In another world, No More Heroes 3‘s star Travis Touchdown would be the guy who ran up behind you to say “nothing personal, kid” before pretending to slash you with his katana. Instead, we live in the world where Travis actually gets to wield a beam katana and slow down time to get around enemies to slash them to pieces. Well, as long as you’re skilled enough with the controls to pull it off, of course. Unlike the basics of combat, triggering this ability, known as the Dark Step, isn’t spelled out by the game.
Deflections, parries, and perfect dodges are staples of the action genre. They’re often the higher risk, higher reward option for skilled players to gamble with over simple blocks. The Dark Step is No More Heroes 3‘s version of this mechanic and can turn difficult encounters into deadly dances of carnage as you deftly avoid enemy attacks and counter with your own strikes. It can also be a lifesaver when put in a tight situation. If you want to really style on the enemies in No More Heroes 3, mastering this mechanic is key. Here’s all you need to know about how to deflect attacks in No More Heroes 3.
First, the basics. Deflecting attacks, or Dark Stepping, is done when you manage to do a dodge at the perfect moment. Dodging make Travis dive and roll in whatever direction you’re moving in, and on its own, it’s great for avoiding damage and repositioning. But a perfect dodge isn’t the same as a regular dodge done way in advance of incoming damage. To trigger the Dark Step and get the following benefits, you need to play chicken with your attacker and dodge only at the last possible second. If done correctly, you will know it because the Dark Step will trigger a small window where time slows down, allowing you to counter the enemy with attacks of your own.
So, you learned how to dodge in the very beginning of the game, but as mentioned, there’s a big difference between a regular dodge and a perfect dodge. Each enemy has its own attacks that all have different timings, which leaves you with two main options for learning how to best trigger a perfect dodge. The first is to just learn all the enemy attacks and ingrain the timing of when you need to dodge, but that isn’t always clear. Some enemies are a little tricky to pin down their attacks, with delayed windups or attacks that come out almost too fast to react to.
The better option for learning the perfect dodge timing is to lock on to an enemy. When locked on, a ring of pixels will circle the enemy you’re focused on. As that enemy starts to attack, the pixels will turn purple just before impact, giving you a clear-cut cue as to when you need to dodge. That visual indicator is much easier to react to than attack animations, which, again, can be deceptive. Just be careful of other enemies around, though, since the target indicator will only warn you when the enemy you’re locked on to is preparing to attack.
You can use this technique on normal enemies, as well as bosses. Bosses, as you would expect, are much trickier to time your dodges to, but if you can pull it off, it’s incredibly satisfying to get a bunch of free hits in while they’re dazzled by your slick footwork.
Now that you’ve managed to pull off a perfect dodge and are granted the sweet slow down, what should you do? Well, attacking is the obvious answer, but you have more options than that. Aside from just slashing away, when you pull off a Dark Step, the enemy you’ve just outmaneuvered will be stunned and vulnerable to one of your wrestling moves. These are often far more damaging, plus they have the bonus of refilling your beam katana’s energy when pulled off.
Finally, if you’ve got the upgrade, triggering a Dark Step also allows you to activate Mustang Mode very easily on the slots, which just rips enemy health bars to shreds.