Originally published for the Wii U last year, and finally now the Xbox 360 can get to experience the all-improved Ninja Gaiden 3 with Razor’s Edge – a version that has some differences since the original Xbox 360 Ninja Gaiden 3 launched during March 2012. In this instance though you will not see any techy touch screen controls as it is beyond the technical capabilities of the Xbox 360, but you will see new playable characters, faster gameplay action and more weapons with enhanced battle system and ninpo types. In what is hailed as a re-made game for the fans – is this really what you asked for.
Were you somewhat outraged by the direction of the original Ninja Gaiden 3? If so, Tecmo Koei and developers Team Ninja aim to rectify your grievances with Razor’s Edge, but despite still looking a little dated in the graphics department if you’re into the brutal high-speed action games where it’s virtually just one man and his sword against a ninja infested world of evil, then this should sit quite highly on your must-own list. If you have already owned the original Ninja Gaiden 3, then you might question why would you want to buy it again? Possibly for the extra story content, as Ayane has her own tale to tell, and additionally Dead or Alive’s Momiji and Kasumi are now playable characters in the game. Also unlike the original, Ryu Hayabusa, gets to explore his more human side with extra depth as he takes on a curse called the “Grip of Murder” which has a powerful influence of some of his most deadly kills as well as his right arm! Plus, all new Test of Valour challenges to rank up the difficulty, hidden objects to find, more reason and purpose for level exploration, and the return of dismemberment so you can slice your enemy into pieces! So who doesn’t love a good sword fight – especially when the body parts are flying around the screen like a chicken in a slaughterhouse that just isn’t ready to die. No, I’ve not actually witnessed that, but for imagination purposes try to think about it and the inners.
The plot itself is interesting enough in that you are guided and motivated by vengeance whilst having to be brutal with elements of stealth and at other times an all-guns-blazing approach. Whilst the main emphasis is on the combat, the story is quite leading and prominent enough to be remembered, but not for its greatness – more like WTF is going on, it’s ridiculous, yet intriguing. I have to admit that Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge did turn out to be a much better gaming experience than I had initially thought it would be. At first it appeared a bland, typical sword fighting game having a rather dull title screen and lacklustre first mission that made me think about how much better “Metal Gear Rising Revengeance” is in comparison. Although Razor’s Edge is not the superior game over Metal Gear Rising, it is very similar in its gameplay style and dare I say a poor-mans equivalent! It’s an average game that pleasantly grows on you.
In Razor’s Edge it is all about grabbing your weapons and heading straight out into the action, putting yourself in some seriously deadly situations that you’ll be left surprised by the fact Hayabusa still has a head on his shoulders! Everything story-wise revolves around a cult calling themselves the “Lords of Alchemy” who are seen as deadly terrorists as they threaten the world with obliteration for non-compliance to their demands. Hayabusa being the fearless man, who can take on the world with some deadly abilities, leads the cult into a false sense of security and the eventual outcome is as always the hero.
The difficulty can be varied, but Normal is about right to escape the monotony of Hero Mode which is relatively easy so you’ll be flying through the wave after wave of ninja’s in no time with boss battles having no real effort to their slaughtering. The key to your survival is not using the controller as a button-mashing peripheral every time you embrace an enemy onslaught, but instead to master your Ninja Skills and learn the art of Helmet Splitting, Moon Crushing, the Divine Swallow among many button-triggered-combo enabled actions to strike a deadly blow. The better you perform the more Karma Score you earn which can be used to unlock extra skills, costumes, deadly feats and the all-important spiritual Ninpo to take out a vast amount of enemies all at once in unique ways – often with the use of Dragons. Ninpo is your one and only special power in limited means to clear the way when there appears no other way out as a last resort to be used wisely. Razors Edge can be very challenging and you will need to embrace it head-on with a requirement to unlock new attacks as you progress, without using your Karma Score on a range of improved actions you will not go far down the line, it just gets tougher and tougher with an intense wave of more brutal enemies as you come to the end of each chapter with boss battles of increasing difficulty to match!
If you fancy an online enemy-fest then Shadows of the World is the aptly titled multiplayer mode arena where you can take part in Clan Battle matches for up to eight players over Xbox LIVE, however finding a single player proved somewhat of a challenge and multiplayer could be dead in the water unless you know a group of friends who also own the game – then beg them to take part, let them win! Another little addition by the way of Ninja Trials allow you to fight wave after wave of enemies in a combat arena style setting based on certain areas from the campaign environments. You can play Ninja Trials alone or with a co-op buddy to help earn more Karma Score and level up your Ninja – but unfortunately Razor’s Edge requires an online pass, and since no one seems to be playing this online, it’s hardly worth it. In fact multiplayer development must have been an absolute waste of time and money!
Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge is one of those games you are likely to enjoy more when it’s been bought for you by a friend or relative. If you have friends that buy you games – then send them my direction too! It’s an ok game, but that is just it – it’s just OK. Enjoyable with improvements over the last Ninja Gaiden 3, but do you really want to spend your own money on this? If you’ve been umming and ahhing then don’t bother. Maybe try as a rental or persuade your granny to open her purse on your birthday.
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