NINJA GAIDEN III REVIEW
The original big black Xbox was a hard sell for me. I loved the original Halo and playing it with my friends like everyone else, but was one game enough to warrant the purchase of a console. When Ninja Gaiden was released for the original Xbox I was sold! I spent close to 90 hours with that game trying to master every combo with every weapon and become the ultimate ninja. The large monsters and awesome weaponry and the feeling like you were the most bad ass ninja on the planet was amazing.
The sequel Ninja Gaiden II which would release for Xbox360 was just as fun and the original formula wasn’t messed with much. The developer diaries (which are standard practice now) coming from Team Ninja during the development of NG3 had me a little worried. The staff at Team Ninja had been shaken up a little bit, and some key members were no longer there. The idea that Ryu would be unmasked and they wanted to show him as a human as well as a ninja scared me. There was also a big point made that the game would touch on the fact that Ryu has killed many people, and this would haunt him some how. These ideas had me very worried for the franchise and this new direction they are going in.
Now lets get to the actual final product which I had the pleasure of hating from start to finish. Lets start with the story itself which everyone knows hasn’t ever been a high point in the series. I am not going to get into much detail as to spoil things for gamers who may want pick this game up (which I advise against) at some point. I will say that it is more confusing than most Resident Evil games and makes no sense what so ever. There is a Umbrella type corporation who is trying to take over the world through developing monsters based on Ryu’s DNA.
The game play that we all know and love from the series has been destroyed. The player is limited to one weapon a katana for the entire game. There is news that other weapons available for DLC later on, but after one play through of this game no gamer will want to punish themselves with a second play through. The high difficulty and satisfaction of learning and grinding to become a skilled ninja in past NG titles is gone. The game holds your hand the entire way and there are so many quick time events it hurts. You can literally use one dodge move combo through the entire game which is so sad.
There are some decent points to be made about this game. The level design has improved a little bit, and there are some creative enemy types new to the series. The story has a few nice twists but they are over shadowed by terrible voice acting, and the lack of interesting characters. The combat can feel visceral and satisfying but it loses its luster very fast. There is a decent competitive multi-player mode, but its not perfect. There are a few moves that once you learn them result in insta-kills and are spammed by most players online. My final thoughts about Ninja Gaiden III are this game is a rental. If you are a huge fan of the series it will enrage you and isn’t worth your time. On the other hand if you are a gamer just looking for a good action title its worth a rental.
NINJA GAIDEN III GETS A BUZZ RATING OF: 4/10