A meta-referencing, hyper-violent, over-the-top action game where you save your game by using a toilet, my first impressions of No More Heroes III are nothing short of bewilderment.
What is No More Heroes III
No More Heroes III is the fourth game and third main title to release in the series. Players once again take up the role of Travis Touchdown, a Johnny Knoxville-inspired otaku who also loves video games, wielding the beam katana to take down all the enemies in their way. Originally released way back in 2007 for the Nintendo Wii the franchise has gone on the garner a loyal fanbase and become one of Grasshopper Manufacture, and Suda51’s, biggest successes.
Check out the official launch trailer from IGN below.
At its very core, No More Heroes III is an incredibly fun action game where players use light, heavy, and special attacks while blocking and dodging to defeat both enemies and bosses. As an action game at heart, it also comes with all the usual trimmings of upgradable abilities, customizable stats, and new moves to unlock.
This time around, aliens invade earth and it’s up to Travis to stop them one boss fight at a time. There are nine total alien overlords that Travis needs to defeat one by one in order to climb the ladder rankings and defeat their leader FU.
What to Expect/Impressions in No More Heroes III
On the inside, No More Heroes III is a tried and true action game, but on the outside, it’s a hyper-violent, vulgar, in-your-face barrage of meta-referencing video game and otaku culture that dresses itself up really nice and manages to captivate me in a way that few other titles have lately.
For players that have picked up any other Suda51 title, or previous installments in this series, the overall look and feel are very much in that same vein. Combat and cutscenes pop with beautiful cel-shaded style, anime-inspired lighting, and effects that evoke that iconic Suda51 feel. It’s not style over substance either, as the core mechanics of controlling Travis and dodging and attacking in combat feel great.
The basic gameplay loop of No More Heroes III is players having access to the free-roam overworld which is comprised of multiple different areas. Each area functions as a gateway to the boss for that section. Each one of these areas will have a set of mini-game activities as well as enemy encounters that players need to complete in order to qualify for the boss fight for that section.
Mini-games come in many forms, from downright rediculous to more typical, horde-mode type experiences; and, when I say ridiculous, I mean unclogging toilets so you can use it in order to save ridiculous, or using a tank cannon to shoot giant, kaiju-sized alligators before they can reach the shore ridiculous, or running around picking up giant scorpions so they can be used to make ability-enhancing ramen ridiculous.
Once players have completed enough enemy encounters, they need to have enough money (called LB Dollar in this game) in order to challenge the boss. Once players have enough cash, they can challenge the boss for that section and are treated to a ridiculous, over-the-top cutscene before the fight begins.
The boss fights are where No More Heroes III really shines, in my opinion. Each one is different from the last, and, so far, they all make great use of the game’s core mechanics in a way that is challenging but satisfying.
What’s most interesting to me is the way the cutscenes differ. It’s a very non-traditional experience in that regard as well. There will be formats where it’s a cutscene that one could expect to see in any other title, to ones that are 16-bit text crawls, and every boss battle scene ends with an anime credits video, as well as a reference to Netflix with the whole ‘next episode starting in…’ bit.
Beyond that, No More Heroes III is a love letter to pop culture. When you pick up a scorpion, for example, Travis holds it up like Link does from The Legend of Zelda when he finds a new item. Travis even does the “dah-dah-duh-dah” noise. When you earn enough money to qualify for a match and deposit it into the ATM, Travis does the nWo wrestling entrance pose. All the special abilities have over-the-top names that Travis shouts out when you use them.
Needless to say, I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Santa Destroy, California, wielding a beam katana, and unclogging toilets so I can save my game.
Have you picked up No More Heroes III yet? Are you enjoying it? Let us know in the comments below.
Stay tuned as we wrap up our time in No More Heroes III and bring you the full review. For more than our No More Heroes III first impressions, keep it here.