Where do you start with a series like No More Heroes? If you have played it before, you’ll already know it’s absolutely bats**t crazy. And well, if you haven’t played it before, just so you know – it’s absolutely bats**t crazy.
Legendary Japanese game developer Suda51 and his studio Grasshopper Manufacture are back with No More Heroes 3. Travis Touchdown’s supposed farewell was originally released exclusively on Switch last August and has now finally made its way across to Xbox. Once again, the famous beam katana-wielding assassin is out to save the day, and this time the stakes are incredibly high as he works his way up through the Galactic Superhero Rankings.
If you’ve played the series before, prepare to be reunited with old friends and introduced to new enemies, and if you haven’t, get ready to be thrown into the deep end. Like previous entries, the third game channels all sorts of craziness, from ultra-violent martial arts films to anime and pop culture. Travis is also known for breaking the fourth wall from time to time and although the story and scenes jump around, long-time fans shouldn’t have problems keeping up.
Despite the disaster unfolding across the fictional California town of Santa Destroy, for Travis, it’s just another day. The general progression will be familiar to returning players. As usual, you'll take on odd jobs like unblocking toilets and once you’ve got enough coin, you can get back to focusing on the big boss battles (including Gundam-style aerial fights) which eventually lead to FU – an evil alien eager to wipe out humanity. The extra tasks might get a bit monotonous at times but still do a good job of reminding you that you're in Suda's world now.
The combat in No More Heroes 3 has been further refined. The controls work fine with the Xbox controller, even if there’s no motion like in the Switch release. The beam katana can be charged up with repeated right-stick flicks. And when you find your groove in battle, you’ll feel unstoppable - with sword attacks, dodging and blocking abilities, wrestling takedowns and more. Be prepared for all sorts of crazy battles and scenarios to play out as well, as the game keeps you guessing. It’s got a fun soundtrack, too.
Performance is a highlight of the Xbox release. While the graphics and production values in NMH 3 don’t necessarily keep up with the latest cutting-edge titles on the Series X|S, in terms of frame rate and resolution it’s doing better than the original version. The more stylish moments also look slicker on the next-gen systems.
No More Heroes 3 is a solid addition to Xbox's growing library of games by Japanese creators. If you've not played a NMH title before, this is worth a look, but you will get more out of it if you start from the original game. As for returning fans, the third outing plays better on Xbox, and while it might not necessarily be the standout chapter for everyone, it’s still a fun send off for Travis Touchdown.