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Ninja Gaiden 3 preview – somehow they’ve added even more blood than before

Ninja Gaiden 3 has been more than a little bit of a question mark since its announcement. To this day, we’re still immense fans of the first game in the series, which was easily one of the finest games of the last generation. That said, Ninja Gaiden 2 was a dramatic fall from grace. Even though it was still a fun game, it wasn’t up to the standard that NG1 previously set. And Ninja Gaiden 3? Well, obviously it’s out for some katana-fueled redemption.


When we get to talking about odds of success, though, things get tricky. After our demo of the game at E3 we’re still not completely sure what to think. What seems clear is that the developers are not trying to create the same ninja game that NG1 was. This game is far more action-oriented, and focuses heavily on arena combat with buckets upon buckets of blood and gore.

That said, it doesn’t look like the absence of the series’ father, Tomonobu Itagaki has affected the game all that much, as Ninja Gaiden 3 bears a strong resemblance to NG2. The most striking difference for NG fans is the new inclusion of quick-time events into the combat. Every once in a while during the combat sections, the camera will zoom in really close as your blade cuts into an enemy then gets “stuck” inside the chest (this is all happening in extremely graphic detail right in front of the camera.) This is when the button prompt will show up. Basically it’s “Press X to Explode Enemy.” The enemies erupt into a shower of gore as Ryu finds the strength to continue cutting through the body.

The stated aim is to make combat more intense and intimate, and it certainly accomplishes that much. We’ll have to wait for the final code to see how it feels in the retail game - ideas like this sometimes seem great in a 20 minute demo, but fall apart completely when you’re playing the game and have to finish the quick-time-event for the 289th time. But if you want wet, nasty fireworks, you’ll get ‘em. Plus, the camera problems that plagued the previous game seem to have been alleviated, at least in our demo.

One other notable switch has nothing to do with the actual gameplay, but it amused us just the same: in a WTF-ish, borderline hilarious switch, Ninja Gaiden 3 finds the player charged with rescuing the British Prime Minister. Usually it’s the president of the good old US of A who needs de-capturing. Why the switch? Maybe Team Ninja just decided Barack Obama was too baller to believably need rescuing. Or perhaps they’re just really big fans of David Cameron’s politics. Who knows? Either way, there’s going to be a lot of blood spilled before this ninja sheathes his sword again.

Jun 16, 2011

11 comments

  • xXxBattousaixXx - June 20, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    @Meh Thanks, I didn't watch the trailer cuz i had seen several before. Y r u hating on my screen name? It's Kenshin's manslayer name with extra Xs
  • RedOutlive10 - June 17, 2011 6:57 p.m.

    Can't make a better sequel, more gore.
  • bball42242442 - June 17, 2011 6:41 a.m.

    Haven't they stated 500x that those aren't QTE, it's called a tutorial, ya know "press this button to do this".
  • quincytheodore - June 17, 2011 6:18 a.m.

    With all of this blood, Ryu should wear protection.. I mean doesn't he fear AIDS, or he's just too bad-ass to care.
  • Syncmaster - June 17, 2011 6:17 a.m.

    I like the idea of making contact with blade and bone brutal, but.. the lack of dismemberment is a big minus. they should made it less frequent then, but missing? just a step down for the series.
  • BlackElement17 - June 17, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    I am fully erect.
  • KolbitosFruitJuice - June 17, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    Gah, I just can't come to the terms with lack of decapitations and dismemberment. he's cutting through these dudes bones, right? Then why the fuck don't they fall apart? Its just.............weird. I can't wrap my head around why they took that out. Gameplay will probably be solid, but we'll see if I can get over that part.
  • musashi1596 - June 17, 2011 1:35 a.m.

    I think the combat was tense enough on Master Ninja as it was...
  • meh - June 17, 2011 1:31 a.m.

    @xXxBattousaixXx (wow, really?) the trailer said early 2012, so i guess around Jan-March. Unless it gets delayed. (Which it will :P)
  • xXxBattousaixXx - June 17, 2011 1:08 a.m.

    I want this so bad... Any word on the release window or release date?
  • crumbdunky - June 17, 2011 12:02 a.m.

    I thought the best thing, had they not put in the "stylish" purple mist that the best change from NG2 to NGS2 was the fact less gore allowed you to see more of the intricate, quick swordplay and alleviating much of the awful camera angles didn't hurt either-I think it's also why a lot of us found Sigma a bit easier-purely cos we could finally see the enemies and had less gore to wade through to do so. If they have stopped the buggers killing you from off screen it'd be nice too! That said I still think the balance they had with NG1/NGS1 seemed better than either 360 or PS3 follow up and worry that this might fall between the two stools as the team fight to find their own feet after parting with Itigaki. A big personality, love or loathe him, is always a big vacuum for people to fill and especially creatively. Another thing-bad sahndin' Lahndon accent laying it on just a BIT thick. And the cars looked a little more pan Atlantic than little old England too. Just details to be nailed down,mind.

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