It’s been a long time coming but… a No More Heroes game has finally made its way to the Xbox, it’s been over 14 years since Goichi Suda (aka Suda 51) began Travis Touchdown’s journey – which has seen as many highs, as it has lows along the way. Surprisingly though it’s No More Heroes III that is the first in the series to make the jump to Microsoft’s machine, as well as everywhere else if we are being honest. This is a bit odd, given that there are two mainline games and a spin-off that came before it. The game started out as a Nintendo Switch timed exclusive, but a year has passed since then and Suda has said this game will be the last in the series. This is a truly bitter sweet moment for fans, but will it be an epic bloody swansong or a damp goodbye?
No More Heroes III picks up two years after the event of the very divisive Travis Strikes Again, but a lot of the core ideas from the first two games return here as well. You are once again a part time assassin – Travis Touchdown – who returns to Santa Destroy, where he must defend the world from an alien invasion of an incredibly powerful army led by a galactic overlord prince called Fu and his nine assassins. So that means you need to break out your trusted beam katana and go to work on some intergalactic baddies… well, after earning enough money that is, as you’ll have to work your way up the ladder by doing LOTS of side jobs. It’s a return to the past formula, but this time it’s been streamlined, which is a huge plus over past instalments. Oddly it ends up falling a bit flat at times, lacking the signature series charm… as side jobs range of brilliant to just dull. On top of that, themed levels between boss fights have been binned in favour of random fights with minions to get to the bosses.
Combat is fast, fluid and as fun as ever, plus you have a few new tricks up your sleeves; like being able to slow time down and pushing enemies away. Then there are the boss fights which are the highlight of the game, as each offer up some really creative battles that also have a good sense of humour too. It’s in these moments where No More Heroes III and Suda’s style really shines, it’s just a shame they can be a bit few and far between at times… especially when your grinding to get to the next fight. Now being a beefed up port, it’s the visual side of things that have seen the most work from its original Switch outing. With the open world side of things having a real kick in the backside, as it all runs smoothly compared to the Switch version and gone are the muddy and dull textures, plus the draw distance has been bumped up too. Areas also have more detail to them, as well as shadows actually working this time out… instead of being black voids on objects. Overall everything just pops thanks to the new hi-res textures.
Though oddly given the extra power the game has access to, the world doesn’t feel any more populated… meaning it still has that ghost town vibe the Switch version suffered from. But that’s really what this port is all about, delivering a bump to the visuals so everything runs at 4K and at a solid 60 fps throughout, with a few nips and tucks along the way to the world and cut scenes. If it’s time for the sun to set on No More Heroes and Travis, then Suda has given fans – as well as the series – a fitting send off. As this new version is the best way to play this swansong, whereas the Xbox newcomers may struggle to gel with its brand of mayhem at first. Stick with No More Heroes III and you’ll have a blast, let’s hope we get a bundle of the past games next to truly round off the tale on the Microsoft machines.
An Xbox review copy of No More Heroes III was provided by Grasshopper Manufacture’s PR team, and the game is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch and PC for around £40 depending on platform.
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