No More Heroes 3 has so much style its lack of substance doesn’t matter

No More Heroes 3 has so much style, its lack of substance doesn’t matter

No More Heroes 3 has so much style, its lack of substance doesn’t matter

No More Heroes 3 has so much style, its lack of substance doesn’t matter

No More Heroes 3 is made out of lots of messy pieces. It is a hack-and-slash-action game that’s violent and aggressive with poor combat. It is an open-world, flat game. It’s a pop culture reference feast at a time where crossovers between major franchises don’t seem all that common. The aesthetics are dissonant, with VHS tape decay and pixels rubbing up against anime and collage art. This messiness can sometimes be frustrating and tedious, but it is what makes No More Heroes such a fascinating and out-of-control game.

In its first hour, you watch a surprisingly lavish animated sequence chronicling the backstory of the main antagonist, intergalactic warlord Jess-Baptist VI, also known as FU. No More Heroes3 takes you through a combat tutorial as FU’s alien armies invade Earth. The intro and the whole gameplay are out as an anime series. It features a great opening title sequence, chapters, and credits sequences. After the intro episode, Travis Touchdown and Bishop chat about their favourite Takashi Miike films. Next, you are thrown into the actual game. This all feels like a multimedia art project with interactive elements.

This is a good thing, as most of the time you’re doing between these charming stylistic flourishes are hack-and-slash combat or open-world side missions. Travis is not going to climb the United Assassins Association ranks to be the greatest killer in the world. Instead, he has to stop an alien invasion by climbing up the rankings, which are now full of FU’s most powerful cronies. However, he still must pay for each boss fight. This means that he must earn money in the open world of the game by playing minigames and fighting alien fodder.

These fights, part-time jobs, and some open-world exploration make up most of the game’s running time. You will be facing two to three waves of up to five enemies per combat mission. Due to the short fights and the long loading screens and transitory animations, early fights can take twice as long to enter as to exit. It’s great to combine light and heavy throws and “Death Drive”, moves to reduce enemy health bars. However, combat can feel tense and finicky. Some special moves can whiff and enemies may hit you when you are knocked down, or during the cool-looking slowdown effect which occurs whenever you dodge an attack from the enemy.

Ranking fights were the main draw of the previous No More Heroes games. They were the boss battles that capped off the open-world and combat grinds. They’re not the main event in No More Heroes3. Although the new assassins are made up of bizarre aliens, they are still relatively bland when compared to previous games’ villains. Some of them can spark some truly original fights, such as one that involves a rendition of musical chairs. But they are often eclipsed by the larger conflict between Travis and his friends and the FU.

No More Heroes 3 has so much style, its lack of substance doesn’t matter
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