Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is what Ninja Gaiden Black was to Ninja Gaiden, yet Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge still has some rough edges; Ninja Gaiden 3 was released on March 23, 2012. Which was not received well by fans? the game featured new mechanics and changes. Such new features include “Steel on Bone”, a new visual cinematic trick which allows players to cut through the body during a slow-motion sequence. In other situations the player has to be stealthy, as Ryu Hayabusa can now sneak up on an enemy and kill him with a single strike. Enemies speak while fighting and do not die quickly, they suffer and scream in pain when injured. They are no longer decapitated or dismembered; instead they just bleed and weaken.
Some changes include the slide manoeuvre, which replaces the Reverse Wind Technique from the previous games. Ryu uses it to get through small passages as well as to attack enemies. The Ultimate Technique concept has slightly changed in the form of Ryu’s cursed right arm known as the Grip of the Murder. When he kills a specific number of enemies his arm glows red. Then, the player can charge up for an ultimate attack that is fuelled by absorbing nearby fallen bodies instead of essence.
Unlike past games, the HUD appears only in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge when Ryu is engaged in battle, then fades out later. The Muramasa store is no longer present; Ryu gets different swords over the course of the game. He also has access to his shuriken and a high-tech bow. Both projectile weapons have infinite ammo. Items are virtually non-existent. The Dragon Statues that allowed Ryu to save and heal are replaced by a scripted Falcon who swoops down to Ryu’s hand and saves at specific points in the level, restoring his health to full as well.
The Ninpo concept has been revamped. In the single-player mode, Ryu has access to only one Ninpo that transforms him into a giant dragon of fire. To activate it, the player must first defeat enemies to fill up a bar beneath the health bar. Once it is full, the player can activate the Ninpo and kill all onscreen enemies at once, restoring Ryu’s life in the process. The amount of health gained depends on how many enemies were left when the Ninpo was cast. In the multiplayer modes (both co-op and competitive), there are other Ninpo available, such as the Art of the Piercing Void.
So when Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge was announced for the Wii U as an Exclusive title it seemed Temco had listened to the outcry made by its fans, but Temco are no stranger to releasing; different/alternative versions of their games; they did this with Ninja Gaiden by releasing Ninja Gaiden Black back in September 2005. Black is a reworked compilation of the original Ninja Gaiden and the two Hurricane Packs. The game features new foes, such as exploding bats and doppelgänger fiends who could imitate Ryu. It contained more costumes and swapped Ninja Gaiden’s unlockable NES games for an arcade version.
This seems to be the case with Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge originally planned as a Wii U Exclusive, and to be released in January this year, but then later Temco announced its release date for the PS3/Xbox 360 in April 2013.
So after Ninja Gaiden 3 was a major let-down some of the fans had high hopes that Temco would right the wrongs they made with Ninja Gaiden 3. As after Itagakis departure in 2008, it seemed Temco had lost its Identity along with the Ninja Gaiden series. As we do agree with IGN’s Review calling NG3 “a technical disaster.” As gone was the amazing series we once knew and loved. We can say it does seem Temco have fixed some things that plagued NG3, but not all of them, as the story still remains the same.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge has the same story as NG3 with Ryu getting a visit from Japan’s Self-Defense Force who request Ryu’s assistance with a terrorist incident in London. He learns that the terrorists, a cult calling themselves the “Lords of Alchemy”, are specifically calling out for Ryu’s appearance there. He complies and heads to London, accompanied by JSDF member Mizuki McLoud, to find himself face-to-face with the leader of the cult known as the “Regent of the Mask”. After a battle in the Prime Minister’s mansion, he is cursed with the “Grip of Murder” on his right arm that constantly feeds on the deaths of others, and will consume him otherwise. As he loses the Dragon Sword in the process, Ryu barely escapes the mansion with his life, and learns that the Lords of Alchemy threaten the world’s immediate annihilation if every nation does not surrender within seven days.
‘They call it ‘The Grip of Murder’
For all its trying we can’t help but feel Temco tried making Ryu a more ‘humane’ character as they try to show his soft side by taking off his mask, But we feel this was one of the weakest parts of Ninja Gaiden 3 & Razor’s Edge, as for all the comments that the main villain makes towards Ryu I think that Temco forgot that the “Lords of Alchemy” attacked a city and killed a lot of Innocent people. Sorry but Ryu is a Ninja, his job is to Slay, Kill and Obliterate enemy’s when needed to do so, and on this occasion he did what he does best and delivers some solace with his dragon sword. But their attempts to explore the dark hero in 2012 feels outdated, simplistic and uninteresting. ‘Is Hayabusa a hero or a murderer?’ Do we care?
Ninja Gaiden 3; Razor’s Edge combat is somewhat refined over last year’s NG3, but it’s not on the same level as Ninja Gaiden Black or Sigma. Many gameplay elements from Ninja Gaiden 2 were borrowed and implemented in Razor’s Edge, while some elements from the original Ninja Gaiden 3 were discarded or completely remade, such as Steel on Bone being a grab counter chain and no longer requiring button spam, and the Kunai Climbing being much faster and easier to perform. Many other gameplay mechanics from Ninja Gaiden II were implemented in Razor’s Edge but we wont list then all.
Additional features include new exclusive weapons such as the Lunar Staff, Kusarigama and Dual Katanas, improved AI, and new enemy types, new battle areas and alternate costumes. The “Karma Counter” from previous games was bought back, now with enhanced features and bonuses. An upgrade menu has now been implemented, accessible at any point in the game. Players can buy special skills, Health, Weapon and Ninpo upgrades and alternate costumes.
Even have scarabs make a welcome return, also the ‘Test of Valor’ challenges have made a return, which does add a nice return to form, as these can be seen a ‘Trials’ but are a nice flash back to anyone who has followed the series over the years, as facing off against Doku, Alma brings back how Ninja Gaiden should be. As after playing Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, we decided to go back and play NG3 again, and we could feel the difference in gameplay between the two. Why Temco decided to do this with NG3 is beyond us. Yes as we said before Temco are no strangers to releasing updated versions of their games. But the difference between the these two games is, well… Massive.The gameplay in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge has been totally refined, making the game more enjoyable and better to play; the difficulty has been beefed up to what you expect from a NG game.
Gone are the flat sections when Ryu’s arm gets more infected by the curse, these are no replaced with challenge rooms, where Ryu’s health depletes and he has to kill everyone before the curse consumes him. It’s also worth mentioning that Temco have removed a certain cut scene that was at the beginning of the game, where a solider begs for his life; he hopes to appeal to Hayabusa’s humanity with talk of a daughter back home and the fact he only took the job for the money. Why this was removed? Did Temco decide it wasn’t needed, or that it broke the initial gameplay? As this cut scene was quite pivotal to the story later on in the game.
There are sections where you get to play as Ayane in the game, and these are a nice change of pace compared to Ryu’s sections, as Ayane seems fast with her weapons compared to Ryu. There is Chapter challenge, which allows you to play any chapter from the main game as Ryu, Ayane, Momiji you can even play as Dead or Alive Kasumi, during this section from the main menu. These characters are also useable in the Ninja Trials from the ‘shadows of the world’ section. You can attempt these trials on your own or with a friend online. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge has an online Mutliplayer where you can face off against other ninjas, but although this is fun for a while we can’t see it having any staying power against others games that are already out. As we had a lot of serve lag during our play time online, yes most games do have some form of lag online but this breaks up the flow of the game and can ruin your fun all together.
‘Please Ryu, Forgive them for what they did’
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is a very sharp-looking game; however, there isn’t much in the way of detailed lighting or textures. But if you stop to take a look you won’t be all that impressed. Yet this game isn’t about that. It is about killing and its best visual features support this. Temco has done everything to please fans short of making a brand new game, but despite its successes this too often feels like an awkward compromise. But certain enemies feel frustratingly unfair to fight and the controls aren’t always reliable. But even with all this in mind Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is a game worth your time, we can’t but help and feel that Temco deserve a second chance, as we said before it seems there having an identity crisis and are trying to find their feet since the departure of Itagaki in 2008. With it not being a full price release, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge offers any gamer that likes this genre of game, a lot of content is included for the price and the game is a massive improvement over NG3; a game that was released about 9 months ago.
Just like NG3, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge offers entertainment, it take strides in the right direction. But we can’t help but think that without Itagakis input will Ninja Gaiden series ever be back to the way it was? Think of Razor’s Edge as an apology to the fans, for the ”technical disaster.” that was NG3. It’s the best version of NG3 but its still not what Ninja Gaiden 3 should of been.
“We are both steeped in the blood of our countless victims, my brother. Farewell; until we meet again.”