Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge

This Razor Is Still Dull

Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge can't fix what was already broken.
Author: Kyle Heimbigner
Published: April 18, 2013
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Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge is a button smashing action title created for the 13 year old boy with attention deficit disorder in all of us. With a poorly written storyline and mind numbing gameplay with nothing to break up the flow, Razor’s Edge is a painful title to get through. Aram Lecis still hasn’t recovered from reviewing the original version of Ninja Gaiden 3, so I have decided to seek revenge, ninja style... only not.


What does Razor’s Edge offer that adds and fixes the original? It adds all of the DLC, as well as improvements to the gameplay; but when the gameplay is this poorly implemented to begin with it’s not like any change short of a huge overhaul to the balance (or lack thereof) is going to fix it. What is especially disappointing is when you start comparing the game to Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2 on the original Xbox and you see just how much better those two games were in comparison. The action was intense and very challenging with a steep learning curve that required practice, thoughtful timing, and a sense of what was happening around you as you were often surrounded by enemies. The enemies surrounding you from all sides is still true in this third installment of the popular franchise, but now all that is required is a few flicks of the analog stick and some button smashing and you are cutting your way to victory. This just makes the combat feel very empty.

I would think maybe the blood spray and graphic violence would help with the impact and really drive home the point that this is a fast paced and brutal action game. Instead it just comes off as cartoony and weightless. I don’t feel the impact of the brutal swings cutting through skin and bone, ending the life of another nameless soldier who has some nebulous reason to kill Ryo Hayabusa. These enemies also have such hilarious large healthbars at times that I feel like a clown hitting them with a blow up toy hammer. Again, all of this ends up coming off as cartoony when in reality I think Team Ninja wanted a dark and brutal action game where the violence had real impact and emotion behind it.

Another thing I miss from the first two games was how the action was broken up by intelligent and well done puzzle segments. These were difficult to figure out and rewarding when you did finally get it; often times followed by an epic battle sequence to get your blood flowing once again to your fingers instead of your brain. Also gone is the wandering around, unlocking new areas in a level and exploring; instead you quickly move forward from room to room with the objective always being the same - to kill some bad guys that pop out of thin air. Later on it changes ever so slightly with the added challenge of bad guys standing on platforms shooting rockets at you and you need to use your bow to dispatch the bastards. I just wanted the game to change things up a bit! Keep the non-stop action if you must, but it needs to be done in some new and exciting way every once in awhile. Instead we get segments that involves running from a tank, trying to sneak through fog, or on a train shooting at flying enemies; is this really the best Team Ninja could come up with? None of this is even as interesting as it sounds.
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