Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge Preview
If you’re looking for a challenge and you love fast-paced action, you’re a gamer who typically turns to Ninja Gaiden. But let’s say you don’t own a Wii U, and you were disappointed to learn that the new, more brutal edition of Ninja Gaiden 3 – known as Razor’s Edge – would only be available on Nintendo’s new platform. Ah, but don’t despair: Tecmo Koei has announced that the game will be ported to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and will arrive on April 2. It will also be available as a physical disc and in digital format.
This new iteration will feature a bunch of improvements, including fresh playable characters (Dead or Alive fans should pay attention), a revamped battle mechanic, a new gameplay mode and an expanded online presence. Furthermore, all previously released downloadable content for NG3 will be included as well, and as for the multiplayer component, we’ll be able to participate in clan battles that support up to eight players. We’ll even get five new stages, so there’s plenty of incentive to be interested in this repackaging. Just remember that this will present a much stiffer challenge…
Ryu Hayabusa returns to slice his way through more throngs of oncoming adversaries, and there should be plenty of visceral imagery, too. Not only has Team Ninja overhauled the combat system (to some extent), they’ve also created harder-hitting enemies and a slightly more fragile hero. Boss fights have been amped up and your foes will be more challenging than ever. I just hope they didn’t go overboard; I appreciate a decent challenge every now and then, but there have been times in this franchise when I questioned the balance. It just seems that Ryu isn’t a big enough bad-ass and that he’s always outmatched. Obviously, though, the action fanatics might embrace this idea with masochistic gusto.
Anyway, as I understand it, the story will be basically the same as it was in NGIII, but there is the addition of two new chapters that feature Ayane, the purple-haired ninja from DoA. She had her own segments in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 as well, and here she’ll have dual blades and all sorts of agility at her disposal. It’ll probably be nice to utilize a different character, just because it’ll give us a fresh perspective and feel. You may have also spotted a few other fighters in the screenshots; there’s Kasumi, for example, who I’ve always thought would make for a fine ninja or assassin. The only question is whether or not the controls are tight for all playable characters.
The game didn’t receive very high marks when it launched on the Wii U, but at least Razor’s Edge fared better than the original NGIII, which many critics (including me) didn’t like. I just wish we wouldn’t have the major camera issues, the questionable QTEs, and the poor voice performances. I’m afraid all of that will be in Razor’s Edge but at least the difficulty will be ramped up, so it’ll feel more like Ninja Gaiden. If you passed on NGIII, I may not be able to convince you to try this new effort but hey, at least you know what to expect now. So my job is done. ;)
2/13/2013 Ben Dutka