Don’t Fear the Ripper
It’s been a long day here at E3, but getting the chance to try some of the games we love before they come out of the oven is something to be thankful for. The game that left a mark on me today amongst all the titles I checked out was Ninja Gaiden III. Granted, I’m a big Ninja Gaiden fan, but there’s something to this game that makes it stand out from the rest of the series.
I went behind closed doors and played an extended version of the demo that gave me a taste for what’s to come and helped to completely appease my slight fear about the change of pacing in the game. As you might know, Ninja Gaiden III, now with Yosuke Hayashi at the helm after Itagaki’s “sayonara”, is being developed with a few different ideas in mind. Hayashi already took charge of the development and adaptation of Ninja Gaiden Sigma II for PlayStation 3, but now it’s time for a whole new game, and he’s decided to put his own twist on it.
Ninja Gaiden III will be much more story-driven, drawing players into Ryu’s personality and background, which this time around actually matters. In addition, combat will be more intense, focusing more on your every move and kill with gratifying hacks and slashes. The developers at Team Ninja had mentioned how the pacing of the game had changed in favor of a more focused experience, but overall, you won’t notice it that much, which is good.
The demo starts with an interesting cutscene where you discover there’s a terrorist organization causing mayhem in the city of London with just one goal in mind: getting a hold of Ryu Hayabusa. Little did he know he could be the source of all this trouble! Of course, when asked to go take out the baddies, he does just that, and he does it well, as you know.
After a nice pan view of the city of London and a drop from a building ala Assassin’s Creed, Ryu is ready to kick some butt. Hostile soldiers await, and with some quick and strong attacks, evasion techniques, and jaw-dropping combos, you’ll get rid of them in no time. Well… more or less. It seems to take longer to kill an enemy than in previous titles of the series, mostly because the A.I. is quite smart this time around, and also different attacks seem to affect them in different ways. There were some resilient foes that just wouldn’t go away, even if they were on their last legs, dragging their bodies like a snake.
The controls in Ninja Gaiden III are second nature. If you’ve played past titles, you’ll feel right at home. Apart from the quick and the strong attack, you’ll be able to throw projectiles. Blocking and dashing in between enemies are other techniques involved, very much reminders of what game you’re playing. You can also execute charged attacks by holding the strong attack button, and if you build up enough juice, Ryu’s arm will glow red and allow you to perform an extra strong charged attack that’ll affect many enemies at once. Not only was every cut super fun and gratifying, but that extra kick nearly makes you feel like a god, which is what these games are all about anyway, right? The controller rumbles as you cut through limbs and pierce enemies in half, making you work hard for each kill.
After a few encounters with a couple dozen soldiers in dark corners of the city, with cars and other stuff piled up forming barricades, I had to face some sort of mech spider. The creature was tough, but after attacking each of its legs consistently and being careful to dodge its attacks, it didn’t really stand a chance.
To finish the demo, there was another mass fight and a final boss battle against Ryu’s masked enemy (this time a human). It’s divided up in a couple of sections, and each time you’ll have to use a different approach in order to beat him, as his fighting style varies. Of course, it’s nothing Ryu can’t handle.
Overall, I was very pleased with Ninja Gaiden III. It has all the blood and gore you want, it makes you work for your goal, and it takes you closer to the ninja hero than ever before. Perhaps the visuals, especially the backgrounds, didn’t impress me as much, as they’re very similar to those found in Ninja Gaiden II and Sigma II, but it’s still a sharp and good-looking game.
The Wii U is getting its own version of Ninja Gaiden III, titled Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge, which will take advantage of the unique features the new system has to offer. However, that version should be different from the PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 game, which is further in development and is scheduled to release in early 2012.
Stay tuned for further updates here at GameDynamo! The game will have co-op and competitive multiplayer, so it’ll be nice to find out what else is in store for this production.
For a complete experience, check out the video I recorded of the Ninja Gaiden III demo at E3 2011:
An enthusiast of gaming adventures as well as party and puzzle games. Writer, editor, translator, graphics designer, and a multitasker at heart. Maria has worked in the gaming industry since 2007, though she's been a gamer since the eighties. She proudly wore her Spain jersey when they won the 2010 World Cup!
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