No More Heroes III review: An untimely blast from the past

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(Pocket-lint) - Nostalgia is 1 hellhole of a drug, but there's lone truthful overmuch it tin bash - sometimes, erstwhile a bid is revived aft years retired successful the cold, it needs modernising to debar the hazard of being near successful the aftermath of newer, fresher alternatives.

No More Heroes hasn't been wholly absent since the 2nd crippled came retired connected the Nintendo Wii, with a mates of broadside titles keeping things going, but it's been ages since the past mainline sequel, and the 3rd crippled successful the bid is attempting to kickstart things erstwhile again connected the Nintendo Switch.

Going disconnected the rails

Travis Touchdown's communicative truthful acold progressive 2 reasonably elemental premises: each of the erstwhile main games tasked you with climbing up a ranked leaderboard of fighters, utilizing mostly your Lightsaber-like beam katana to dice them up on the way.

However, they managed to acceptable into that conceit an perfectly dizzying array of characters and micro-twists, galore of them lasting lone a fewer minutes earlier dying gorily, and that's precise overmuch continued successful this 3rd instalment. This clip we're going intergalactic, with aliens taking the spot of assassins.

Once again, though, you've got a leaderboard to ascent and a bid of brag fights to unlock - each successful the sanction of some redeeming the satellite and getting immoderate revenge aft a bloody attack. It's pulpy worldly but, sadly, overladen with cinematics.

You'll walk astir of the archetypal hr of No More Heroes 3 watching cut-scene aft cut-scene and yet, bafflingly, whitethorn inactive find yourself abbreviated of immoderate benignant of grounding successful what's going connected unless you retrieve the older games. Tutorials are relegated mostly to text-heavy emails that are casual to miss, too, and it adds up to a frustrating start.

Grasshopper Manufacture

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The code is wholly eclectic, arsenic is classical of Suda51, and determination are moments successful the galore communicative scenes that punctual a scoff oregon chuckle. More often, though, we recovered ourselves rolling our eyes and sighing. If you genuinely loved the code of the archetypal 2 main games, there's much of the aforesaid here, but we were hoping for a small much of an evolution.

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To that end, Travis is inactive precise overmuch a douchebag, you inactive precise overmuch usage the toilet to save, the pistillate characters are inactive dressed successful fetish-adjacent costumes, and the dependable acting ne'er veers distant from full hokeyness.

Fighting talk

If the game's sensibilities are successful enactment with its prequels, the gameplay feels similar a throwback excessively - and, similar the story, determination are immoderate issues to beryllium tackled connected that front.

No More Heroes 3 plays similar a blend of the past 2 games, successful immoderate unusual ways. As you combat done the ranks of alien overlords 1 by one, you'll person to unlock each fight, successful turn, utilizing currency that's earned playing smaller battles and mind-numbing minigames.

Grasshopper Manufacture

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That's the aforesaid arsenic it ever was, but wherever the 2nd crippled ditched introduction fees to chopped down the grind and fto you advancement mode much quickly, they're present backmost to guarantee you won't flight without pouring distant clip connected literal lawnmowing chores.

Similarly, No More Heroes 2 ditched the archetypal game's open-world format to opt for menus that made things quicker. But it's present the open-world is backmost - and we haven't been this unimpressed by a gaming situation successful a precise agelong time.

Whether you're connected godforsaken plains oregon successful municipality jungles, there's astir thing of enactment going on, nary emergent opportunities oregon incentives for exploration, and it's each arsenic bare and lifeless arsenic you could imagine. This is simply a large letdown, compounded by overworld motorcycle driving controls that are unbelievably poor.

Still, erstwhile you grind done to the fights, combat astatine slightest is satisfyingly punchy erstwhile you get your hands connected a fewer upgrades and caller moves (confusingly doled retired astir each successful 1 spell a fewer hours in, alternatively than portion by piece).

Grasshopper Manufacture

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The beam katana is inactive amusive to use, and stopping to recharge it adds immoderate jeopardy mid-battle, adjacent if the process of recharging's "it looks similar Travis is masturbating" gag has worn wholly bladed by now. Boss battles bash person immoderate twists up their sleeve to power things up, too, including a fewer mecha-suit abstraction sections.

That moments of travel consciousness fewer and acold betwixt is an indictment of the game's structure, though, and a frustrating reminder of what made the archetypal mates of games specified cult favourites backmost successful the Wii days - really being allowed to combat a full bunch. Here, connected the Switch, question controls oregon button-and-stick options connection arsenic valid and comfy ways to play, truthful you tin opt for JoyCons to spell adjacent much retro.

Old-school cool?

Another country that ends up profoundly mixed is the ocular broadside of things. No More Heroes 3 requires a batch of favoritism betwixt its plan and its fidelity, arsenic they're astatine precise antithetic levels.

In presumption of aesthetic, it's again much of the aforesaid - the heightened, anime-style satellite mightiness beryllium a small bigger present aliens are involved, but it inactive looks conscionable arsenic ridiculously campy and quasi-futuristic. There's a punk-rock consciousness to galore of the earthly locations, portion those levels acceptable connected abstraction stations are a spot much prosaic and cold.

Grasshopper Manufacture

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Characters veer from somewhat grounded successful their look, similar Travis, to utterly ridiculous and occasionally creepy. In particular, multiples of your alien adversaries are astir conscionable collections of geometric shapes floating adjacent each other, which could look chill if it didn't besides look truthful half-finished.

However, it's besides worthy pointing retired that No More Heroes 3 looks dated a batch of the clip - successful axenic graphical terms, alternatively than based connected your taste. It runs astatine a reasonably debased solution successful handheld mode, and that isn't remedied excessively good erstwhile docked.

Environments are universally empty-looking, characters different than Travis often deficiency detail, and it often makes you consciousness similar you've slipped backwards successful clip to a little almighty era.


The occupation with going backmost to an aged look should beryllium evident - what was tried and existent backmost past mightiness not beryllium anymore. No More Heroes 3 is simply a lawsuit successful point. In keeping truthful faithful to the code of the archetypal 2 games it volition rather perchance delight semipermanent fans.

However, by dropping backmost successful immoderate of the series' much annoying foibles and, successful particular, by looking and feeling similar a crippled from astatine slightest 1 procreation of console exertion ago, it isn't apt to bring galore newcomers into the bid happily.

We can't truly urge it to galore radical beyond those who were already massively excited by the game's announcement. That's a slim colonisation it's aiming at, and if they're not excessively taken with 10-year-old mechanics and visuals, they excessively mightiness find themselves disappointed.

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published connected 27 August 2021.

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