If you’re a loyal follower of our content, you might recognize this is the third time we have reviewed Ninja Gaiden 3 and the second time we’ve done Razor’s Edge. This time we are checking it out on the PS3. Not much has changed since this same package was released for the Wii U in the fall of last year but those that don’t have a Wii U will have plenty of reason to check this one out.
We reviewed the “original” Ninja Gaiden 3 just over a year ago on PS3 and Razor’s Edge when it first came out last November on the Wii U. You can read our PS3 review of Ninja Gaiden 3 HERE, and you can read our review of the Wii U version of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razer’s Edge HERE. The PS3 version of Razor’s Edge remains unchanged from the Wii U version and its corny story remains intact.
The easier-than-easy Hero mode that I lauded in my NG Sigma 2 Plus review mercifully is included in Razor’s Edge. To even things out, Team Ninja took it upon themselves to make the Hard mode even harder. To me, that’s just insane but for fans of the series (or sadists, you decide) this is reason for checking Razor’s Edge out even if they have played the original NG3. Suffice it to say that the bulk of my play for this review was done on the Hero mode.
Make no mistake about it, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (like any NG game) is all about the combat. Standard light/heavy attacks are balanced by blocking, evading and countering enemy attacks. It is pretty basic stuff in theory until you consider the combos. There are more combos than I can count and many are unlocked as you level up your character. While combos are made up of simply button presses they can get quite intricate. With the pace of combat being as frantic as it is, my strategy quickly devolved into block, block, mash the attack buttons and repeat. This actually works on the Hero difficulty setting but I have to admit the one dimensionality of it gets old quick. Ryu does have a bow at his disposal that helps break the monotony. A healthy amount of aiming lock on helps keep the action fast when using this type of ranged weapon. Boss battles also help break up the combat and feature quick-time events. Normally I despise these but here they are simple enough to not be overly frustrating.
Karma points are earned during gameplay can be spent towards developing things like weapon upgrades, Ninpo, and even new skills on an all new branching skill tree. For comparison’s sake, I liken this tree to what I’ve seen Far Cry 3. Extending out the single player campaign, character Ayane is now playable over a few levels. Ayane has her own moves and skill upgrades independent than that of main character Ryu. When levels are completed they can be played again in a Chapter Challenge mode in which players a scored for how well they fare.
For those looking for a multiplayer flavor to their ninja action there is plenty to be had. Clan Battle pits up to eight players against one another in a team competition. Ninja Trials is Razor’s Edge co-op offering. In this mode you and a friend (you can also play it solo) face waves of enemies sort of like Horde mode in Gears of War. Karma points are earned in these modes and all stats are recorded in the Ninja Records (which can be uploaded to online leaderboards). Neither mode is unique but they both add depth and longevity to a game that’s already well populated with features.
Razor’s Edge is a very crisp looking game; however, there isn’t much in the way of detailed lighting or textures. Stop to look around and you won’t be all that impressed. It appears to be this way for a reason though. This game isn’t about scenery. It is about killing and its best visual features support this. One of people’s biggest complaints about the original NG3 last year was the lack of dismemberments. There’s no shortage here and this is probably what stands out the most when compared to the original. Guts, limbs and bodies fly freely with blood gratuitously spraying everywhere. Team Ninja has certainly listened to fan feedback and made sure people won’t have that same complaint here.
I’m not sure if it was purposefully localized but the voice acting is very American sounding, especially Ryu. Like my colleagues, I enjoyed the soundtrack and its nods to what I remember old 80’s films sounding like. The term gratuitous, which I used to describe the visuals of blood, guts and limbs flying, applies here too. Weapons cut through bodies and blood flows with a delightful amount of juiciness. This is so not a game for kids.
For fans of the series that were disappointed with the original NG3 and haven’t played the Wii U version of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razer’s Edge this is a must buy, especially at a price point for under $30. Fans will enjoy the new challenge, casual players will enjoy the accessibility that Hero mode provides, and everyone gets to enjoy a slew of content. It might not be the A-level title fans hoped for but my only real complaint here is that I found the combat to get a little tedious, everything else is pretty good.