuals combined with some pixel art elements and of course a wide array of other styles for the various mini/micro games. The anime cutscenes also deserve a mention here, as does the eclectic range of in-game music. On its new and more powerful platforms, the game also looks a bit more high res and heavily cuts down on the loading times – which are almost non-existent on the PS5. It’s definitely not perfect, but with so much creativity and style it’s hard to put this one down until you get to the end with Travis and his crew.
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