Ninja Gaiden 3 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Ninja Gaiden 3 Box Art
System: Xbox 360*, PS3
Dev: Team Ninja
Pub: Tecmo Koei
Release: March 20, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes

Multiplayer, too, is a neat addition. Clan battles are fast and hectic, rewarding those who think quickly and take advantage of the chaos of others. It uses a level system that unlocks new costume parts, but also enhances one's abilities (including such basic things as what sword techniques one has available), which means that those who have been playing longer have a tremendous advantage. Luckily, levels gained in the Ninja Trials, which can be played either solo or through online co-op, carry over, meaning that one can increase one's repertoire before jumping into online matches. There's definitely some lag and hitching when playing online, but it's only occasionally a frustration. Pulling off a stealth kill or a "Bone and Steel" finisher in multiplayer is immensely satisfying, and well worth the occasional network hiccups.

Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot

The story is a tremendous step up from previous entries, with a more vocal and sympathetic take on protagonist Ryu and a villain who tends to wax philosophical. He oozes melodrama and that, combined with his thick British accent, makes him fun to watch during cutscenes. There's a child involved, and it's incredibly awkward almost any time anyone speaks to her, but the game's attempts at pathos are appreciated, even if they often fall flat. There are some neat nods back to previous games in the series as well, both with regard to plot and gameplay. Some of these references actually stretch all the way back to the original NES games, which fans of the series are sure to appreciate.

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It's odd, though, that there's so much there for the fans in a title that generally seems ashamed of its roots. There are so many generic action games out there, did we really need Ninja Gaiden to become another? I desperately wanted to love Ninja Gaiden 3 and, as I played the game, I found things in it that definitely demanded praise and consideration. I never really crossed that threshold, though, and there were several moments that induced frustration—whether due to the wonky controls, throw-happy enemies, or artificial limits on Ryu's ability usage—that were clearly just poor design choices.

Ninja Gaiden 3, I'm sorry, but I'd like to just stay friends.

By
Shelby Reiches
Contributing Writer
@Shelby_Arr
Date: March 21, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
Visceral, satisfying kills and compelling character designs in vast and varied environments: this game looks good.
3.0
Control
Combat feels inexact, with Ryu doing too much per button press or movement of the stick. He feels unwieldy at times, and it makes the combat far less satisfying
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
While the sound effects of combat are superb, the music is fairly generic rock and the enemies tend to spout the same lines over and over again.
3.0
Play Value
I'll definitely be coming back to the multiplayer, but this isn't the sort of game where it feels necessary to keep going back to the campaign and refining my tactics.
3.3
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Slay your enemies up close and personal with cinematic "Bone and Steel" kills.
  • A tighter focus on story; Ryu Hayabusa becomes Japan's newest dark hero.
  • Play online with up to seven others in fast-paced, diverse ninja melees.

  • Videos / Game Trailers
    Ninja Gaiden 3 - Debut Trailer - click to enlarge
    Debut Trailer
    Ninja Gaiden 3 - TGS 11 Trailer - click to enlarge
    TGS 11 Trailer
    Ninja Gaiden 3 - Weapons Trailer - click to enlarge
    Weapons Trailer
    Ninja Gaiden 3 - Launch Trailer - click to enlarge
    Launch Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Ninja Gaiden 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge

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