User Reviews: Ninja Gaiden 3 (Hands-On Impressions) PS3 User Review

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

Ninja Gaiden 3 (Hands-On Impressions) User Review

(Print This Article)













Replay Value:



Overall Rating:       7.5



Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Being an experienced Gaiden player I opted to start my path on Hard mode. I'll keep this hands-on review concise and to the point. I plan to do a full review after having finished the game and understanding it as a whole better. The score represents only a snapshot impression of what I've played thus far. I've opted not to include full multiplayer impressions. What I've played of the online is fun, and my game sessions were generally lag free ;)

Highs: High volume locales and admirably detailed character models. This is particularly so concerning Ryu and the main cast. Texture detail appears to have been increased over prior outings, with Ryu sporting more realistic skin and a more ornately detailed outfit. Backgrounds are generally rich with textured density and well chosen materials. Visuals during multi-player are trimmed back, resulting in a lesser detailed experience when playing online.
Lows: Frame rate struggles to keep up during higher volume encounters. Screen tearing can run rampant while engine is placed under stress. The lack of anti-aliasing reveals aliased edges. Minor visual inconsistencies, like a helicopter passing through buildings, or Ryu appearing to float above the ground plane on some undulated surfaces.

Sound: Sounds like a Ninja Gaiden game. I opted for Japanese voice-overs.. they do sound Japanese ;)
Music and sound effects sound good. I'm not blown away, or nothing, but it's good. Fighting the Phantom of the Opera boss sounds like a John William's Star Wars Episode One Darth Maul theme =)

General Changes: The game offers a more streamlined system of game progression. Essence orbs and Murasami shops have been eliminated. Inventory consumables including health and ninpo aids are gone. Health is restored after a battle session or after initiating ninpo. Killing enemies accumulates a ninpo meter, finishing off immobilized enemies feeds this meter. When the meter is full Ryu can choose to use his ninpo art, which clears the battlefield of all active enemies. If Ryu sustains heavy damage during battle a blood splash indicator resting behind Ryu's vitality bar pulsates. Receiving further damage at this point reduces Ryu's max vitality capacity. Vitality resets itself to default after completely clearing the battlefield of all enemies and any subsequent enemy re-enforcements. Ryu fights only with his sword, shurikins and, or, bow. Ryu's dash is now a slide, and the slide will stagger or air launch an enemy on impact. The ultimate technique (UT) can only be initiated after having dispatched several foes, indicated by Ryu's glowing red arm. Ryu can scale up a wall side by using his kunai as leverage. He can stop to throw a projectile at an assailant within view. Ryu has some evasive actions while affixed to a wall. Numerous QTE's are moderately included throughout the play. Pressing up on the d-pad during game play reveals a moves list. The graphical user interface is clearly lacking in cues and contextual information.

Combat Highs: Ryu is empowered to dispatch many foes, and these foes are as aggressive as ever. Those familiar with the ebb and flow of prior games will feel right at home. The Hard difficulty provides a satisfying challenge for veterans... don't jump at rocket launcher men, zig-zag slide to them instead ;)

Combat Lows: The greater openness of levels and increased count of enemies work against the camera's field of view, troubling the player to maintain spacial awareness of the battlefield. Standing near a wall or a corner reveals more camera problems. Enemy AI can sometimes be loose, especially so concerning bike riders... he's driving into the wall!

Feels and moves like a Ninja Gaiden game. Ryu is tight and responsive and he's governed by the laws of gravity more-so than some of his peers who share the same genre. Slowdown and camera can be a hindrance.

Ninja Gaiden fans will no doubt have mixed feelings about this game. Those who've worried that the combat may have been overly simplified or dumbed down need not be too concerned. There's a handful of fresh new tactics to employ during play and the general feel of the combat does hit the mark. The loss of essence empowerment is a vital change, but the tinkering and re-tuning of the combat system helps to keep it playing smart and arguably now preventing a player from becoming too reliant on UT tactics as from past entries. The loss of Ryu's vast assortment of weapons strikes me as the heaviest blow to the experience. The enemy types are numerous, and the bosses I've encountered are solid and do well to test my skills. The slowdown and camera works against the player, especially now with more enemies on-screen than before (PS3 versions), and considering that, oftentimes, battlefields are now larger compared to entries past. Visually, it's the best looking entry in the series, but marred by some occasional less-than-the- norm visual abnormalities that may be lacking attention to certain details. While there's been some bumps and bruises adjusting to this new Ninja Gaiden, I'm absolutely pleased I purchased the game, even if this is the least epic entry yet from the core series. And, oh, yeah, there's a story in here, too... I suppose it's like videogame anime. good 'nuff, right? =p

This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.

User review by Temjin001

3/21/2012 11:35:59 AM

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

New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (13 posts)

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 9:31:10 AM

I wrote this being near the end of Day 2 btw. I'm now in day 4.
A few new discoveries concerning combat and graphics I've found.
Concerning the bow, Ryu can slow down time while taking aim. It's tricky to do and there probably couldve been a better way to implement this, but it is what it is. Basically, I slowdown time by jumping in the air, while holding L2 I move my right thumb to the right analoge stick and move it to take aim. All of time will stop for about 3-4 seconds. This is very effective when the game places you into arenas of melee based enemies with projectile enemies out on the outskirts firing rockets at you. I've found it best to deal with this by jumping straight up, slowing down time, and shooting those enemies dead with my explosive arrow.

Other gameplay changes I've encountered:
When Ryu's arm is glowing red, he appears to be blood lusted: moving faster and more deadly than before so it may not be wise to resort immediatly to tapping your strong attack and dispatching a UT that drops no more than 3 men.
I think this is a point of contention some critics may be having with it. The game does allow quite a bit of progress to made by mashing the quick button. Of course a player can't rely on this on Hard mode, as many enemies flat out block or will dodge you, but on Normal mode this may be a different story.

Up date on GRAPHICS:
It's starting to show some inconsistencies in art quality. WHen it's lookiong it's best, it's the best looking NG yet. But I'm encountering some stages that look relatively drab and sterile. More on that as I progress, I suppose.

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 3:41:45 PM

Thanks a million for the preview, Sensei Temjin. I was in doubt due to the suspicious reviews, but you've cleared them. So, I'll be picking up a copy.

Regarding the screen-tear and slow down, is their an option to disable ninja cinema as in the second?

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 4:36:52 PM

Awesome. I absolutely think you'll value the game a lot more than the average gamer. Unfortanely, it would seem the game is too easy on Normal but probably too hard on Hard for those who aren't Mentor+ in skill from prior game outings.

A few more updates to discuss:
After completing, either it was, day 2 or day 3 Ninja Trials unlock.
These build from the mode in prior games, adding tons more value, where Ninja vets will no doubt spend a good chunk of time engaging these. It also helps to know we have a couple classic weapons coming down the pipeline with free DLC. Awesome.
And here, my fine Master Ninja friend is all Gaiden. Pure and simple, with all the challenge anyone could've hoped for.

Ninja Trials Details:
All of those on-screen indicators tallying up combo hits, contextual information on in-action happenings are all on display. Why they removed this from the core story mode I have no idea.
Anyway, these trials are pretty beefy in size and are also in arenas that don't cause the camera to mess up as often.
There are now checkpoints within them. Thankfully, too. They can become pretty long, and any person whining that the game is too easy just needs to stop by in here ;)

Combat Updates:
Ryu's arm appears to power up based on succesfully landing attacks. Originally I thought it was only while making kills. Not so.
It also can charge having landed succesful bow shot attacks.

Furthermore, as I stated above, using Ryu's charged bloodlusted arm yields massive performance gains. From what I can tell, every hit lands now as a "critical/counter hit" while the arm and sword are glowing. This performance gain extends straight to his Slide. While Ryu's charged every dash that makes content on normal and smaller sized enemies will launch them in air, which than can link into a follow-up combo finisher.
AWESOME. It sort brings back memories of Shinobi.
Also, Ryu's combos appear to extend when his arm is charged, making him more deadly than ever.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/22/2012 4:39:14 PM

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 4:42:49 PM

Oh and your question, Ninja Cinema appears to be off by default.
It is a toggled option.

And I'm really contemplating getting capture components to post some advanced gameplay vids on youTube, helping to prove this game HAS NOT been dumbed down, only on normal. It's so sad on behalf of Team Ninja how many got it wrong while evaluating the full package offering of this Gaiden. I still can't say it's above either of the prior entries, but it comes highly recommended to ardent action game fans.

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 7:15:47 PM

Brilliant. You know that out of all the reviews/previews i've read, you were the only one who offered any analysis regarding the glowing arm?
Thanks, again, Sensei Temjin.

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012 @ 1:00:27 AM

Okay, so just finished Day 6 and I have moved onto Day 7.

More updates
Okay, so after Day 2 the graphics just continue to get worse. That 8.5 you see up there has just dropped into the 6'ish range. Environments have become really bland... really bland. It's hard to believe, actually. WIth the first city stage looking so dense and detailed,and the desert looking good, and even the jungle zone looking repectably nice, this sudden drop in level detail is alarming. PS2'ish likeness in detail has usually not been an exaggeration concerning the backgrounds. Ouch!
On the plus side, the frame rate has steadied out and the game thus becomes better playing.

Gameplay Update
Okay, so Ryu eventually gets a new sword upon returning to Hayabusa village. It's a pretty awesome stage all around which brings back a whole lot of NG2's cast of enemies, some with new maneuvers and tricks. However, a few spots in this stage just goes ape nuts over dropping bombs. So much so it's hard to even tell what's going on. Basically ninja dudes from a distance are tossing bombs in at you and you're tasked with trying to shoot them down with your bow while within a nest of other ninja baddies jumping everywhere all about, latching onto you with self-detonating bombs(NG2 nostalgia for sho). Problem is, they're up high and you're down low so the auto-targeting works against you and you often end up targeting everyone you don't want to be aiming at. It's a short lived problem relative to the whole, but annoying nonetheless. I definately liked getting the eastern asian theme back over the clinical, sterile feeling stages that populated the last couple hours of play.

Anyway, Ryu's new sword is awesome and enables more awesome ninja sword weilding action.
NG3 is clearly Ryu's best act with a sword.There's a few other surprises but I don't wanna spoil nothing.

Aside from that I made an error concerning health regeneration. When you do lose health from your max vitality, that health doesn't entirely refill until reaching like a Save spot. I haven't pinned down all of the specifics of how it works.

The range of enemies the game keeps presenting is impressive. DOn't know how things are on normal, but NG3 keeps the enemies coming.A handful are a bit redundant, like the gorrila mutants, but the fights are challenging and satisfying.

More updates as they happen

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012 @ 2:06:34 AM

Okay, just finished Day 7. Phew, what a work out. This level was pretty awesome though. A definant step up from the prior 2 levels with it looking just a bit better(still below the norm game however) with more on screen activity, and some really solid fights, and being quite a bit more dramatic with more scripted moments. Day 7 also has a handful of satisfying boss fights as well. One of which was a pretty awesome looking transformer beast thing. I'm now on what I believe to be the final level. I'm hoping this final level holds up as well as the last.

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012 @ 8:01:17 AM

I'm glad I came back here. I was reading your comment in Ben's week in review op-ed, and my heart dropped when I read of sub ps2 textures, and other weaknesses. Though I'm relieved to know that at least it is a mixed bag. Please, let me know if you still think it's worth a purchase, and again, thanks for your diligence and acumen, Sensei Temjin.

Also, what are your thoughts on StreetFighterxTekken in the pov of a Tekken fan? I have UMvC3 for the Vita (which I've yet to get into), but was wondering if I should take advantage of the buy2get1free offer at Target when (and if) I get NG3.

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012 @ 9:43:48 AM

I still think NG3 is absolutely worth it. I'll play it several times through.

There's a lot of upset with it all, but it still has got it where it counts.

I like SFxTekken. I plan to get it!

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012 @ 9:52:18 AM

a note thought about the SF games. Id say it's pretty hard to get real good with a standard game pad with most of the characters I've tried.. so if you were planning to get it and get real skilled, you'd probably want to invest in a fight stick

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

Monday, March 26, 2012 @ 3:29:03 PM

I picked up a copy last night, Sensei Temjin. Thanks, again, for your invaluable insight.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 12:43:15 AM

Okay, finished the game on Hard mode. THe last level was great as well. In fact, the story really started coming together, too. It's not nearly as senseless as some would have us believe. It's definately very eastern, so that requires some added intrepretation.
Anyway,it would've been nice to see at least one or two new enemies during the last couple stages. Everything was pretty much the same stuff as before. The end fight was satisfying, too. And some of the story events caused just a bit of heart felt emotion in me.

I'm also trying to understand the sound scoring everyone blasted this game with. During the last several stages I really cued in on the soundtrack... it's not bad, even good at times. I've gone through several stages without a single heavy metal guitar riff played, long stages, too. But to be agreeable with some critics, the heavy that is there, is pretty crappy. A far cry from the stuff in NG and NG2. Anyway, the overall general consensus is about right with this game. Ignore anything going as low as 3-4, 5 is a little hard accept, and 6-7 is where I'd have it pegged.

I'm in process of doing a full, more legit and site worthy review, which I aim to have up soon, probably tommorow.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 9:18:33 AM

One last thing here. I tried the game on normal. Yeah, it's a joke. It automates way too much. I couldn't get combos off without the game just having me finish the guy off with an automated kill sequence. Anyone who likes videogames or enjoys doing something more than the mindless just has to avoid Normal altogether.

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

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

How often do you visit the site?
Once a day
Several times a day
Every few days
Once a week
This is my first visit
I've never been here, even now I am not here

Previous Poll Results