My Mixed Feelings about Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

I would like to start by acknowledging that I have not played through this year’s Ninja Gaiden 3. Some of the terrible decisions and odd omissions plus my impressions of the demo were enough to make me decide I simply could not pay full price for this game. It’s unfortunate because this series has my favorite combat system in gaming (at least of melee-based ones) and I really was excited for a potential Ninja Gaiden 3. I am not sure exactly how it ended up where it did, but stuff like only having (basically) one weapon, changing how Ninpo works and only including one type, changing the way the Flying Swallow works and removing decapitations (which affects the gameplay) were the kind of decisions that I can’t quite understand. I am not sure if this was Hayashi trying to put his imprint on the series with Itagaki gone or what, but these moves just don’t make any sense.

Enter Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, a new and improved version of NG3 releasing for the Wii U. Re-releases in this series aren’t anything new, but I can’t help having mixed feelings about Razor’s Edge. Whereas new versions of NG1 and 2 felt like they added some neat things, the original versions didn’t necessarily feel incomplete. With Razor’s Edge, they seem to be adding so many things that should have been there to begin with since they were in previous versions of the series. More weapons are being added back in. More magic spells. The upgrade/economy system that has you gaining access to new moves and improving weapons/ninpo. Collectibles are back and unlock new areas. Enemies are aggressive when injured again and have generally more aggressive AI. Decapitations are back. Plus they are adding Ayane as a playable character and adding more characters after launch as well. And I think, but have read mixed things on this, that after finishing you can play the whole campaign as Ayane (and I’d assume other characters) as opposed to just using them in missions and her own campaign levels (which would be awesome for replay value).

Ayane was a blast to use in Sigma 2 so her inclusion is a great addition, but it is the more basic things that make me both excited for this game and a little bothered. On the one hand, it feels like the PS3/360 gamers got a beta version (and again I’m lucky in that I didn’t buy the full version like some people). But at least Team Ninja are recognizing their mistakes and trying to fix them. I hate to port beg, but I wish this game was coming to PS3 and 360. It seems Nintendo is helping to foot the bill and has a hand in development (to what extent seems unclear to me), so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Admittedly, all this won’t necessarily fix the problems with the game. From what I have played and seen of vanilla NG3, encounter design was a big issue and boss fights I’ve heard were another problem. But it seems like a step in the right direction and videos certainly look the part. I’ll definitely be getting a Wii U at some point down the line for various Nintendo series I can’t do without, so I’ll be able to check this new version of Ninja Gaiden 3 out then. It kind of stinks that some of this wasn’t in the original version, but I think them realizing their mistakes is a good sign for the future of the series at least. I’m hoping this turns out well while simultaneously saying, “Why wasn’t some of this in there to begin with?”

If any of you have any opinions on the original Ninja Gaiden 3 or this upcoming re-release I’d love to hear them. Or maybe you just have an opinion on what is going on here with this situation I have explained which I’d like to hear about too. So hit up the comments. Thanks for reading!


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