Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge – Wii U

6 Overall Score

Solid combat | Blood Geysers | Interesting co-op

Very short | Repetitive, easy combat | Lack of variety

Ninja Gaiden and I have a bit of a funny relationship.  Back in the NES days, we were buddies.  We may have broken a controller or two during those heady days, but we were pals.  Then the reboot appeared on the Xbox, a console I didn’t have at the time, and I was sad.  I picked up Ninja Gaiden 2 on the Xbox 360 after seeing it in the bargain bin and decided to give it a try.  What I found was a very difficult, if decently rewarding combat system that strayed toward the skill side of things that other third person action games (eg. God of War) didn’t.  I most recently picked up Ninja Gaiden: Sigma Plus on the Playstation Vita, and promptly became bored of it, though that might have more to do with Mutant Blobs Attack. So, the first Ninja Gaiden on a Nintendo console in well over a decade. Worth the wait?

Fans of the series were generally disappointed by Ninja Gaiden 3 when it first appeared on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 back in March.  They lamented the quick time events (still there), the combat changes (still there) and lack of weapons. (Still there, mostly)  Unfortunately, it seems like most of the points on which the fans disagreed, have stayed the same.  This new package does include all of the DLC and a new playable character with a few short missions that aren’t tied into the main story.  Unfortunately that isn’t enough to save the game.

The first two games in the series weren’t known for their story, and this one isn’t either.  The plot revolves around Ryu getting suckered in by a cult that attacked the British Prime Minister (What?) who are lead by a shadowy figure in a red cape whom (spoilers) merges your sword with your arm, so you then have to keep killing guys.  Because you weren’t going to do that anyway. (/spoilers)

What the series is known for, is great combat and crushing difficulty.  The first has largely disappeared, partly because of the second.  The ‘easy’ mode that was still quite challenging in the earlier games, has become a button-mashing cakewalk.  For the first half of the incredibly short campaign (Call it five hours without cut scenes, which there are a bunch of) you don’t need to bother switching weapons, learning new techniques or generally doing much but hitting dodge and mashing attack.  The game auto-blocks in many cases, which is the timing skill which you need in the normal mode.  That mode murdered me in 2 and in Sigma Plus, it took learning of the combos and great timing on the blocks and dodges.  You still need to learn some of it, but the precision and difficulty has been lowered by quite a lot.

You do get a decent array of new combat skills and magic to buy with your ‘karma’ which you earn with combos and other such things, but the number is limited compared to previous titles.  If you weren’t aware of the breadth and depth available previously you likely wouldn’t miss it though, as the campaign is so short.  There is multiplayer, but the generic ninja on ninja mode feels shoehorned in. The co-op kill a bunch of guys works well for what it is.

Those are most of my complaints, but the core of the game is still very solid.  I hate quicktime events, but these are epic and fewer between than I was lead to believe.  The combat doesn’t have the same flair to it, but the action is manic, the animations feel great and the blood flows like Niagara Falls.  Seriously, if you want to slice guys in half with blades attached to your feet, look no further than Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.

But you’ll have spent a couple hours running down a corridor, fighting, running down a corridor, fighting, etc. and you’ll stop for a second and think to yourself.  Am I really having fun here?  Aside from the small stealthish sections, I honestly couldn’t answer yes.  I know there are folks out there who just want to create blood geysers for an hour and set down the game.  For you? This game is perfect.  If you’ve got a Wii U, love third person action games and haven’t yet played Ninja Gaiden 3, this is probably the game for you.  Not sure about the rest of us though.


Want to know what our review scores mean? Read about it here.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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