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Ninja Gaiden 3 Review

Ninja Gaiden 3 Review

There are three things Ninja Gaiden (as a series) is known for, even amongst those who have never really played the series themselves. First, you have the steep difficulty curve. Then, there's the copious levels of blood splatter and finally, the large breasted female ninjas. Most invest in the series for all three points, as anyone who enjoys some high speed slicing and dicing walks away with something to be happy about. But this latest entry into the series, Ninja Gaiden 3, is a little different in the fact that it doesn't really look to challenge, or build upon anything the past games created. Instead it looks to undo it.


Ninja Gaiden 3 takes place where Ninja Gaiden 2 left off, tossing the ninja master Ryu Hayabusa into combat as fast as possible. An evil organization that coincidentally controls just about every major and minor good has decided to wage war on society, and it's up to our hero to save the day. Spurred on by a taunting villain in a mask and a curse that threatens to kill Ryu unless he finds the cure, you will be given a tour of various nonexistent places in the world at breakneck speed, just to eliminate any chance that you may have of potentially enjoying what little plot there is.

It's almost astonishing when looking at all of the features that have been removed from Ninja Gaiden 3, to the point that I found myself almost unwilling to believe that what I was playing was real. In fact the disappointment hits in a wave, each individual aspect of the game becomes revealed for what it truly is in a flood of tragedy.

The first thing fans will notice is that over the top violence has all but been removed in a way, leaving players with the same amount of ridiculous blood splatter while taking away the dismemberment system that became a fan favourite of the second title. Instead the player will find themselves rapidly slashing and impaling enemies, spraying blood and hearing screams while visually seeing no damage. Granted, it's a small complaint, but with the bar set so high before you can't help but wonder why there would be any change to such a notable system?

Combat immediately suffers the same problem, and after getting over the disappointment of the lack of visceral joy, it becomes apparent that Ninja Gaiden 3 is an amazingly shallow experience. A simple heavy slash and quick slash are all that players will really have at their disposal for the course of the game, and the combos quickly become repetitive with nothing to build from. Our consolation is the ability to do a short dash/slide, as well as counter enemy moves with a well timed block/attack, but the novelty wears short just as fast.

You will get access to two types of ranged attacks, but one is so useless that it's never really worth using and the other is so thoroughly encouraged throughout the game that you're actually tired of using the bow only a few minutes after getting access to it. So with melee combat becoming a predictable button mash and ranged combat a mandatory two button experience, we can at least look forward to some sweet ninja cutscenes right?

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