Review cover No More Heroes 3 (Nintendo Switch)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): August 27, 2021
  • Release Date (EU): August 27, 2021
  • Release Date (JP): August 27, 2021
  • Publisher: Marvelous Inc.
  • Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

Review Approach:

11 years. 11 long, long years I've waited for a new installment in what's easily my favourite IP on the Nintendo Wii - No More Heroes. There's something about Travis Touchdown and about Goichi Suda's psychadelic imagery that made those games burn into my memory. A strong dose of satire mixed with frantic, absurdly brutal katana combat and wrestling made the series an instant hit in my book, not to mention that it was a perfect fit for the Wii's unusual controller. After the somewhat disappointing side dish of Travis Strikes Again I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next "true" installment in the series. Now, more than ever, I was hungry for the main course. Did SUDA51 score another touchdown? Read on and find out!
No More Heroes 3 is an action-adventure hack and slash available exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

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Heroes' Paradise

Everybody knows the plot of Steven Spielberg's "E.T.", right? It's a classic, after all. A weird alien meets a little kid and they become friends for life. The kid starts helping the alien find a way back home, but the government gets involved and tries to capture the extraterrestrial visitor, for obvious reasons. Finally, the two overcome all obstacles and "E.T. goes home", much to the audience's relief. The same thing happens to Damon, with only one small difference - his extraterrestrial companion promises to come back. In twenty years, down to the second, FU returns to Earth to rejoin his childhood friend. Much has changed in the course of two decades, to say the least. Damon, now the CEO of Utopicorp, became a multibillionaire, and he spent his life building a landing pad to FU's exact specifications to facilitate his friend's return. FU on the other hand... he became a full-blown prince of an intergalactic empire, and he brought some friends back with him... friends from the space slammer. Now, imagine if you will, that E.T. wasn't as friendly as you'd think. In fact, imagine he was a psychotic killer with just one thing in mind - galactic conquest. Conquest that, naturally, he wants to involve you in, and is keen on immediately demonstrating his power to you. Well... that's a pickle. Thankfully we have our own anti-heroes to rely on - ones like Travis Touchdown, the number one assassin on the planet. Let the games... begin!

Desperate Struggle

If you're a fan of the series and you've played Travis Strikes Again there's probably one burning question on your mind - "is this an actual No More Heroes sequel"? The answer is a resounding "yes", with a few caveats. If you remember the level design of the previous games in the series where you had to slice and dice your way through hordes of enemies in order to reach the climactic final boss, I hate to disappoint you, but you won't find any of those here. This time around SUDA51 distilled the experience into a very specific game loop. For no reasons other than their own entertainment, FU and his minions have decided to enter into an arrangement with the United Assassin's Association and keep the conquest of Earth nice and organised rather than enter into a full-blown armed conflict. You're once again fighting your way up the rankings to become the best, but this time it's on a galactic scale. Much like in the Mortal Kombat tournament, if the invaders are victorious, they will earn the right to annex the planet, so obviously the UAA put forward their best and brightest - you, Travis Touchdown. Of course it wouldn't be a SUDA51 game if you could just waltz into the bad guy's lair in Damon Tower, take everybody there on a quick one-on-one and be done with it, oh no! Each match requires you to play qualifying matches, as well as transfer a hefty entry fee, so I hope you don't mind minigames and side quests because you'll be doing those *a lot*.

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Time to come out of retirement, Travis

Each chapter of the game is structured like an episode of an anime, complete with an intro and outro, which immediately gave me the impression that SUDA played Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain during development. This... gets old, and quick, but fortunately you have the option to skip cutscenes, which came in handy during those repeated segments. As soon as the intro is over, you're thrown straight into the open world of the game and you're free to explore any part of the map that you've unlocked so far in search of ways to earn your entry fee. The tasks ahead of you are numerous and varied, including (but not limited to) fights with the invaders, ore mining, pest control (the pests being Godzilla-sized crocodiles which you have to shoot with a tank. Yes, you read that correctly) or... unclogging toilets, in the service of the public. How dignifying. This was the part of the game that disappointed me the most, at least initially. The open world in NMH3 is... very barren. In the first few chapters there's nary a soul to be seen in the streets and very little traffic to speak of, but I powered on through and... it gets better. As you advance in the story, new activities become available to you and, slowly but surely, the world becomes populated with an abundance of things for your To Do list - I didn't manage to complete all the side content in my first playthrough, so I might revisit it in the New Game+ mode to become the best not just at assassination, but also at mowing overgrown lawns.

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Okay, who's been flushing gators down the toilet again?

With your entry fee paid you can return to the No More Heroes motel where you have the option of chatting with some of Travis' friends, playing with his cat Jeanne or heading straight to the next ranked battle. Each one is a unique boss fight, no two are alike, which was definitely a high point for me. In fact, some of them could hardly be called "fights" in all honesty - I won't delve into the details so as to not spoil the surprise, but if you thought the genre-bending of NMH:TSA was interesting, you haven't seen anything yet. Some of them both look and play like a completely different game, and that kept NMH3 "fresh" as I played - you never knew what was going to happen during the next battle. Once you defeat your adversary, your wife Sylvia, who functions as both the UAA representative *and* Damon and FU's personal secretary, shows up with her goons to announce that you've successfully reached a new rank (and to clean up your mess, of course) - success! Rinse and repeat until you reach the big bad, save the planet, get the girl and win the game, or at least that's the plan. Simple, but effective.

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Things can get real messy real quick when Tavis gets involved

Combat plays out exactly as you would expect, and in many ways improves upon its predecessors. There are two ways to play - using the Pro Controller and the correct way, with a pair of Joycons, so you don't miss out on those satisfying motion control finishing moves. SUDA51 made the bold choice of connecting just about everything he's ever created into one universe, including NMH:TSA, so Travis isn't just limited to his katana and wrestling moves. Most notably, the Death Glove makes a return and allows you to pull off some special moves, starting with a jump kick. Those moves are neat openers, and good emergency moves if you run out of charge in your katana and need to temporarily floor the enemy before you retreat to safety. That's right, your beam katana still requires charging by vigorously shaking your remote (or wiggling the analogue stick, if you choose to play on a Pro Controller), however pulling off successful wrestling moves automatically recharges it, so the game does encourage strategising your encounters. Each time you kill an enemy, a slot machine display takes over the screen and, with some luck, triggers a random effect, one of which includes Travis' own mecha suit entering the fray, which is always a blast to use. Most importantly, staying out of harm's way is crucial to maximise your damage output. Dispatching enemies increases your Tension meter, while getting hit decreases it. The more tense Travis is the crazier (and more lethal) his combos get, so dodging often is a must. As an added bonus, a successful perfect dodge triggers a temporary state of bullet time, and who doesn't like that? All in all, much like some other elements of the game NMH3's combat initially felt a bit dry, but once I unlocked the glove's full potential, I was quickly able to learn how to pull off some impressive combos. As soon as I reached that point it became thoroughly enjoyable and as fluid as can be. Should you fail, you get to spin a roulette wheel where even more randomness awaits, including positive and negative effects alike.

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Sometimes you have to take the fight all the way into space. Henshin!

In terms of in-game currency and items there's sadly precious little to talk about. Completing missions and tasks nets you Utopicoin, the "Earthling" currency which can be spent on tournament entry fees, some pre-fight sushi rolls and take-away and WESN which is primarily spent on improving your stats and unlocking new moves in your secret underground lab, where you can also build upgrade chips for your Death Glove. Yes, you have a secret underground lab, don't question it. Travis is a two-time number one ranked assassin on the planet at this point, surely you didn't expect him to *not* have a secret underground lair, right? It's a shame that the option to buy new katanas is curiously absent from this sequel - dual-wielding katanas in Desperate Struggle was one of the more memorable things in the series, but... we can't have everything, can we?

Return of the King?

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Did I mention that Travis has a potty-mouthed cat? He does, and it's a great companion.

So, is this a return to form for Travis Touchdown? Will we see a No More Heroes 4 in the near future? Yes, and maybe. The game is clearly set up for a sequel, so I remain hopeful that this isn't the last time we see this rude dude with an attitude on our screens. As for the scoring... I will have to level with you. If you expect an AAA experience, this isn't it. SUDA51 is many things, but most importantly, he is an auteur. There's a precious many things wrong with the game - the textures in some non-critical areas are horrendous, the open world is devoid of unique NPC's and feels barren, much of the game's mechanics are time wasters and I would be lying to you if I said that this is a game every Switch owner should run out and buy right now. In fact, some parts of it seem more like a SWERY creation than a SUDA one - it needs significantly more polish to earn the coveted "must have" moniker. A lot of you will hate this game, or you'll find it tedious. Knowing the history of the series and the man behind it makes scoring it a tremendously difficult task, and I say this because odds are NMH3 came out precisely how SUDA imagined it. Yes, the open world wastes your time a lot, it feels pretty empty and it lacks polish in many ways, but you could say the same about the original. This isn't the fault of hardware - it comes across as a parody of today's open world model. Yes, a lot of things in the game seem absolutely bananas, but that's SUDA's trademark psychedelic style - if it wasn't crazy, would it still be No More Heroes? It is the way it is... because it's meant to be, as a statement, a form of expression, and SUDA's personal piece of art. Is it good? To me? Definitely. To No More Heroes fans? Yes. To the average consumer? I don't know. I thought a lot about how to describe the game I've played in one sentence and all I could come up with was an analogy. No More Heroes 3 is just like a coconut. Wait, hear me out! It's a bit fuzzy on the outside - the performance (especially in the open world segment), the textures and some of the minigames need a bit more polish to truly shine. Past that fuzzy exterior is a hard shell of tedium - mowing lawns, unclogging toilets, mining for ore and other tasks that serve no purpose other than to allow you to earn cash for the next ludicrously high tournament entrance fee. You crack that hard shell and there it is - the meat. It's... a little chewy at first, but you can taste the sweetness coming through, and then... it all clicks. You take a sip of fresh coconut milk and all you want to do is put a straw in there and slurp it until you hit the bottom. That's No More Heroes 3 in a nutshell - a coconut, one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Fluid katana combat, with new abilities to boot
  • SUDA's trademark psychedelic art style
  • Crazy storyline with a surprisingly relatable villain and anti-hero
  • Very satisfying use of motion controls
  • Unique and very original boss battles
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Some of the alien designs are a little uninteresting
  • Performance and graphical shortcomings
  • Can be a huge time sink, purposefully so
  • No option to change or improve your katana
9
Gameplay
Gameplay is where the game shines, as always. The fights are as frantic and brutal as always, and the controls make them as satisfying as ever. There's just something about swinging your Joycons in the designated direction and slicing your opponent in half that I've yet to see replicated in any other game - you get it here, and it's great fun. Now, if only the Death Glove abilities were all unlocked a little sooner in the playthrough... it would've been even better.
6
Presentation
Presentation is, unfortunately, a mixed bag. The endearing, trippy art style is in full effect. The score is very catchy and the voice acting's good, so there's nothing to complain about in regards to the art design. Sadly, while the artistic side of things is spot-on, the performance of the whole package and the resolution of some of the assets is not. The game looks dated, and it's brand spanking new, which holds it back in the visual presentation department.
8
Lasting Appeal
With a wealth of collectibles, loads of side activities (with individual scoreboards) and a New Game+ mode No More Heroes 3 will take some time to beat, no doubt about it. I just barely clocked in enough time to finish the campaign and try out a bit of everything, and I've been playing for a while. You get your money's worth, especially if you're a returning fan.
7.6
out of 10

Overall

It's unfair to call No More Heroes 3 a mixed bag, even if it does look like one from the outside. With a production like this it's hard to tell what's a fault and what's intended by the author to be a little janky since by its very nature the series is an over the top marathon of satire and parody of our culture, from movies to video games. To me, it was just what the doctor ordered, but it's definitely not for everybody. Me? I just want more. I hope it's successful, so that I don't have to wait too long for the next instalment.
@Foxi4 I noticed you said in the review "I hope it's successful, so that I don't have to wait too long for the next instalment"

Sadly Goichi Suda has said that this will be the last game in the series :(

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.eu...o-more-heroes-creator-says-the-series-is-over
Bummer! I did not know that! Well, that explains some things, but the ending certainly indicates that Travis' retirement will be an interesting and eventful one, at least. Travel in style, sweet prince.
 
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I would love to see a follow up to Killer 7 but that's never gonna happen.
In all fairness, you never know with SUDA51. After completing the game I can't really imagine that nothing at all will come of it, it leaves more than enough room for other games to slot into. No spoilers, of course.
 
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What’s the difference compared to one and two?
Read on and find out! Jokes aside, it's more of a distilled experience - the focus the mini games and arena-style duels, you don't really get full "levels", so to speak, besides the open world segment. There's also more story content in the form of cutscenes, and there's a variety of styles in regards to how those are executed. It "feels" different while maintaining the core concept.
 
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Totally agree I give it a solid 7 the game is SO SHORT omg.
Short? I'm nowhere near getting all the collectibles and finishing all the side content, and I've been grinding it for a while. Not much of a completionist, are you? :P
 
I would love to buy this in this instant, but I know it will get a PC port within a year or so... I've been waiting this since I finished No More Heroes 2 on Wii, so year or two more doesn't kill me. And if it does, that's just a nice plus. #nowacorporateslaveforrestofmylife
 
You can't upgrade your katana? Was expecting that... Will buy anyways, but i liked that touch, maybe they took the glove route instead katana?
Thanks for the review!!
 
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I would love to buy this in this instant, but I know it will get a PC port within a year or so... I've been waiting this since I finished No More Heroes 2 on Wii, so year or two more doesn't kill me. And if it does, that's just a nice plus. #nowacorporateslaveforrestofmylife
I don't know why you'd make that assumption, were the other games ever ported to PC? I can only think of that one PSMove port which was atrocious.

EDIT: Huh, apparently they were, and to a bunch of platforms in recent years. I had no idea!
 
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@AmandaRose I'm here to put your fears to rest - there's hope for No More Heroes 4. In a recent interview with GameXplain SUDA detailed the logistical issues with making another sequel. The problem is not the lack of will - he would like to make another sequel, as well as spin-off games, however Marvelous Inc. owns 90% of IP rights to the franchise, so it's not up to him to make that decision. He already has ideas on how the story would continue (and the narrative of NMH3 does lead in the direction he described in the interview), so the path is there, provided the publisher permits further development. With that being said, he mentions that if he were to make a sequel, he'd probably release it in at least 10 years from now, and that's quite a long wait. Anyways, I won't link the interview here as it is best watched after completing the game - it's easily Google'able.
 
i still remember play this game on wii and had to shake furiously Wiimote to charge the lightsaber during boss fight!
 
I bought this game last week, but I haven't played it yet (been feverishly trying to get a new pc setup). I mostly got it after having played the first two. I think there's a fourth game in the franchise iirc called travis strikes again. I bought all four on the switch, since I loved the first two on the wii. the motion controls are just so satisfying. :)
 
wait so there is only the Standard Beamkatana? you cant get new swords like in the other games? Are they f....ing kidding me?
 
wait so there is only the Standard Beamkatana? you cant get new swords like in the other games? Are they f....ing kidding me?
My assumption is that they removed the feature in favour of special Death Glove moves and the Full Armor suit. The trade-off is disappointing, but the gameplay still remains solid in its own right.
 
Kind of annoying that to get the collector's or signature editions of this game, you had to order them direct from Pix 'n Love, the publisher. And as a result, there appears to be some delay going on to get the materials to finish shipping the orders... mine included.

Given this is basically the game i was waiting for on the Switch, I'm fine with waiting. I was HOPING that someone would have found a way to jailbreak the Mariko Switch models by now; forgive me if I sound a bit salty about that not being a thing yet. But, I digress...

Just kind of sad I didn't know about the restriction until way after the signature editions were already sold out. Not that I have any use for the vynil LP for the soundtrack, but I would have loved to have something signed by Suda proper :wub:
 
Short? I'm nowhere near getting all the collectibles and finishing all the side content, and I've been grinding it for a while. Not much of a completionist, are you? :P
I'm normal gamer thanks , not a completionist or a speedrunner eww...only if the game REALLY DESERVES IT.
 
Kind of annoying that to get the collector's or signature editions of this game, you had to order them direct from Pix 'n Love, the publisher. And as a result, there appears to be some delay going on to get the materials to finish shipping the orders... mine included.

Given this is basically the game i was waiting for on the Switch, I'm fine with waiting. I was HOPING that someone would have found a way to jailbreak the Mariko Switch models by now; forgive me if I sound a bit salty about that not being a thing yet. But, I digress...

Just kind of sad I didn't know about the restriction until way after the signature editions were already sold out. Not that I have any use for the vynil LP for the soundtrack, but I would have loved to have something signed by Suda proper :wub:

there is a way to "jailbreak" the Mariko but only with modchip
 
there is a way to "jailbreak" the Mariko but only with modchip
the only modchip I know of, is made by SX, and thanks to Nintendo throwing a nuclear tantrum, everyone that used to support it, has been arrested!

even if that wasn't the case, there isn't anywhere even halfway legitimate to go get one. And that's even without factoring how to get it installed.
 
the only modchip I know of, is made by SX, and thanks to Nintendo throwing a nuclear tantrum, everyone that used to support it, has been arrested!

even if that wasn't the case, there isn't anywhere even halfway legitimate to go get one. And that's even without factoring how to get it installed.
Apparently Chinesium clones have started showing up on Aliexpress and other such sites, but for now they're prohibitively expensive. Anyone who thinks all the stock, tooling and components were trashed just because SX and Co. got arrested probably isn't familiar with how manufacturing works in China - it's only a matter of time before alternatives pop up. It's always a losing battle once security is cracked.
 
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"Performance and graphical shortcomings"
this is enough of a turnoff for me.

Is it really though? Is seeing the cutting edge in graphical fidelity and 120fps really the reason you play video games? If so, I honestly just feel bad for all the amazing titles you've missed, as a gamer.
 
Is it really though? Is seeing the cutting edge in graphical fidelity and 120fps really the reason you play video games? If so, I honestly just feel bad for all the amazing titles you've missed, as a gamer.
In all fairness, there is a certain level of quality that we should expect from a video game. There's a difference between "not cutting edge" and "not playable". The same applies to things like textures or draw distance - you can use those things as a tool to convey a specific atmosphere or achieve a specific retro style, but that's not the same thing as the engine choking on game assets and desperately spitting out the lowest level of detail texture because you didn't optimise your game correctly. In NMH3 you can see a little bit of both, sadly. Stylistic choices are fine and dandy, poor execution is not, and we *should* dock points for that.
 
That's a good test. I've seen some people really trashing this game for no real reason imo, it's really not that bad. If you liked the previous games, I don't see why you wouldn't like this one. I mean, there are some things that may be not as good as before, but come on ...
 
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"Performance and graphical shortcomings"
this is enough of a turnoff for me.
Is it really though? Is seeing the cutting edge in graphical fidelity and 120fps really the reason you play video games? If so, I honestly just feel bad for all the amazing titles you've missed, as a gamer.

I said "...for me." so yes, it is.
I play Tomb Raider 1 and am a fan of so...
e546c75fbb702a18a425d3e2d9db8a7912fcc1c8fc06dd81a46ad1dceb5c2072_product_card_v2_mobile_slider_639.jpg

But TR1 is an old game anyway.

Anyway...
You misunderstood what i meant (you didn't bother to ask though)
What i mean is i cant play games that have constant frame drops and make my eyes hurt,
and that have graphical glitches or unplayable graphical problems or blur like doom on switch had before the update.

I think we can al agree on that, and i didn't said anything that not universally accepted among gamers.
Just stated the obvious.

But since cons in description was vague by just saying "Performance and graphical shortcomings"
I refereed to games in general, since i never read no more heroes review.

Also, as for FPS 60 is more than enought for me.
Modern consoles are so powerful, that seeing 30 fps games IS a bad thing imo.
Its also way easier to make them than it used to be.

It was a really vague comment that i made and general, i wasnt meant to discuss it, just to express how i feel.
Sorry you dont like it.
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): August 27, 2021
  • Release Date (EU): August 27, 2021
  • Release Date (JP): August 27, 2021
  • Publisher: Marvelous Inc.
  • Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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