Review: Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

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Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge released on the Wii U November 18th, 2012.  Its release was 8 months after the game first came out on XBox 360 and PS3. Of the 3 versions available, the Wii U version is the definitive version, and I’ll explain why.

30 Second Review

+ The Wii U version is essentially a Director’s Cut

+ Great spectacle fighter

+ The inclusion of Ayane is an amazing addition

– Rated M for Mature

– Controls

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Notable Features

  • New playable character: Ayane
  • Chapter challenge mode
  • Online co-op multiplayer mode
  • Eight-player multiplayer battle mode
  • Unique Wii U controls
  • Includes six new weapon types and three new Ninpo types
  • Character/Weapon Progression System using Karma points
  • Faster, more intense battles, improved AI, and the return of dismemberment.
  • New enemy types and battle areas have been added for increased replay value.

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Enter the Ninja

Sometimes not having a story would probably be better than having a bad story. The story in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge proves difficult to follow and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Essentially here’s what’s happening: the main protagonist is Ryu Hayabusa. His right arm that wields the Dragon Sword has become possessed by the people that he’s slain in battle. In order to break the curse, he has to slay 1,000 more souls, and he has 7 days to do it.

The story of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge could easily be described as weak. However, the action and combat is easily its strength. In the XBox 360 and PS3 versions, the spectacle fighting aspects were very tame. Fans of the series complained about the lack of blood, dismemberment, and decapitations. All of those elements are now present in the Wii U. It could easily be classified as a Gorefest.

Another complaint of Ninja Gaiden 3 by the fans for XBox 360 and PS3 was that the AI was too easy, and while the boss battles were difficult, they could have been done better. Developer Team NINJA took that feedback to heart. The AI in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is borderline insane. Even on Normal difficulty, the challenge is hardcore. The boss battles? Forget about it; these fights make some of the boss battles in Dark Souls seem easy.

The combat in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is very cinematic. The camera will zoom in and zoom out as you fight. Combo chains are important for devastating damage but are also satisfying to watch as well. If you’re using the Wii U GamePad, then you’ll also see a permanent move list on the GamePad screen for the weapon you are using. You can also use the GamePad for key shortcuts to various parts of the menu. However, you don’t have to use it; you can use the appropriate button commands to navigate to those menus instead.

In addition to playing Ryu Hayabusa, you can now play as Ayane from Team NINJA’s Dead or Alive series. She has her own story that you can play as well, which has been done much better than the main story of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Momiji and Kasumi are also playable characters that you can use for Chapter Challenge and Ninja Trials. However, Momiji and Kasumi are paid DLC.

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Die, Die, & Die Some More…

The challenge offered by Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is insane. I myself died 10 times in a row in an effort to defeat the first boss battle. I only died 3 times to the first boss in Dark Souls. Not only did they make the AI smarter, but now when the AI is close to death they turn into suicidal bombers, literally. There are 4 difficulty settings, one of which you have to beat the game to unlock. Hero would be considered the Easy difficulty, and I don’t think that should be considered as Easy at all. I played this title in Normal, and I believe the N actually stands for Nightmare. If you’re looking for a challenging and brutal spectacle fighter, look no further than this game.

The controls at times are awful. Even though you can play on the Wii U GamePad, you’re going to be better off using the Wii U Pro Controller. When you’re climbing walls, they have a mechanic where you have to alternate between ZL and ZR. My only guess as to why they designed climbing this way was to simulate wall climbing. The action is so fast and fluid that you’re going to have to stay on top of moving the camera manually.

Not a fan of blood, gore, and dismemberment? Too bad, there is no way to turn off these features in the options menu. NPCs also swear and curse while fighting. Between that and the suggestive themes in the gamethe rated M for Mature is well warranted. It is probably the most Mature game I’ve ever played on any Nintendo console.

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$7.00 to $14.99 Grants You Access

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is a bargain bin hunter’s dream right now. Most retail stores are selling it from $7.00 to $14.99 new, and almost all retailers are price matching each other to move it off the shelves. You can even buy it new as low as $7.00 online.

The reviews of Ninja Gaiden 3 for the XBox 360 and PS3 were really bad, and rightfully so, which also hurt the sales for Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge on the Wii UBe sure to take advantage of the price while supplies last, because when it’s gone, it’s gone, and you may wind up paying more for a used copy. The Wii U version is the best version available on these 3 systems. More content, more features, more characters, and a greater challenge. If you were disappointed in the XBox 360 or PS3 versions or shied away from this version because of its shortcomings, you may want to give it a try.