Along with the omnipresent flood of remasters and remakes, it’s been nice to see some lesser-known franchises receive a little love in the modern era. We just got a new The World Ends With You, for instance! Insanity! Likewise, if you’ve been hankering for more No More Heroes action – yes, Travis Strikes Again came out a little while ago, but we’re talking about a game in the style of the first two entries – then gonzo game developer Suda 51’s got you covered with No More Heroes 3. This time, Travis really is striking again, but he’s mostly striking aliens in the face.
Travis Touchdown’s not the kind of guy you’d expect to save the world. It’s just not his thing – he’s mostly out for money and…let’s go with “love.” This isn’t someone who thinks twice about the well-being of his fellow man. He just wants to get paid so he can spend his time gaming and watching anime. That’s going to be tough if the planet is conquered by alien invaders, though, and when a group of intergalactic ne’er-do-wells lead by the space prince FU shows up, it’s up to Travis to keep the world safe. We’re in trouble, in other words.
Veterans of the previous No More Heroes games know what they’re getting into here: Travis climbs the assassin rankings by battling a variety of wacky bosses, as well as taking some time between fights to make money doing some mostly-mundane chores. That’s pretty much accurate to the No More Heroes 3 experience as well, even if the bosses are coming from all over the galaxy. It’s still a man, his beam katana and a vast array of anime shirts against the world…and other worlds this time, of course.
This amounts to grabbing a lightsaber and getting to work keeping the Earth’s streets free of extraterrestrial baddies. Travis has light and heavy attack options, both of which consume a draining battery meter as you chop aliens to ribbons. When your energy gets low, you’ll need to take a break and recharge by frantically shaking the Joy-Cons or Pro Controller. Travis can block incoming attacks and has access to a set of pro wrestling throws and finishing slashes that make a great way to end enemies near death as well.
What’s new in the third game, then? The biggest change is the addition of the Death Glove and associated mechanics. While in previous No More Heroes games, Travis would collect a variety of weapons and upgrade them, NMH3 offers a new system based around a new accessory that’s definitely not a glove with Joy-Cons stuck to it. The Death Glove offers a selection of cooldown-based skills that can be found and equipped as you progress, as well as slots for passive buffs that can be crafted using money and materials obtained through jobs and combat.
This makes NMH3 feel a little more customizable than previous entries in the series, though the loss of a varied weapon selection stings a bit. Also, Death Glove aside, Travis has a set of teleporting mecha armor that he can summon for super moves. That’s a feature more games need.
Really, it’s the way it sticks to the formula while refining it to a fine polish that helps NMH3 shine. You’re thinking about playing the third game because you liked the other ones, after all, and Grasshopper Manufacture’s not going to try to dissuade you from that. If you have fond memories of wandering Santa Destroy, looking for secrets and gathering money before the next over-the-top ranking match, well, you’re going to be perfectly content with what’s on offer here. Even the new set of money-making minigames are a great time, from lawn-mowing to spelunking.
Fans and newcomers alike will appreciate that somehow, No More Heroes 3 manages to perform better than the majority of third-party games on the Switch. Hard to say how that works, but it’s nice – exploring the open world can still stutter a bit, but combat tends to be buttery smooth. As usual, the over-the-top No More Heroes hyper stylized presentation is absolutely present, so feel free to snort the experience down like digital cocaine. It’s great.
No More Heroes 3 shows that Grasshopper Manufacture still understands what makes its games work. The return of Travis Touchdown is wild, it’s gory, it’s loud and it never holds back as is the trend these days. If you’ve tried and enjoyed any previous Grasshopper games, you’re going to love this one – but newcomers who might look at this in absolute befuddlement might want to check out the first games in the series if you haven’t, which are conveniently available on Switch as well.