There have been a lot of harsh reviews about this game and I have to say that I believe they are all from hardcore fans of the series that are upset about Tomonobu Itagaki not being part of the project. So without any hatred towards the developer and Tomonobu Itagaki here is my review for Ninja Gaiden 3.
Ninja Gaiden 3 is the first game in the series that really allows the player to explore the story around long time hero Ryu Hayabusa and his bodysuit. This is quite a tall order, actually, seeing as this is a developer who spent the entire series making this game about accurate strikes and hard to master game mechanics. The story is a big hard to grasp but you will finally get to see Ryu’s true self when his face is revealed in the first two minutes of the game. I was a bit shocked that Team Ninja decided to take this big moment in the franchise and butcher it by placing it at the start of the game. You would think that this would be at the climax of the story because it was such a huge tease in all the major trailers that were released. With the world on the brink of destruction the LOA wants Ryu for ransom in order to carry out their deadly plot to start a new world. The characters that you are close to in the story are a huge part of the story as the family has you wondering who to trust and who will be the one to betray you.
The core gameplay stays true to the hack and slash style the series has mastered and has made millions of people frustrated over the years. This is the first time that the difficulty of a Ninja Gaiden game has been altered for those who have had trouble getting passed the more difficult moments that the series are known for. You only have one weapon throughout the campaign is the trusty dragon sword that Ryu has always carried due to his blood line. It has been announced that more weapons will be released for the game in a downloadable package that will please those who want to have multiple weapons at their disposal. Quick time events are a big part of the game this time around because you are put in more control of your sword than ever before. While cutting through and enemy or object a random button will appear on the screen for you to mash on your controller so it feels like your cutting through bones and flesh. The environment will have you running on walls, climbing across ropes and climbing up walls that can crumble on a moments notice. Ninpo is back but this time around it has been stripped down to only one version. You create a dragon made out of fire and will destroy anything in it’s path.
This is the first time a full multiplayer mode has been put into a Ninja Gaiden game and it offers both competitive and co-op experiences. The Clan battles are the versus side of the multiplayer experience and off play customization that will make any ninja fan happy. From outfit and armor changes, logos that are placed on your back and colors that unlock as you rank up throughout your online experience. The battles are timed and have certain objectives you can complete to earn extra XP and abilities. One of the best kills you can make is when your walking you turn invisible and if you are next to someone that is unaware it will be an instant kill for you and your team. The Co-op Trails offer many enemies in the same locations that you have visited during the campaign. With ten different trials to complete each with a harder difficulty and larger amount of enemies, this will be the mode of choice for those looking to have a long gaming session with a buddy.
Although this game takes the series in a new direction in terms of storytelling and gameplay, this is still a Ninja Gaiden game and it offers a hack and slash experience with tons of blood. This is the first time we get to see a human side of Ryu and it has moments where you feel lost during the story, You are still on a set path and you will always know which direction to travel in to find your next set of enemies. With more quick time events and boss battles that feel too short to be important battles, this is still the gameplay experience that Ninja Gaiden fans have been having for years. Just because Tomonobu Itagaki isn’t part of the project that doesn’t mean Ryu has been destined to fail. This is a definite rent for all Ninja Gaiden fans and those looking for a game with lots of blood and sword play, then this is your game. Not worth a $60 price tag but at half off it’s worth it for any fan of the series.