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Friday, May 4, 2012

Ninja Gaiden 3

6.0 out of 10

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I can't believe I'm saying this, but I seriously worry that “Americanizing” this series has hurt it. I know, I know … I usually hate Japanese storytelling. But when it came to the Ninja Gaiden series, the storytelling was for the most part pretty awesome. It was over-the-top, but its story let it get over-the-top. Sometimes, it went too far (in the second game, the werewolves running through the street seemed incredibly strange!), but overall I really, really liked the first two games in this series.

To say nothing of the Nintendo originals.

And so this game's story is a complete mess. I let some stuff go from time to time, but I got bogged down by the utter contradictions in the storyline. You'll see it almost immediately, when you find yourself running from British soldiers. Now, I'll be entirely honest: I read the IGN review and found myself a little at odds with their description of the first “murder” that takes place: you're walking toward one of the soldiers trying to kill you. He's disarmed. He begs for his life. You kill him.

Not exactly what I would call an intense “moral dilemma” here. Really? It didn't bother me in the slightest that I was forced to kill him.

I did, however, find myself completely encumbered by the fighting system. It's clumsy and repetitive, and from time to time you'll feel seriously bored and anxious to get to the next scene. I didn't feel that in the first two games … maybe because I was always one or two hits away from dying no matter what level I was on.

And I think, ultimately, that's what really, really sets this game back. Does it have good visuals? Yup. Does it have tons of violence and gore? Yup, yup. But can you get from fight to fight without losing interest?

Probably not.

Rent it. See what you think. If you can get past these little quirks, you might find some enjoyment. I definitely did, but those moments were sparse and you really, really had to fight for them.
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