silver_dewsky's Ninja Gaiden 3 (Xbox 360) review

Change isn't always great

Ninja Gaiden 3 features a more personal story involving Ryu, as well as some gameplay changes that Team Ninja has made with the franchise. After getting cursed when battling a mysterious enemy, Ryu Hayabusa is forced to face the consequences of his actions. This curse causes the souls of his victims to infect his arm and cleanse his Dragon sword, and gives him a countdown before it would affect his entire body and kill him.

While this idea seems pretty interesting for a story, it often got confusing, but story was something that I didn’t really play Ninja Gaiden for – it was mostly for the action, but that has changed as well. Frequent quick-time-events and the lack of weapons hinder what made the first two games so fun, and it seems to be made for a casual type of audience.

Completing the game took me about 5 hours, and I only died a few times during my playthrough. You don’t have to worry about finding supplies to replenish your health and magic, as finishing battles and saving give you back health and magic is gained during combat. Ninja Cinema is back for this game, and you have the option to record your gameplay if you want, as long as you have some space on your hard drive to record the footage.

The game still runs at 60fps, so everything is still great looking and smooth, but the combat is something that still bothers me. While it seems to be a move that will gain more attention from casual fans, the new changes may deter hardcore players who have been playing Ninja Gaiden for years.

Moves that I was pulling off in the game seemed to utilize combos, but after letting go of the buttons, I found that there were quite a few combos that automatically initiate after you press an attack button, killing anyone nearby. Ninja Gaiden has always been a difficult game, but that was part of it’s appeal – learning moves and enemies really made success in combat satisfying because you had all the tools there and only had to practice to get better.

Now, anyone can slash through the game.

Multiplayer is a new addition to the game, and it features a team-deathmatch like mode, as well as Ninja trials that consist of co-op or solo missions. An online pass is required, despite being a new addition to the game.

Overall, Ninja Gaiden 3 isn’t horrible, but it changes everything that made the other titles great. Changing what makes a game great instead of adding improvements will not turn out well. I hope other developers will not do this to their series.

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