We didn’t know jumping the shark was a ninja skill.
The Pitch: Ryu Hayabusa returns for the third installment of the famed Ninja series that dates back two decades. Hayabusa gets suckered into an international plot, taking on baddies across the world and leaving a stream of blood in his wake.
What It Really Is: A low point in Team Ninja’s otherwise-outstanding resume. Since rebooting the series back in 2004, Ninja Gaiden has been known for its incredibly difficult but equally rewarding precision. Button mashing would get you killed and underestimating even the most pitiful foot soldier could stop you dead in your tracks. We’re sad to say that is no longer the case because Ninja Gaiden 3 is a thoughtless gorefest that requires little more than two thumbs and a frontal lobotomy to master. Most disappointing is how the game squanders potential on every front. The plot is initially promising, setting the stage for the Ninja-in-exotic-locations romp around the globe but quickly devolves into generic mediocrity or utter nonsense. Acrobatic exhibitions of ninja skills turn into herky jerky whirlwinds of confusion here as Ryu is indistinguishable from the multitude of enemies surrounding him. Bosses get recycled several times throughout, enemies attack without strategy and the fight system, which might have been OK in past iterations, can’t be considered anywhere near acceptable in a game that’s launching in a post-Arkham City world.
Maxim.com Ready-Made Press Blurb: “Ninja Gaiden kicks and punches ass!” -Maxim.com
Fun Fact: The plural of ninja is ninja, as in a village of ninja. This is one of the few things that Ninja Gaiden 3 consistently gets right. Ninja grammar.
Special Features: The collectible edition of NG3 comes with the game, an art book, the official soundtrack, a Ryu figurine and a code to get you a demo of Dead or Alive 5. What, no ninja stars?
Who’s It For: The only people who won’t be fooled by this dumbed down shell of a Ninja Gaiden game are newcomers to the series who don’t know any better. We assume they’ll be joining the ninja-hunting Samurai shortly.