When No More Heroes III originally came out for the Nintendo Switch in 2021, it impressed us with its incredible boss fights, stylish cutscenes and amusing mini-games. It was the climactic conclusion to Travis Touchdown’s story and the Santa Destroy saga in the “Kill The Past” universe.
Regretfully, the specs of the withering Nintendo Switch hardware was just too much for Suda51’s vision. The developers designed No More Heroes III around its limitations; traditional stages were cut in exchange for a greater focus on open-world map traversal, while battles would be fought in sequestered arenas.
Even with all the concessions taken into consideration for No More Heroes III‘s development; the end product was just barely able to run on the portable hardware. With conversions for all other platforms, maybe Travis’ final battle can finally be as it should be? Find out on this Xbox Series S port report of No More Heroes III!
The original Switch version of No More Heroes III was pretty haggard. The framerate was all over the place; battles were capped at 60FPS and would not always meet its target, but worst of all was exploring the various districts and towns within and around Santa Destroy.
While exploring, framerate was capped at 30 frames per second and that was almost never met. The game would chug and sputters very badly, sometimes even crashing. Thankfully, No More Heroes III on Xbox Series S, things are a lot more stable… but it’s still not perfect.
For some reason, even on much more powerful specs and with a SSD, No More Heroes III still can’t perfectly stay on its framerate target. This new version aims for 60 frames at all times, during all modes, but somehow the exploration still gets kind of choppy.
The choppiness is very disappointing. No More Heroes III is already a very modest Unreal Engine 4 developed title, and all of the assets in the game are exactly as they were on Switch. There are no new or improved models, no new effects, lighting systems are the same, no raytracing, and despite the lack of additions; the frame rate can’t stay perfect.
Another shortcoming from the original Switch release of No More Heroes III was the egregious texture loading. On Xbox Series S, the texture loading is still rampant but manifests differently. It usually happens before a fight begins, which isn’t so bad, but is still disappointing.
Where the visuals truly get ugly is during cutscenes, where every character’s texture detail needs a second to fully render. This happens in every scene at all times whenever there is a camera cut. This makes the 4K image quality effectively worthless when scenes never look as they’re intended; it was terrible on Switch and it is still terrible on Xbox Series S.
During normal gameplay while in towns, No More Heroes III on Series S and its textures and pop-in are overall more stable than it ever was on Switch. There is still some instances of low-level detail culling, but the draw distance is further now.
There is no escaping the lackluster visuals of the environments. Sadly, this new version does not have improved details. This is especially noticeable in the Call of Battle town, which is a murky brown mess of some of the worst use of Unreal Engine 4.
The image quality is sharp and 3D models are razor clear and pop nicely. Shadow detail is also much more clear. The lighting especially is an important part of No More Heroes III‘s identity. Characters have stark and heavy contrasting black shadows and mid-tones.
With the high resolution image, No More Heroes III looks as good as it possibly can with what it has. The environments still look plain and often look suspiciously like they were made up of asset-packs, but the characters are where the artistry shines brightest.
The gameplay at large does feel more responsive and fluid thanks to the improved framerate. Although it could (and should) be better, No More Heroes III on Xbox Series S is a much better experience than it was on Nintendo Switch… but not by much.
The shoddy texture loading and wavering framerate are disappointing, but the game is still very playable and a lot of fun. The absolute biggest disappointment is that load times are longer than expected. They are shorter than on Switch, but on a console with a SSD, it should be much faster that they are nigh nonexistent.
No More Heroes III on more powerful hardware should have had more care put into it. On Xbox Series S, it is only marginally improved. The town sections are more fluid, but no action ever happens there, so players don’t benefit much. No More Heroes III could have had more effects and additions to flesh it out more. As it stands, the first No More Heroes and Travis Strikes Again are still kings.
No More Heroes III was reviewed on Xbox Series X|S using a review code provided by XSEED Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. No More Heroes 3 is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.