When the ending of Travis Strikes Once more teased a “true sequel” within the No Extra Heroes franchise, I used to be fairly stoked. It’s been round a decade since No Extra Heroes 2, and whereas I loved TSA’s conversational tone, I wished one thing extra bombastic from the franchise once more. No Extra Heroes formed the types of video games I loved, the fashion of humor I had, and lots of different issues after I performed it as an adolescent, and I wished to see what a extra free, and fewer obligated Suda51 needed to say in a model new game. The reply, surprisingly, is: Not a lot! No Extra Heroes 3 shouldn’t be a foul game, by any stretch, but it surely seems like a game centered on all of the incorrect issues.
Travis Landing and his gaggle of…perhaps mates (or perhaps simply hangers-on), have risen to the problem of a robust alien warlord named FU who needs to overcome Earth. FU’s human compatriot, a shithead government named Damon Riccitello (who’s explicitly based mostly on the ex-EA exec with the identical final title), stands by as Sylvia and the Murderer’s Affiliation arrange a match gauntlet of ten superpowered foes for Travis to kill so as to save Santa Destroy…AND THE WORLD.
This plot is principally it. The stakes don’t actually change, and even mentioned group of fellow heroes rapidly fall to the wayside simply to go away Travis and his cat Jeane (who’s revealed to have been a boy this complete time, which makes Travis a kind of “all canines are boys and all cats are ladies” individuals which may be very humorous to me) to work together with all of the Galactic Assassins, also called the Goddamn Superheroes. Every of the aliens has a incredible character design, and are memorable visually, however normally come and go with out a lot fanfare. Travis, nevertheless, is the main energy of the game, his one-liners and interactions with everybody else staying persistently enjoyable all through the whole game.
Aside from the baseline enjoyable of getting Travis round, although, a variety of the script feels unfinished. Characters will pop out and in with none reasoning, comparable to a wrestler who was launched in Travis Strikes Once more who then simply seems in the course of a boss battle with zero fanfare or rationalization. Jokes will get launched and don’t have any payoff. This seems like the primary draft of what the game’s story must be, not the completed product, and this extends to worldbuilding as effectively. I do know No Extra Heroes has typically had off the wall character interactions and introductions, however right here mentioned characters too typically quantity to nothing, flowing into and out of the plot with out altering a factor. Travis was modified by the assassins he fought in earlier video games. Right here, they’re nothing however stepping stones.
The open world has returned, and whereas it’s good to return round Santa Destroy and run laps as Travis, there’s by some means even much less to do on this game than there’s within the authentic. You are able to do a number of jobs to boost cash, comparable to reducing grass and ramming automobiles off the street, however in any other case it’s simply planting bushes and smashing rocks simply to make a quantity go up. You don’t even unlock a lot for doing so, which is a far cry from the upgrades you’d get from accumulating the pick-ups within the authentic.
The opposite environments you traverse are utterly disconnected from all the things else. They really feel like they might have led into some type of parody or commentary, however as a substitute say nothing. One space is named Name of Battle, which is a really apparent Name of Obligation pastiche. There may be nothing to this bit past the truth that the emblem seems just like the Name of Obligation brand, the realm has barracks and ruined buildings round, and it’s closely brown. Like, actually? The “navy shooters are all brown” joke? In 2021? It’s a disgrace, since earlier NMH titles made you are feeling such as you obtained an excellent grasp of the precise sort of hellhole Santa Destroy is. The open world was kinda empty, certain, but it surely felt prefer it was on objective. Individuals wouldn’t be strolling round freely in Santa Destroy; it’s a multitude on the market, and that was backed up by having you work together with the world, seeing the varieties of people that dwell and thrive there. Because you’re not truly assembly anybody from, say, Name of Battle, you don’t have any motive to care why it’s like that and who would dwell there. I additionally want the map was a bit higher on this game, nearly totally within the sense that there’s completely no denotation for whenever you full one thing. Oftentimes it simply has the marker vanish, however I’d desire understanding I’ve already executed one thing earlier than stumbling on it a number of days later and questioning if I’ve accomplished it earlier than.
The job minigames return, this time much like the unique game in being 3D as a substitute of based mostly on NES video games. They work effectively sufficient, and it’s at all times a deal with watching Travis suplex gators or do this bizarre pose he does whereas he’s turning the lawnmower. You achieve cash and improve factors from this, that are solely actually used for upgrading your chips and stats whenever you’re not shoveling dough into the UAA’s palms for ranked match entry. T-shirts, a staple of earlier video games, are actually regulated to aliens that hang around across the maps and bestow them on you for hitting totally different targets. Plenty of the shirts rule, however there are method too many which can be simply Devolver Digital logos.
Rather more thrilling is the game’s UI fashion. Each scene transition, each button interplay has a loud, hilarious visible aptitude that no different game I can consider may pull off. I cherished the emblem bumpers as you transition into the text-based sections, and the credit that play on the finish of every rank. There’s even bits which can be extremely lame that also obtained me, like a bit of Netflix parody between every rank that performs such as you’re letting a collection autoplay into the subsequent episode in your TV. Suda and co. have been closely influenced by American popular culture right here, and there’s some enjoyable bits to that, but it surely additionally results in an enormous downside the game has.
Undercutting all the things is a few of the worst pop-in I’ve ever seen in a video game. Each time an in-engine cutscene performs, and the digicam strikes, it takes an excellent few seconds for all the things to load in correctly. It seems terrible, and it’s particularly upsetting when all of the character designs are so cool! I need to see everybody as they’re supposed, not in a sloppy mess of half-rendered textures earlier than it’s correctly loaded. I hate how a lot this makes the assured artwork fashion undergo. This kind of factor occurs with Change video games typically, but it surely feels worse right here.
The gameplay, then again, is much better than earlier NMH titles, with the fight being extra participating than ever earlier than. You’ve gotten your mild and heavy assaults, however new Demise Glove skills allow you to toss enemies round, dropkick them from afar, forged a gradual space of impact spell, or summon a hail of bullets that rain in your foes for a time. I hoped there can be only a BIT extra to the fight, but it surely’s an enormous step up from earlier video games. It’s not on Platinum ranges of high quality, but it surely’s actually not as simplistic or button-mashy because the older video games.
You can even add chips to the Demise Glove to barely change your stats. I want they did extra, however the ones I unlocked by means of regular play had been fairly primary stat changers and never a lot else. It looks like there may very well be extra substantial ones in case you replay boss fights time and again to grind for the elements it’s good to craft for mentioned chips, however who needs to do extra grinding in a No Extra Heroes game than you have already got to do so as to make the cash for ranked battle entry? This one’s truly fairly good about getting you the funds you want with out having to replay something, so additional grinding would simply be a drag.
There are additionally a number of transformations Travis can get, comparable to a mech swimsuit that permits you to shoot missiles at foes, and an upgraded model of mentioned swimsuit that permits you to battle in house. The house battles aren’t unhealthy, however aren’t a lot to jot down dwelling about. Just a few bullet dodging and aiming at weak spots. It’s fairly humorous to see Travis geeking out in a tokusatsu outfit, but it surely solely provides a bit to the gameplay general.
NMH3 additionally carries ahead the historical past of No Extra Heroes video games having completely killer soundtracks. This OST leans nearer to Travis Strikes Once more‘s fashion of music than the primary two video games, however just about each music is a banger and I’m trying ahead to bumping the soundtrack all day. Most likely the most effective music is the music that performs when you’re ordering sushi, which is a hip hop monitor referred to as “ITADAKIMASU”, which completely must be in all caps, thanks very a lot.
From a narrative perspective, Suda so very a lot needs to make one thing like James Gunn did with Guardians of the Galaxy. The shot of the assassins that Travis is mates with close to the top of the game, which I gained’t spoil thoughts you, may be very telling. He needs to see Travis battle Thanos, which has no actual resonance with the perspective the remainder of his franchises have arrange. Earlier than, it felt like Suda based mostly his video games on a method all his personal: now it’s principally simply James Gunn’s superhero flicks. It feels nearly determined? I’m unsure why Suda so badly needs to be Marvel now, when up to now he was so profitable being punk.
On prime of this, chasing after that Marvel fashion of story simply made this game really feel gutted. Not one of the bosses matter! One thing I cherished in regards to the authentic NMH video games was how every boss battle crammed in a little bit of Santa Destroy’s tradition. You bought a real slice of the madness that was that metropolis and that universe every time you fought somebody, however right here the characters are so indifferent, there isn’t something to floor you. There are a number of spoilery fights that happen alternatively to the aliens, however simply three of the ten truly being worthwhile is a disgrace, particularly when two of them are simply callbacks to previous bosses and the third is an prolonged plea to play Suda’s different video games.
Even with these complaints, No Extra Heroes 3 nonetheless succeeds in sufficient methods to keep away from full disappointment. Travis can nonetheless carry a game’s writing on his again alone, his nerdy drivel turned as much as the subsequent stage as he talks brazenly about actual life motion pictures and exhibits for as soon as. This feels much like how Travis Strikes Once more talked about indie video games, but it surely’s extra direct and principally about issues aside from video games. Travis hangs out and chats about Miike motion pictures lots, which is a step up from anime (Not less than, in some instances. Can’t overlook that Miike did that Jojo film that no person appeared to love!), however continues to be simply as dweeby about it as he was about anime. Travis’ ardour is palpable, and it’s what makes the vibe of the game really feel a bit extra of a disgrace, as you need that very same ardour to stream all through, not simply in sparks.
I felt a bit empty after ending No Extra Heroes 3. I loved a variety of what was put down, however I nonetheless felt like what was right here wasn’t Suda’s greatest. I’m certain if I had performed Suda’s different stuff I might’ve gotten a number of extra references right here and there. Nevertheless, even with extra context, I nonetheless would really feel let down by the general vibe of the game. This didn’t really feel as punk because it ought to; this felt like an try and develop into acknowledged by the identical sorts of those that triggered Shadows of the Damned to go so poorly. Suda shouldn’t need to be Marvel. He ought to need to be Suda. Travis Strikes Once more was Suda, happy with utilizing his platform to herald a brand new age of creators. There’s nonetheless one thing right here, in suits and bursts, but it surely feels extra like Suda needs recognition from the previous guard that he must be giving a center finger to.