When’s No More Heroes 3?

In gaming, there are only a handful of developers that are widely known by name, distinguishable from their respective studios as a creator, as well as a force in the industry.

Names like Miyamoto, Kojima, and Kamiya are such names and trailing not so far behind is Suda51.

While Suda hasn’t quite enjoyed the commercial success of the other names on that list, his unique vision and unrelenting passion has helped in the creation of multiple cult classics over the years. My favorite of which is undoubtedly, “No More Heroes”. So, when it was revealed that a new entry in the series was on the way to the Switch, my anticipation was palpable.

Travis and Badman going down the drain.

MSRP: $39.99
Platform: Switch
Multiplayer: Local co-op
Length: 12~ hours

The curtain opens as Bad Man arrives at the trailer that Travis calls home, seeking revenge for his daughter Bad Girl who was killed by Travis on his quest to become the #1 assassin. During their showdown, they’re both whisked away inside a game console and end up having to call a temporary truce so that they can make their way back to reality.

As the lack of ‘3’ in the title would indicate, this is not a full blown sequel to the previous main entries but rather a spin-off of sorts. The third person perspective, stance based light saber combat has been replaced by an arcade style hack and slash. The controls are rather limited as there are only weak and strong attacks along with a dodge roll. Given that the game plays from a top-down perspective most of the time, the action is quick and it’s not uncommon to be rolling out of the way of attacks that take up half the screen. There are skills that are found around the environment, which can be equipped to unleash special attacks which are on a cooldown. One such skill had me creating a field around me where all the enemies would become extremely slow, allowing me to go in for a barrage of strikes before they could counterattack. There’s a great variety of skills to collect, and even though I kept the same 6-7 skills in rotation for my playthrough, I was always happy to try out new skills as soon as they became available.

Still, even with the various skills at my command, it did not take long for the combat to become an absolute chore as I found myself locked in an area fighting enemies and then going to another are where I would be trapped again and again. It also didn’t help that most of the enemies looked so similar and were uninteresting to fight.

Even though the game offered co-op, the fact that we had to manually assign experience made it feel like leveling was a slower process than it needed, and although the game was extremely easy on normal mode, the sense of progression felt absent as leveling did nothing to change the way the characters played as it only offered higher stats.

The combat is as dull as a daily free scoop of vanilla ice cream with no toppings.

In between the worlds, I was tasked with reading through a fun little visual novel section where Travis and his talking cat went out to hunt for new game discs for their game console. These short sections were a treasure trove of Easter eggs and should be a delight for most long time Suda51 fans. There was also a fun little touch where I could read a guide for a particular game before going into its world and input a cheat code in certain areas to get a little boost. A nod to Suda’s quirky sense of humor and a detail I’m sure most will miss.

Despite the dull combat, if the overarching storyline and various bosses were interesting, they could have carried the game but unfortunately, I found the rogue’s gallery to be underwhelming this time around.

They were often introduced in fun ways like a cheesy live action cut scene, but their presence felt sorely lacking throughout their own respective stages, leading to encounters that should be climactic feeling dull and by the book. Don’t get me wrong, the boss fights are definitely highlights in the gameplay, but that’s mostly due to how boring the regular combat is and less that the boss fights themselves are exceptional.

Worse yet are the level designs for most of the game world, where I was either going down a linear corridor or a maze of rooms that all looked so similar that I found myself getting turned around, not knowing where I have been.

It’s truly unfortunate, as the concept of being stuck in a game world and having to fight that game’s protagonist to earn the right to leave is an idea worth a million dollars, it’s just a shame that the execution is so lackluster.

If only these characters were half as interesting as their visual designs.

As a fan of the No More Heroes and Suda51 in general, it pains me to see the series stumble in this way, as the insufferably dull combat and a cast of uninteresting villains has me pondering, “will there truly be no more heroes?”

Fun Tidbit – I would totally play a full length visual novel starring Travis and Jeane.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Quirky sense of humor
  • Special skills to find and unlock
  • Overly simple and dull combat engine
  • Uninteresting enemy and level designs
  • Repetitive gameplay loop
Written by
Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he's too busy playing games to do anything about it.