Travis Touchdown Returns to Save the World
The No More Heroes series is one of those classics I’ve heard so much about but only recently got to experience it. By that I mean when they were released on the PC last year. So you could imagine my excitement when I learned the third game was also coming to the PC. As with its predecessors, it has been one over-the-top game and I loved every moment.
No More Heroes III is another elegantly crafted love letter to otaku culture and gamers. Players once again take on the role of Travis Touchdown as he battles his way to the top. This time it’s a race to the top as he needs to save the world from an alien invasion. Be it fans since the start or all too familiar with what it represents, this is truly one of those games developed for gamers.
I’ve Been Away a Long Time
Back in 2001, a young Damon Ricotello befriends an alien named FU and helps him return to his home plant. 20 years later, FU has returned to thank Damon and attempt to conquer Earth. Wanting to have some fun, he establishes the Galactic Superhero Rankings and offers anyone the chance to challenge him and his confidants. However; things don’t go according to plan when the #10 ranking hero is right away defeated by Travis Touchdown.
Enraged by this, FU confronts Travis at the No More Heroes Motel. The battle results in our hero being knocked out while Shinobu is dismembered and Badman killed. Furious by this; Travis vows revenge by participating in the tournament to avenge his friends.
No More Heroes has always been over the top love letter to otaku culture. The third entry goes beyond that by going full-blown Saints Row IV. The game is packed with plenty of references and nods to other works (be it video games or anime). Of course, there is also plenty of fourth wall breaking and plenty of jabs made at the player (all in good jest).
Plus; I still have to appreciate how Travis Touchdown is practically the archetype otaku protagonist. The one that is featured in most anime. Gamer (check), weeb (check), slacker (check), somehow has the natural ability to wield a powerful weapon (check). Everything is now turned up as he has a mech and traverses the world on a motorcycle based on Shotaro Kaneda’s bike from Akira. Yet, he still maintains his iconic style with a few customizations.
Let’s get to the Fun
A lot has changed since 2010 and the series knows it. It hasn’t abandoned its core gameplay but instead cleaned it up.
Combat is the same hack’n slash setup with its own special twist. Players will slash waves of enemies with the beam katana. Other ways one could weaken their opponent include a variety of moves with their power glove or some classic wrestling moves. After an enemy has been weakened, you defeat them with the finishing blow. Just remember to charge the beam katana when you get a chance.
When not using the beam katana, you will take control of a mecha and battle some mini-bosses or other enemies. These moments are not scarces and (thankfully) they are fun to play. I also have to appreciate how each major boss battle is not the same experience. Each one has its own challenge while making the player overcome numerous challenges. It allows players to put what they have learned to the test while keeping them excited.
When not killing waves of aliens, players will roam around the new Santa Destroy. They will explore numerous video game worlds while doing a series of side quests and mini-games. This will allow players to earn money, gain the needed experience or buy stuff to customize their character. If you have ever played any open-world RPG, then all of this will be familiar.
What makes it stand out is that it’s not too detailed but it’s enough to give players the desired freedom. You could get new sets of clothes to create your ideal character while also grounded in the game’s setting. One also must admire how the world is not too massive (and that is ok). Everything is within a reasonable distance and time is not wasted on traveling.
Get to the Toilet
For everything that No More Heroes III does right, it fumbles with some issues. The most notable are some dated elements and how it takes a long time for so many features to open up. There are some glaring issues I encountered that could only be summed up as dated gameplay elements. This ranges from unnecessary invisible walls to an inaccurate mini-maps
One of my peeves in an RPG is when it takes some time to unlock all the basic gameplay features. No More Heroes III is guilty of this as it took a while before a lot of the main gameplay could open up. While it tosses you into the action right away, a lot of gameplay doesn’t open up until the 1-hour mark. This is a peeve of mine as I prefer to have access to all the main gameplay elements after 15min into the game.
Thankfully, the over-the-top action and mayhem makes all these issues forgivable in the long run.
Travis Strikes Again
No More Heroes III is another elegantly crafted love letter to otaku culture and gamers but with the action cranked up to 10. Travis Touchdown is back for another over-the-top adventure. For those of us who waited for its premier on the PC and other consoles, it has been worth the wait.
Disclaimer: XSEED Games provided the game used in this review.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.
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