Ninja Gaiden 3 - Recap Review

What's good

- More emotional and investing story with more fleshed out characters (!!for Ninja Gaiden standards!!).
- Cool and exciting new places to fight in. Each level takes you somewhere else.
- Imaginative bosses.
- Several set-piece moments.
- Soundtrack matches the franchise and is fun to fight to.

What's bad

- Only one primary weapon, your sword (bow and shuriken don't count).
- Only one ninpo (magic spell) to use during singleplayer (that even regenerates your health!).
- No dismemberment feature (basically toned down violence in general).
- Extrem overuse of repetetive quicktime-events.
- No chests, items or inventory.
- (No bouncing boobies.)
- Regenerating health.
- Drastically watered down difficulty.
- Sometimes a bit choppy, unresponsive controls (gameplay is less fluid).
- Shamlessly underwhelming reveal of Ryu's face (revealing Ryu's face itself should be a shame!).
- Stealth-sections in the game are a joke and ALWAYS lead to you getting exposed.
- The story pulls twists right out of nowhere that mostly give more questions than answers.
- As usual for Ninja Gaiden, mostly the story makes no sense and is just an excuse to let you fight cool stuff in cool places.
- Some over-the-top voice-acting.
- Tacked-on, unnecessary multiplayer.


- There's a ton of WTF-moments, but for me it has to be the ninja dogs flipping around in kevlar vests.

The Verdict

As you can tell by the "What's bad list" the main problem with Ninja Gaiden 3 is it's heavily changed gameplay. Being the first Ninja Gaiden without its former director Tomonobu Itagaki, you can see how much Ninja Gaiden 3 suffered from it. It's the prime example of alienating fans by a big lack of identity, mostly due to making the game more appealing to casual gamers. The trademark difficulty and gameplay in general for Ninja Gaiden have been turned completely upside down. The "Ninja Gaiden charme" has been replaced by several design choices that have been obviously copied from other well-known action-games, in hope that implementing them would somehow translate into success.
How else could you explain the overuse of quicktime events, the lowered difficulty, the regenerating health meter and the unnecessary multiplayer without referring to what has been made the standard for modern game design nowadays?
A change in gameplay for the Ninja Gaiden franchise wouldn't have been so bad if those "changes" wouldn't result in just taking everything the fans loved from the previous games AWAY.
Games DO have to improve through changes. Yet those changes should never make the game take a step backwards. Especially when you're talking about a franchise with a big fanbase and a trademark gameplay like Ninja Gaiden.
Despite its numerous flaws in the gameplay department, storywise "Ninja Gaiden 3" took a slight step into the right direction by making it more focused on fleshed out characters that go through characteristic developments. Don't get me wrong, the basic story, despite being easy to follow, still makes no sense and is quite predictable. But making the characters feel more human and more emotionally invested in their actions is something new to the franchise. Also the inclusion of set-piece moments makes the franchise get positively more cinematic.

Ninja Gaiden 3 is an "okay" game but compared to the previous games in the franchise, it's probably the worst Ninja Gaiden game out there (at least gameplaywise). Taking such a huge step backwards from what fans love from the series, sadly makes it one of the bigger disappointments of 2012.

Final Verdict: 7 out of 10

Status: Disappointing!


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