Ninja Gaiden 3 is the third main entry in Team Ninja's revival of the Ninja Gaiden franchise. Unlike the previous console entries, which saw initial releases on the Xbox and Xbox 360 and were later ported to the PlayStation 3, the game will be released simultaneously on both the Xbox 360 and PS3. It is the first Ninja Gaiden title produced by the studio since the departure of former Team Ninja lead Tomonobu Itagaki and is being overseen by Yosuke Hayashi, who directed Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. An upgraded version of the game, subtitled "Razor's Edge," was eventually released for the Wii U, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 and features additions such as gameplay tweaks and online co-op.
Ninja Gaiden 3 has a large focus on consequence, and what it feels like to kill a real, living human. Due to the series' notoriety for being very difficult, an easy mode called Hero Mode will be added. Due to NG3 being much more story focused than previous entries, Team Ninja added this mode for less-skilled players to experience the story for themselves. The game will still feature tough difficulty options, however.
Once again in Ninja Gaiden 3 players take the role of superstar ninja Ryu Hayabusa equipped with the legendary Dragon Sword. The game is similar to previous entries in the modern reboot where he defeats enemies using various ninja weapons, where defense is a big focus in staying alive. Ninja Gaiden 3 focuses heavily on the Katana, while weapons from past Ninja Gaiden games will be made available as DLC.
Team Ninja have decided to change up the Ninja Gaiden formula with Ninja Gaiden 3. Quick Time Events make their Ninja Gaiden debut. The game seems heavily QTE focused, where QTEs appear to be used for climbing, dodging and disposing of enemies. The feel of cutting through an enemy has also been more intensified. The methods for disposing enemies by using QTEs have been labeled as "Steel-on-Bone" segments. There are also cinematic QTEs for defeating bosses ala God of War. These on-screen button prompts will disappear over progress in the game.
Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi said during an E3 demo that they wanted the player to feel what it was like to cut through someone, and how it felt to perform this action. He also said that the decision for things such as using Kunai knives to climb walls was to make the player feel more immersed in the game.
Save points are no longer glowing statues, but a falcon will come from the sky and land on Ryu's arm to signify a save point, as well as replenishing his health bar. This decision was also made to add immersion to the game. Ultimate Techniques return, but how they are triggered has been changed in Ninja Gaiden 3. When Ryu's infected arm glows during battle, the player can trigger an ultimate technique that brutally slays any enemy in it's path.
For the first time in the series, there are stealth segments in Ninja Gaiden 3. There will be select moments where Hayabusa is supposed to sneak up on an enemy to perform an assassination-style execution on an enemy.
Hayashi has also announced the addition of an optional "Hero Mode" for players who find the normal game too hard. In Hero Mode, Ryu can never truly die, as he will automatically guard or evade all incoming attacks without the user even pressing the button whenever his health drops below 30% of the maximum life gauge.
Ninja Gaiden 3 also has mercy segments, where the player will decide whether to spare unarmed, surrendering enemies or not. It is not known yet if these actions will have a significant impact on gameplay.
It has been confirmed that Ninja Gaiden 3 will have PlayStation Move support.
Multiplayer makes its return from Sigma 2 in NG3. At TGS2011, it was revealed that Ninja Gaiden 3 will have an online component, which will have online 8-player multiplayer modes. So far, two multiplayer modes have been revealed. Clan Battle, which is Team Deathmatch and Battle Royale which is free-for-all. During battles, it is possible for the game mode to suddenly switch to surprise players. In addition to this, there will be "ninja trials" which are cooperative modes which can be played by 3 players.
Gameplay mechanics will be roughly the same as they are in single player. Players will be able to engage in the "steel-on-bone" finishing mechanics, however the player being attacked will be able to defend themselves from the attack. Stealth aspects such as your character turning invisible in order to get one hit kills. Ninpo (magic) is possible to pull off by filling up a gauge during battle. Ultimate Techniques from previous games will also be possible to use on your opponents. Ranged attacks, combos as well as commiting harakiri (suicide) will be apart in the online world of Ninja Gaiden 3.
Player progression is present in Ninja Gaiden 3, offering players to increase their skill, unlocking new moves, carrying more arrows, etc. New combos and abilities with weapons will be unlocked as well. Shadow Contracts are essentially challenge, where the player must complete a contract under certain conditions (kill someone with ninpo, 5 ranged kills, etc.) for a bonus.
There will be ninja customization. Players will be able to select basic options like their outfit colors, headgear, armor and kanji to represent themselves. There are over 2000 kanji to be selected.
Three multiplayer maps have been confirmed to be in the final version of Ninja Gaiden 3, with possible DLC maps in the future. These maps will have plenty of opperunties for players to climb on rooftops, hide in the shadows, and perform all sorts of rad ninja maneuvers.
In addition to competitive multiplayer, Ninja Gaiden 3 also features co-operative trial modes for both offline and online gameplay. Similar to the trials / missions in previous entries, the co-operative mode in Ninja Gaiden 3 includes missions such as defeating spontaneous waves of enemies until all enemies are defeated.
It has been confirmed that Masato Kato, the writer for the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy on the NES would be returning after being away from the series for 22 years.
The story stars Ryu Hayabusa, a super ninja who runs an antique shop by day. When terrorists strike Great Britain and hold the Prime Minister hostage, Ryu is asked to come to his aid. After fighting through a battalion of heavily-armed soldiers and even a giant tank, Ryu manages to find their leader: a powerful alchemist known as "The Regent of the Mask." Ryu fights the Regent, but the Regent places a curse on Ryu which merges his legendary Dragon Sword with his own right arm, forcing him to feel the rage of the many, many people and fiends he has killed over the years. Ryu then has to stop the Regent from unleashing his evil plans on the world, while also fighting the rage that threatens to consume him from within.
New characters are confirmed in Ninja Gaiden 3. Ryu has a half-Japanese female partner, a JSDF agent named Mizuki McCloud, who narrates the game's plot from afar. Ayane also shows up at some point in the game, handing Ryu a sword from Hayate. Ryu's father, Joe Hayabusa, Robert T. Surgeon and Muramasa also make cameos later in the game.
The series' protagonist, and a descendant of the powerful Dragon Ninjas. His lethal skill, honed through battles with countless enemies, knows no equal. Responsible for the destruction of the Archfiend and the decline of the Black Spider Clan.
A newcomer to Ninja Gaiden, she is a Flight Officer in the Special Security Unit of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. She takes direct orders from her superior Ishigami and accompanies Ryu throughout his missions. She's half-British, half- Japanese, and serves as Ryu's partner during the story.
Mizuki's superior and the officer of the External Affairs division in the Japanese Ministry of Defense. When he learns of the armed uprising in London, he seeks the help of Ryu Hayabusa.
A young ninja and ally of Ryu Hayabusa. Raised in isolation in the Hajinmon sect of the Mugen Tenshin ninja clan, she is an eternal outsider, trusting very few and keeping all others guessing about her next move. She helped Hayabusa in his quest to destroy the Archfiend by retrieving the Eye of the Dragon Sword. She is a playable character in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.
The last of the Dragon shrine maidens, and the sister of the late Kureha. She helps the wounded Ryu to ease his curse and accompanies him on a trip to see his father, Joe Hayabusa. Such a journey requires fighting through an army of Black Spider Clan ninjas.
As of April 17th 2012, Ryu Hayabusa can access a total of 3 different weapons during story mode.
The player begins with the Dragon Sword in Chapter 1, then is given Hayate's Jinran-Maru by Ayane at the start of Chapter 2. The sword is then lost at the end of Chapter 4 and replaced by The Blade of the Archfiend taken from the grave of Genshin during Chapter 5.
The swords carry an interesting leveling system as there is no in game menu or system to evolve Ryu's combat techniques or powers. But as the player gains the new sword iterations, they are given access to stronger techniques. For example, the Izuna drop that can be used when handling the Dragon Sword or Jinran-Maru is replaced by the Underwold Drop after obtaining the Blade of the Archfiend.
The Collector's Edition of Ninja Gaiden 3 included the following:
- "Unmask" Art Book
- Soundtrack CD
- "Duel of the Masked" Figure
- Premium Dead or Alive 5 demo featuring Hayate, Ryu Hayabusa, Ayane and Hitomi.
- A copy of Ninja Gaiden 3.
First run copies of Ninja Gaiden included the exclusive Dead or Alive 5 demo. However, two characters are limited to each system: Ayane and Hayate for PS3, and Hitomi and Ryu for the Xbox 360. Purchasing the Collector's Edition unlocks access to all four characters.
Stages and setpieces are set in slightly more real-world locations, unlike previous Ninja Gaiden games. There is no mention of the Vigoor Empire, and there are scenes where Ryu travels around London and a "mysterious wooden city" set in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty Quarter") desert within the Arabian peninsula.