Ninja Gaiden 3
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (June 2013)|
|Ninja Gaiden 3|
|Release date(s)||NA March 20, 2012
JP March 22, 2012
AU March 22, 2012
EU March 23, 2012
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, hack and slash|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, online multiplayer|
|Distribution||Blu-ray Disc (PS3)
Ninja Gaiden 3 is an action-adventure video game developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo Koei. It is the sequel to Ninja Gaiden II and was released worldwide for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 in March 2012. An updated version titled Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge was released later that year, originally published by Nintendo for the Wii U.
The game is the first in the modern series to be directed by someone other than Tomonobu Itagaki, the former franchise director. In his place is Yosuke Hayashi, the director of the Sigma ports.
The game features new mechanics and changes. Such new features include "Steel on Bone", a new visual cinematic trick which allows players to cut through the body during a slow-motion sequence. The new Kunai Climb involves Ryu climbing onto certain walls with the use of his kunai, which he can use to attack enemies from above. In other situations the player has to be stealthy, as Ryu can now sneak up on an enemy and kill him with a single strike. Enemies speak while fighting and do not die quickly, and they suffer and scream in pain when injured. They are no longer decapitated or dismembered, instead they just bleed and weaken.
Some changes include the slide maneuver, which replaces the Reverse Wind Technique from the previous games. Ryu uses it to get through small passages as well as to attack enemies. The Ultimate Technique concept has slightly changed in the form of Ryu's cursed right arm known as the Grip of the Murder. When he kills a specific number of enemies his arm glows red. Then, the player can charge up for an ultimate attack that is fueled by absorbing nearby fallen bodies instead of essence.
Unlike past games, the HUD appears only when Ryu is engaged in battle, then fades out later. The Muramasa store is no longer present; Ryu gets different swords over the course of the game. He also has access to his shuriken and a high-tech bow; arrows for the bow are also improved as the game progresses. Both projectile weapons have infinite ammo. Items are virtually non-existent. The Dragon Statues that allowed Ryu to save and heal are replaced by a scripted Falcon who swoops down to Ryu's hand and saves at specific points in the level, restoring his health to full as well.
The Ninpo concept has been revamped. In the single-player mode, Ryu has access to only one Ninpo that transforms him into a giant dragon of fire. To activate it, the player must first defeat enemies to fill up a bar beneath the healthbar. Once it is full, the player can activate the Ninpo and kill all onscreen enemies at once, restoring Ryu's life in the process. The amount of health gained depends on how many enemies were left when the Ninpo was cast. In the multiplayer modes (both co-op and competitive), there are other Ninpo available, such as the Art of the Piercing Void.
The PlayStation 3 version of Ninja Gaiden 3 has an optional control scheme for the use of the PlayStation Move. This is to give players "a new visceral edge when battling and slicing through their enemy's flesh and bone."
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The plot begins with Ryu getting a visit from Japan's Self-Defense Force who request Ryu's assistance with a terrorist incident in London. He learns that the terrorists, a cult calling themselves the "Lords of Alchemy", are specifically calling out for Ryu's appearance there. He complies and heads to London, accompanied by JSDF member Mizuki McLoud, to find himself face-to-face with the leader of the cult known as the "Regent of the Mask". After a battle in the Prime Minister's mansion, he is cursed with the "Grip of Murder" on his right arm that constantly feeds on the deaths of others, and will kill him if he does not comply with it. As he loses the Dragon Sword in the process, Ryu barely escapes the mansion with his life, and learns that the Lords of Alchemy threaten the world's immediate annihilation if every nation does not surrender within seven days.
Ryu and Mizuki then travel to the Rub' al Khali desert after they intercept an enemy signal. Mizuki gives Ryu a new Bow, and after Ryu fights his way through a small base he meets with Ayane who loans him Hayate's sword. Ryu then leaves, to fight off more enemies, only to find a tower in the distance. When he reaches it, he yet again finds the Regent of the Mask. The Regent reveals to him that the Dragon Sword was used as a medium in the application of the Grip of Murder, and that if not treated, it could deteriorate his arm and body from the inside out and ultimately kill him. Ryu takes this to note and begins to attack the Regent, but finds out that he was just a mirage. An attack helicopter then starts attacking, and Ryu takes it down. Depleted of energy, Ryu collapses into Mizuki's arms, who takes him back to the JSDF base Yunagi.
The game was announced at a closed-door event at the Tokyo Game Show 2010, with only one image shown. A teaser poster depicting a blood ridden Ryu pulling on his mask was released thereafter. The head of Team Ninja, Yosuke Hayashi said: “He seems to be doing something with right hand. Also, there’s something not normal about this hand. It’s covered in blood, but there’s something unnatural regarding the blood.” Hayashi later gave more details: "Ryu is unmasking himself, and it's a way of attracting people to his world. We are trying to have people enter the real Ryu Hayabusa. The amount of blood doesn't revolve around the idea of killing people, either; it could also be Ryu's blood. We're focusing not only on cutting people but also Ryu himself."
The development team did not include an ability to dismember limbs, which was a key graphical element of the previous modern games. A Team Ninja staff member stated that "people do not want to see that anymore" and so they had removed it from the game. At Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011, it was revealed that the game features competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes with one or both modes supporting up to eight players.
The game's story was written by Masato Kato, who wrote the plotline and designed graphics for the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Hayashi mentioned that characters from the NES series would appear. Robert, a notable character from Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, makes a cameo as a pilot who helps Ryu jump onto another jet.
A demo of the fighting game Dead or Alive 5, packaged with Ninja Gaiden 3, features Ryu Hayabusa, Ayane, Hayate and Hitomi. The Xbox 360 version of the demo allows the use of Hayabusa and Hitomi, while the PlayStation 3 version makes Hayate and Ayane playable. The collector's edition of Ninja Gaiden 3 makes all four characters playable. A new statuette of Ryu battling one of the game's bosses was released by Koei Tecmo Wave and included with Ninja Gaiden 3 Collector's Edition available at GameStop and EB Games in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, along with an art book, soundtrack CD, and a premium code for the full Dead or Alive 5 demo.
Three downloadable content packs were released throughout April 2012. They contain new weapons (Falcon's Talons and Eclipse Scythe), armor and headgear customization items. Furthermore, new "Ninja Trials" minigames were released.
Ninja Gaiden 3 was met with generally mixed reviews, with most criticism aimed at the game being too streamlined. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 55.00% and 58/100 respectively and the PlayStation 3 version 54.27% and 58/100 respectively.
Some of the reviews were fairly positive. Official Xbox Magazine gave it an 8 out of 10, praising the combat and graphics, but criticizing the streamlined approach and the ending. The Official PlayStation Magazine UK gave it an 7 out of 10, saying "it's largely fun even if it doesn’t quite deliver on its grand objectives." Computer and Video Games rated the game 8/10, even as "the hardcore [gamers], who previously gritted teeth and suffered through the punishment are unlikely to forgive the myriad concessions to the wider audience."
On the other hand, GameSpot gave the game a 5.5 out of 10 rating, calling it "a shallow action game with little of the series' challenge and depth." IGN gave the game a 3 out of 10, calling it "a technical disaster."
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge
The updated and expanded version titled Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge was released for the Wii U in 2012 and for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013.
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