PS3 Reviews: Ninja Gaiden 3 Review

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Ninja Gaiden 3 Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

5.6

Gameplay:

 

5.8

Sound:

 

5.2

Control:

 

5.9

Replay Value:

 

5.4

Online Gameplay:

 

5.0

Overall Rating:       5.5

 

 

Publisher:

Tecmo Koei

Developer:

Team Ninja

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Action

I’m not really sure what to do here. By the time I sit down to write a review, I’m confident in the score I plan to give. But no matter how much thought I put into it, no matter how often I go back to play Ninja Gaiden 3, I can’t seem to decide upon an accurate and fitting number. There’s just so much wrong here, especially from the standpoint of hardcore fans. At the same time, it’s not necessarily a terrible game. Maybe expectations are killing it…? Or maybe it’s just seriously lacking.

The graphics are a disappointment to me, primarily because I really did expect a lot more. In some ways, the added detail is evident, especially in regards to the well-drawn character models. Textures aren’t too bad, either, and I’ve always enjoyed the over-the-top boss designs, which are staples of this series. But besides that, the backdrops are really flat and unimpressive, and there’s a general pervading sense of low-resolution mediocrity. It’s like the character models stepped into the new generation but everything else stayed behind.

The sound is another category with several highs and lows but unfortunately, I think the lows sort of win out. I’m usually a supporter of heavy-hitting soundtracks, especially in regards to flat-out action extravaganzas, but the overuse of strangely corny and repetitive metal music in NG3 got annoying after a while. The Japanese voices are just no good, either. The combat effects are okay, though, especially when the chaos hits a certain level on the crazy meter. It’s just too bad that only the effects seem able to keep up with the fastest, most demanding action.

And in starting the gameplay segment, the latter leads me to the first big problem: Once again, the camera just isn’t quite right. It has been a recurring issue in the franchise over the years – those familiar with these titles will tell you the camera has always sat too close, and too low behind Ryu – and they didn’t fix it for this new installment. In fact, it got worse. At least before, the camera was predictable; now, not so much. It’s awfully erratic and often betrays you at the worst possible times. But the frustration only begins here.

If there’s one game that really didn’t need QTEs, it’s this one. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the button prompts are extremely unforgiving because missing just one forces you to replay an entire section. Then there’s the platforming, which feels cumbersome and completely takes one out of the experience; I’m supposed to be an elite ninja, why am I having so much trouble with this climbing thing? And who’s ingenious idea was it to use the shoulder buttons for this mechanic? That idea needed to be put out of its misery immediately.

But wait, before I start to get too upset, let me make a few clarifications: Firstly, the combat isn’t atrocious. It’s actually a lot of fun, depending on the type of enemy and your skill level. Secondly, while some may not like the dark, bloody theme that is very new to this franchise, I like it a lot. It adds a sense of brutality and harshness to Ryu’s world, which makes perfect sense in my eyes. Thirdly and lastly, the overall atmosphere is pretty cool and although the level design is barely average, the game does try to keep you involved in the story.

But one weapon? Really? That’s just unforgivable. It’s also not helping matters that despite Team Ninja’s efforts to engage us in the disturbing plot, the writing and pacing aren’t anywhere near good enough. Therefore, the attempt is admirable but the execution is not. I just think they tried to change too many things after Tomonobu Itagaki’s departure and while some ideas might’ve worked by themselves, the combination of all these poorly implemented concepts makes the game feel rushed and incomplete. And nobody likes that feeling.

Last but not least, I have to address the difficulty alteration. At first, I really thought the enemies were just as aggressive as always but the more I played, the more I realized that too many just weren’t dynamic enough. In past entries, just about every enemy was a challenge, and fighting three or four at once was a dangerous and challenging proposition. Now, the number of foes has been ramped up but as a direct result, the strength and ability of each enemy has been lessened. Now, I say this is a judgment call on the part of the developers, and I’m not about to label it “bad” or “good.” …but I can almost guarantee the label the die-hard followers will choose.

The bosses are still a highlight, though, and I really felt pushed against some of the tougher ones. I should also note that while the lack of alternate weapons really is a huge blow, the game does do a good job of trying to make you forget that…maybe that’s not worthy of praise, but I felt I should mention it. Lastly, online action isn’t really doing the fans any favors. The biggest issue with the multiplayer is that co-op just doesn’t cut the mustard; it’s nowhere near as interesting as the campaign, and after a while, you start to get that, “okay, this was just tacked on” feeling.

Ninja Gaiden III isn’t what I expected, and I’m sure it isn’t what the fans expected. It is found lacking in too many major categories to be considered a worthwhile purchase, and all I can say to the dedicated followers is this— Play the game on Hard Mode. It’s really the only way you’ll make it feel like Ninja Gaiden. But even that can’t erase the bad camera, occasionally faltering frame rate, disappointing visual presentation, the lackluster online, and oh yes, the disappearance of other weapons. It’s appropriately dark and brutal, the story tries, and it can be fun.

But you know, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

The Good: Control is fast and responsive. Some boss fights are cool. Darker, harsher tone works. Good atmosphere.

The Bad: Graphics are underwhelming. Voices are sub-par. Camera has definite problems. QTEs were unnecessary and frustrating. Story isn’t very good and pacing is off. Online multiplayer is bland.

The Ugly: “…can’t really see what’s happening, but I know I don’t care much anymore.”

3/22/2012 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (43 posts)

Qubex
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:26:43 PM
Reply

I too am very surprised by this. I played the first two game demo's a ton, however never actually bought them.

From what I did play of them I thought they were good, presentation was excellent and just enjoyed hacking and slashing about every so often.

It's a shame that the series has fallen from grace. How many times have we seen this happen before?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Condemnedsoul23
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:28:32 PM
Reply

:-(

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

JackDillinger89
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:30:19 PM
Reply

HaHaHa i guess ign was right after all any game that gets 5s or less its irrelevant. Sad i have NG sigma 1 and 2 for ps3 there badass games so i will wait till an inevitable sigma 3 to hopefully address what mess NG3 already is.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:21:40 PM

We'll have to see if the series survives the fall to have a Sigma edition. Considering an awful lot could be changed and improved with relatively little asset creation, getting this game closer to what gamers wanted shouldn't be all that expensive. As one of their flagship franchises I think they'll try and keep it afloat.

I'm hoping the game cumulatively draws in at least a million internationally, thus Tecmo sees fit to re-tool it for American audiences. The japanese having a history of prefrencing easier games appear to have loved it, with their main publication scoring it 9,9,9,9.
Amazing how the intrepretation of quality changes from culture to culture, no?

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

JackDillinger89
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:35:32 PM
Reply

And we wonder why the used gaming market is thriving with games like this..

Agree with this comment 8 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 11:30:54 PM

actually, I'd say the games they're probably thriving on are the games that sell the most and don't get crap scores.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:37:29 PM
Reply

It blows me away how much of a dissapointment this game has been for the majority of it's followers. It's hard not to be, actually.
It's very clear to me now, no one who liked Ninja Gaiden, even a little, wanted or expected it to be re-invisioned.

Despite it's fall from grace, I've managed to find a lot to enjoy underneath the numerous upsets. And I do highly recommend any diehard who did like it to the point of finishing it on harder difficulties to try it. If you're this person, you have to. Because beneath it's many troubles, there's a really solid combat here. And on hard, the enemies will, absolutely will make you sweat for your victories. This comes from one of the series biggest fans, and despite being the lowest rated game I ever paid full price for, I'm finding plenty to value.

Thank you for not making any false claims, Ben. Too many editors on this one literally said false things.
Yes, there's a moves list.(don't blame them for missing it though)
Yes, eagle vision was in at least one prior NG.
Yes, the game explains why and how there's a T-Rex.
Yes, the Obliteration technique is still here.
Yes, Ryu could hand walk across ropes in prior games.. been that way since the first game.
Yes, there is actually a lot of combat depth here for those willing to find it.

Anyway, I feel cool now that I have a crap rated game in my library like WorldEndsWithMe does. He has like 20, I bet =p

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:45:29 PM

oh, and anyone who want's a detailed breakdown of the indepth changes needs to check out my pseudo-user review.
...
Yes, you do still care!

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Shams
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:52:39 PM

I guess I'm one of the few fans who'll enjoy it. I wasn't expecting stellar scores, but the unanimous disappointment with this one was a bit surprising. I guess I figured Hayashe-san wouldn't have messed with the core mechanics of the franchise that imo is the best in the business, so I was shocked the essence absorbtion/OT was canned. But, I'm glad to know it's still solid. I'll snipe a good deal on it.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:10:17 PM

Oh, no, it wasn't unanimous. The CVG guy did claim it IS the best Gaiden yet =p

no, seriously, he does.
and for all the wrong reasons

Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/22/2012 10:10:49 PM

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:25:08 PM

"It's less hardcore than previous games, making solo play enjoyable, but the online mode is a misstep. Still, while it's not as accomplished as Bayonetta, it's the best Gaiden yet." -CVG

stated next to the final overall score =)

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:35:10 PM

lol, I have a unique gift for pulling enjoyment out of certain crap but it's even harder when they rape a series you love. At least with others I can appreciate the ambition behind them.

On that note, the Duke Nukem Forever DLC "The Doctor Who Cloned Me" is actually good.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/22/2012 10:36:03 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

darxed
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 8:50:56 AM

"Not as acomplished as Bayonetta"... uhmmm does that guy even get what Ninja Gaiden is about? (Not saying Bayonetta is a bad game, just that both games shouldn't be compared...)

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Shams
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:45:39 PM
Reply

Dangnamit. At least it'll hold me over until The Devil's 3rd...speaking of the Devil, I guess that's why Itagaki-san is naming his next extravaganza just that.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:49:49 PM

No worries, Master Shams, there's plenty for you to enjoy here. I have little doubt of that ;)

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Shams
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:58:54 PM

I'll see ya online, Sensei Temjin. I'll take advantage of the BTGO deal at Target, this Sunday.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:12:57 PM

Sure thing =)
I'm hearing good things about the co-op. The 8 player multiplay is fun as well. It's a far cry from the CoD of action hack-n'slash as far as online gaming goes, but I'm having fun.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bebestorm
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:47:24 PM
Reply

Wow I thought this would be in the 7s. I didnt plan on picking it up soon so I'll wait til its under 30.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:50:40 PM

Okay.. well, that's just 2 months away, right?

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bebestorm
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:22:38 PM

Ummm more like July.. May and June is booked Max Payne,Diablo,and Dragon's Dogma.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

1torulemall
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:00:19 PM
Reply

It can't be worse than X-Blades (the only game i was feeling braid-dead while i was playing it).So when i will find it in a bargain bin then maybe for the the collection /sigh.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:04:39 PM

Well no, it's not worse than X-Blades. :)

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:40:50 PM

I wanna know if Blades of Time is as bad.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

GuyverLT
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 9:16:22 AM

From what I hear Blades of Time is actually an Ok game.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 3:14:42 PM

cool, maybe ill get it cheap some time. I'm a sucker for women kicking ass.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:40:33 PM
Reply

Well I haven't played it, but it sounds like it's been a victim of both westernization and a rush job. I feel for the fans.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 11:00:23 PM
Reply

One other thing, is there any reason Ryu has suddenly become a murderer of unarmed folks?

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 11:03:58 PM

Evil curses make him do it

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 12:11:58 AM

Maybe someone spiked him with that drug from Uncharted 3.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

duomaxwell007
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 11:02:44 PM
Reply

wow you too Ben? ok that game must really be bad then lol.. ill wait til its 39.99

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Soultaker
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 12:18:26 AM
Reply

The game is fun and i would say i'm a ninja gaiden fan. I do wish there was more weapons variety(which will be given through free DLC for the first 4 I think) and I like the story. I havent gotten a chance to play the multiplayer just yet though.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

JDC80
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 1:11:59 AM
Reply

I have a couple of beefs with the game the lack of other weapons, when I played Sigma 1 and 2 I could always count on switching to a more powerful weapons to deal with some of the tougher bosses I encountered. Another is the lack of health ups if you're running low on health you gotta kill whatever you're fighting for your health bar to fill back up.

But I do like the game and I do give them credit for shaking things up but I wish they kept what made Sigma 1 and 2 fun.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

godsdream
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 1:21:28 AM
Reply

Oh man, I expected a way higher score for this one. I really enjoyed the past 2 games, and still think that are awesome. Might put this game way down in my waiting list then.

Last edited by godsdream on 3/23/2012 1:23:15 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

___________
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 3:35:19 AM
Reply

sigh.
its becoming really depressing how almost every sequel this gen has been bastardized to the simplest form!
im almost at the point of wanting to play nothing but new IPs!

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Teddie9
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 7:14:28 AM
Reply

I guess it's up to Itagaki's "Devil's Third"
I really hope that mirrors his style completely.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

JackC8
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 8:40:08 AM
Reply

It seems like once Itagaki left, there was just no one else in the studio who had an ounce of creativity or even cared how the project turned out.

Oh well, I really should go back and play NGS2 again. I really thought that game was excellent.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

telly
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 3:15:46 PM
Reply

think it's "if ifs and BUTS were candy and nuts..." ;)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 8:18:49 PM

Yes, well, I'm sick and tired of rereading a million reviews. ;)

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ignitus
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 5:02:36 PM
Reply

Sorry to read about those shortcomings. After all comes as no surprize after Itagakis departure.
Tecmo should hand over NG4 development to him once again. I really loved NG and DOA under his leadership.

Let's see how DOA5 turns out.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

sonic1899
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 8:19:20 PM
Reply

I have to say that even before the game was released, I had a feeling the game would not turn out well. the very first time they went into details of "what it's like to cut through a person with a sword," I wondered if it's even necessary to have that act as a game mechanic. That alone implied that swords might end up being the only weapons and human characters might take make up the majority of the enemies. I could go on without the dismemberment, but taking away chests, weapons, shops, essence, upgrades, ninpos, and other elements seems so senseless to me. I also wished they could go without any multiplayer, because I didn't even want it with NGS2.

Here's food for thought: I recall during a documentary that Itagaki saw NGII as a form of art. He observed things in real life and wanted to imitate that with NGII. While I think NGS2 is much better than NGII, Hayashi wanted to focus on it being "the ultimate action game."

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Saturday, March 24, 2012 @ 9:40:17 AM

There's no two ways about it. NG3 is a dissapointment and a major left field turn for the franchise. And I totally agree about the early bad impressions this game made with bone and steel etc. and the general changes Hayasashi was making for it.

Knowing that you're the most accomplished NGS2 player I've met online, Ryu's sword play on hard and up is still NG worthy time spent. This is specially so concerning the Ninja Trials. Granted, it's just his sword, but apparantly the Scythe and Claws will be playable in the core Story Mode once they're freely availible online.

So if you're willing to accept the major decrease in presentational quality and a camera that's gotten bad most of the time, the hardcore sword play has a few new tricks up it's sleeve worth checking out, even wihtout the essence-to-UT aspect.

Right now, I'd say the game is 6'ish overall. I have 2 levels left, though.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/24/2012 9:40:47 AM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SS4
Sunday, March 25, 2012 @ 4:27:31 PM
Reply

Oh well if they make improved remakes like they did with the previous games, im sure they can nail it good so i might just wait before i pick it up.

I'm sure id still enjoy this one but ill take my time before i pick it up. Either lower price or remake is what ill wait for :P

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Kall555
Monday, March 26, 2012 @ 10:29:57 PM
Reply

Disagree with most reviews on NG3, including this one.

The game is no where near as bad as people are trying to make it out to be. The visuals are still solid & the action is still great. It just doesn;t feel like a NG game is all. Try to accept it as it's own game & it's darn good imo.

Thankfully i'm one of what seems to be a few that doesn't listen to reviews like it's the be & end all of all my decision making. :)

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

What do you think of the Destiny beta?
It's awesome! Can't wait for September!
It's only good, but I'm having fun.
Eh, it's okay, but I expected more.
It sucks, period.

Previous Poll Results