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No More Heroes 3 beginner’s guide

Travis Touchdown is back in No More Heroes 3, his most bloody, violent adventure yet. After climbing up to the No. 1 ranked assassin twice, he faces his most difficult task yet in becoming the top-ranked assassin in the entire galaxy. Suda 51 joints — and Grasshopper Manufacture games in general — are constantly overflowing with personality, quirky characters, insane plots, and buckets upon buckets of gore. The No More Heroes games are probably their most approachable in terms of plot, but that doesn’t make them a walk in the park in terms of gameplay.

It’s been more than a few years since his last proper outing, not counting the smaller, arcade-style spinoff game Travis Strikes Again, so it would only be natural if your beam katana skills are a bit dull. In the past, Travis has been pitted against an eclectic cast of zany, outlandish, and downright weird foes to cut down as he worked his way up the assassin ranks. No More Heroes 3 introduces the UAA, filled with adversaries that are literally out of this world. If you need some training before your next round in No More Heroes 3, charge up your beam katana and check out this beginner’s guide.

Further reading

Make sure to fuel up with sushi

Travis shattering through glass on his bike.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Your beam katana isn’t the only thing that won’t perform without some energy. Travis needs his own sustenance to perform at his best in No More Heroes 3. Being the major otaku that he is, his meal of choice is going to be sushi. Scattered around the locations you will explore are little pop-up sushi stands that you can purchase meals at, either eating them on the spot or adding them to your inventory for later use, and each one grants unique bonuses such as healing, power boosts, and increasing your Slash Reel chances.

Eating at the stand will give you those bonuses right then and there, but a to-go order can be eaten during most fights when you find yourself in a pinch. The only exception is that Travis can’t eat while in a fight when he’s wearing his armor. Travis can hold up to five of each meal in his inventory, so stock up on as much as you can afford to before taking on any tough missions.

The eat-in menu is slightly different, at least in terms of what buffs are on offer. They’re more expensive, too, but way more powerful. Some reduce the cooldown on your Death Glove skills, while others act as a kind of second chance where Travis will be revived the next time he loses all his health. Don’t worry too much about getting one of these meals before starting a mission leading to a boss fight since nearly every boss has a sushi cart right beforehand, and you can make a pit stop to get yourself buffed up.

Pick your Designated Matches

One staple of the No More Heroes games that has been handled in different ways (with various reception from fans) is the mechanic of needing to earn enough money between ranked fights to actually enter them. This registration fee was, and is, essentially all that stands between you and blitzing through the game, going from boss mission to boss mission. The first game featured some not-so-fun jobs, like collecting coconuts and mowing lawns, while the sequel traded them out for 8-bit-inspired mini-games that were a bit more fun and less time-consuming. No More Heroes 3 has more options for how you can earn your precious cash.

Designated Matches are another progression blocker aside from just raw cash, but you will usually earn enough money during these missions to pay for the next mission as well. Before you can challenge the next boss, regardless of the state of your wallet, you will need to do three Designated Matches. There are two types of Designated Matches: Red and blue. Red missions pit you against several normal pushover mobs and end with one mini-boss-type enemy. Blue, on the other hand, just throws waves of weaker enemies at you.

Depending on what missions you’re between, you will be required to do a different combination of red and blue Designated Matches. You can tell what type you need to do on the upper-right of the screen. The big crystal icons mean you need to do those mean red missions, and the smaller ones represent how many blue missions to do. However, that will only help you guess what type of mission you’re going to get, up until the last one, of course, because you won’t know what Designated Mission you have until you reach it on the map and find the gem. Once you find it, the gem will turn either red or blue, and the Designated Match will start.

Grind money with mini-games or Defense Missions

Aside from spending money to progress into the next main mission, you will need cash for plenty of other things in No More Heroes 3, like buying sushi, as we covered earlier. Whatever you need the cash for, if the Designated Matches and Ranked Missions haven’t given you enough funds, then you’ll need to go back to the old style of earning money like you did in the original No More Heroes. Yup, those old odd jobs are back.

Some of the question mark icons on the map are people in need of a helping hand and who are willing to pay for it, of course. Your first time playing each of these job mini-games will show you how it works and give you a bit of money for your trouble. After that, it will remain on the map as a star you can return to and repeat the game for more profits, including other resources aside from just money. As you complete the jobs, they will unlock new, harder levels for more rewards.

You have several odd-job games to test out, including returning ones, such as mowing lawns, collecting trash while avoiding alligators, and mining. Find the one you’re best at, and grind out some cash!

Travis mowing a lawn.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you were never a fan of those odd jobs and were glad to see them cut after No More Heroes, then perhaps Defense Missions will be more your style for collecting cash and resources. If you just want more action and rewards for doing well, then these are the way to go. These are on your map as the crossed sword icon, and once you activate them, they will start off a gauntlet of enemy waves you need to dispatch. Each round ramps up the difficulty, but you’re still able to eat any sushi you bring with you to eke out a win on tougher rounds. Plus, just like the other odd jobs, Defense Missions are infinitely grindable for cash and resources.

Upgrade Travis in the lab

Upgrading Travis works very differently in No More Heroes 3 compared to past games. Now, Travis has a secret lab below his hotel room (don’t ask how), where you need to go to spend a special resource to improve various stats. It’s easy to overlook, but the lab is accessible via a pole in the bedroom area. The most important feature down here is the Power Up Machine.

Using the Power Up Machine, which takes a currency called WESN (World’s End Super Nova), you can increase stats and learn new moves. WESN is basically just XP and is collected when fighting or doing mini-games. Here are all the stats you can increase:

  • Health
  • Attack
  • Beam Katana Battery
  • Death Skills

These upgrades, over time, can make a major difference in your ability to survive later encounters, so don’t get skimpy on spending your WESN! Plus, there’s no cost if you want to re-spec your build, either. Just hit X, and you can get a full refund for your spent WESN to put in other stats.

Learn your Death Skills

Early on in No More Heroes 3, you will have a single extra ability called a Death Skill, but you should quickly learn three additional ones. These are essentially special moves that work on a cooldown timer, and each serves a different function. You can use them by holding down and pressing the corresponding face button. The four skills are:

Death Kick: You start off the game with this skill, which is a targeted dropkick that hits a single target and knocks it down. This is an extremely useful and versatile attack that you will probably rely on for the majority of the game. Not only does it do a decent chunk of damage and knock enemies over, like we mentioned, but it can even interrupt some attacks.

Death Force: A beam katana can only extend so far, no matter how much you charge it up, so you will need a ranged option in battle. The Death Force basically makes Travis a full-on Jedi by letting him lift an enemy with, well, the force and toss them around the stage. It isn’t super powerful, but it gets the job done.

Death Slow: This is a more situational skill. By using Death Slow, an area around you will be designated on the ground that slows down time for anything that enters it, except for you. This makes dealing with crowds, projectiles, or especially-speedy bosses much easier to fight.

Death Rain: Finally, Death Rain works just like Death Slow, only instead of slowing things down, anything in the circle will take damage so long as it’s inside it.

Just like your stats, make sure to spend some WESN to upgrade your favorite Death Skills to reduce their cooldowns so you can use them more often. And don’t forget to get creative and use more than one at a time!

Recharge your katana efficiently

When you’re hacking and slashing through a level, it can be a major buzzkill to realize your katana is out of juice. While you can recharge it the old-fashioned way, there is a faster, more effective alternative. Instead of running for cover to charge back up, if you can trigger one of the wrestling-inspired grapple attacks on an enemy by stunning them with a combo, making a perfect dodge, or winning a sword clash, you can grapple them for a flashy move. Naturally, this will deal damage and look awesome at the same time, but it will also fully fill up your katana’s battery so you can get back to the action.

Alternatively, if you’re low on juice and are worried about dying, pack some special sushi that can refill your battery just in case.

Master Perfect Dodging

Travis standing next to a fountain of blood.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Speaking of Perfect Dodging, take some time practicing this skill until you can do it more often than not. Blocking is okay, but a Perfect Dodge has way more benefits. Yes, you won’t take damage, but it will also trigger time to slow down for a brief moment. If you’ve played other action games, like Bayonetta, then you will know exactly how this works. Dodging at just the right time puts you in a positional advantage to attack but also opens up the enemy to a grapple.

If you need some help determining when exactly to dodge different enemy attacks, the game gives you a little extra help. By locking on to an enemy, watch the circle of pixels. When they turn purple, that’s the moment to dodge. Every enemy will have their own timing to learn, so you’ll need to stay on your toes to dodge at the right time. To make things even easier, you can dodge out of a guard, too. Feel free to hold up your block while timing your dodges so that if you mess up, you will at least block the hit.

Craft and equip chips

Last up, back in the lab, check out the chip system. Aside from the Power Up Machine, there’s the Death Glove Chip. This is where all those other resources you’ve been collecting come into play. Here, you can craft and equip chips that provide passive bonuses as long as you wear them. However, they often come with both pros and cons. The first chip you can get, as an example, is the No. 1 Great Chip, which buffs your attack power by 10% and increases any damage you take by 5%. You’ll need to weigh these benefits and drawbacks depending on what you want.

We mentioned that they often come with drawbacks, but not all do. Keep an eye out for chips like the Taro Chip, which makes your wrestling moves do 20% more damage when triggered after a perfect dodge, or the 80 Chip, which makes a chime when you’re near a collectible. New chip recipes will unlock as you pick up more and new materials via mini-games, side jobs, Defense Missions, and story progression. Bear in mind that making a chip does cost regular ol’ cash in addition to the materials.

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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