Ninja Gaiden 3 PS3 review

ninja gaiden 3

Never meet your heroes. That’s the old adage, anyway, and it’s never been truer than in NG3. Team Ninja is working the ‘unmasking’ angle really hard in this hack ’n’ slash, and after spending so many exhilarated, frustrated and finally illuminated hours with Mr Ryu Hayabusa in the supremely challenging Ninja Gaiden games up to this point, it’ll be like glass in your eyes to find that he not only looks like Leon Kennedy’s personal shopper under that famous mask, but he also seems to have gone soft on the whole ‘ninja’ thing.

Okay, so the story wants to delve into Ryu’s humanity and explore his vulnerability. Fine. The opening London level lifts your spirits with an unexpected mixture of Edgar Allan Poe gloom and Eastern blood-opera action.

For a while, all’s well in London town. Ryu swoops down on his prey (from the top of Big Ben, of all places) and you enjoy the apparent depth of his combat: blocking, sliding, jumping and throwing shurikens like a boss – Ryu’s moves are all intact.

The health system works differently, though – a ‘Ninpo’ bar fills up with every kill and replenishes your health when you activate it. But the pacing’s slightly off: previously it was all about anticipating enemies, and that’s rewarded less here since you’re so often facing multiple ranged attacks as well as ten or more melee partners. It’s like the restaurant scene from Kill Bill, played out using two buttons.