Is Ninja Gaiden 3 Alienating Fans?

Based on the reports from one Patrick Klepek (, it appears that they're drastically changing the way the combat works. I haven't had any hands-on time with the title, but based on his impressions, they've kept the same fast-paced nature of the first two titles while throwing Quick Time Events into the mix. Sure enough, the word "automated" sticks out like a sore thumb when examining the change of pace this brings to the combat.

Now, I've only played the first few levels of the first game, and got through the demo for the second, so I may not be the most qualified to make remarks about these decisions. All I can say with some level of certainty is that the game Klepek describes sounds wildly different from what little Ninja Gaiden I've played. I didn't give up on Ninja Gaiden because it was a bad game; I gave up because my skills were no match for the challenge the game provided. But I recognized the qualities that made it a good game, and I had a great time getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter.

The Ninja Gaiden III described in the aforementioned preview sounds closer to another game I played up to the first few levels. However, unlike Ninja Gaiden, I stopped playing because it was a bad game. I'm talking about Ninja Blade.

While Ninja Blade had some classic, poorly-executed slashing action that did its best to replicate Ninja Gaiden's breakneck pace and absurd fights, it also forced you into Quick Time Events every chance it had. Now, Quick Time Events, done properly, can be wonderful tools to add player interaction into a scene where they'd typically set the controller on the coffee table and watch a lengthy scene play out. If you want to see QTE's done right, look for Capcom titles like Resident Evil 4 or Dead Rising. But when you shovel in QTE after QTE, they quickly lose their charm and frustrate the player. I hadn't even finished the first level of Ninja Blade before I was absolutely sick of the game's Quick Time Events.

If Ninja Gaiden 3 heads into QTE territory, they should tread lightly. A healthy balance of traditional action, with QTE's sparingly used, could easily give the classic fans what they know and love while possibly making things easier for those of us who could never muster the strength required to finish Ninja Gaiden. However, if it turns into another Ninja Blade, it will be hard to satisfy anyone. Nobody likes a Ninja Blade.