Preview

Ninja Gaiden 3

Ryu Returns In Blood-Soaked Ninja Gaiden 3
by Dan Ryckert on Jun 08, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Developer: Team Ninja
Release:
Rating: Mature
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3


It’s been a few years since Ryu Hayabasa sliced up his opponents in an all-new adventure, and my time with Ninja Gaiden 3 proved that it’ll be the most violent entry yet. While it remained mostly in line with the fast-paced slicing and dicing of the last two games, an assortment of minor changes and additions should be intriguing to fans of the series.

One of the game’s central themes is the burden and consequences of killing. Ryu’s past is covered through flashbacks, and the guilt over his murders has manifested in the form of a cursed, veiny arm. This arm starts glowing red as you kill more enemies, and it can unleash a massive Ultimate Attack that will kill several enemies in the surrounding area.

To maximize the gore, some attacks will cause the camera to zoom in dramatically and slow down the action. As you see the blade start slicing through your enemy, you can press square again to completely tear him apart with added force. Cut-up enemies will stagger around or even crawl along the ground, bleeding profusely. Seeing numerous enemies groaning and spilling blood all over the area after a fight does a pretty good job of selling Ryu’s badassery.

Getting around the world of Ninja Gaiden 3 feels new at times thanks to new mechanics. Ryu loves standing on tall things and staring into the distance, and now you can pilot him in mid-air when he eventually jumps off of them. Sometimes you’ll have to dodge missiles during your descent, and these flights often end with a murderous drop on an opponent. The new Kunai climb ability also allows Ryu to climb walls using his knives and alternating presses of the L1 and R1 buttons.

My demo ended with a boss fight against a giant four-legged robot. Like many boss fights in the series, this scene was filled with explosions and required Ryu to sneak in some quick combos during his enemy’s downtime. It didn’t feel particularly new, but it still managed to be fun. Time will tell if Ninja Gaiden 3 includes enough new features and mechanics to make it feel like a significantly different experience than its predecessors.