When Ninja Gaiden 3 released back in 2012 it was met with some very harsh criticism, the game was not up to par with what Ninja Gaiden fans were used to seeing out of Team Ninja. To the team’s credit, instead of just moving on they began to take feedback from the community. They pinpointed multiple issues from the original release and began working on an updated version of the game, a version that came to fruition in Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge.
Razor’s Edge came out on Nintendo Wii U in late 2012 so we’re a bit late to the party for that version, but the re-release debuted on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 just recently for fans of the series on those platforms. The marketing boasts that Razor’s Edge features multiple upgrades and additions, along with containing the main DLC from the original release. After playing through the game’s six to six and a half hour campaign I can definitively say that Team Ninja fixed a lot of what plagued the initial game and have added back what Gaiden fans love about the series. It’s not perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what was first put out.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing the main beats of the story as it is largely the same as the original release. It follows series protagonist Ryu Hayabusa as he deals with a curse put on him by the story’s masked antagonist combining the Dragon Sword into his own arm. The curse is slowly killing Ryu as he works to figure out why a terrorist cult called the “Lords of Alchemy” are attempting to create a real-life god to rule the world. One major difference in Razor’s Edge is that Ryu’s ally Ayane gets her own two missions dropped into the story mix. Ayane is investigating the Spider clan. Her missions aren’t much for story but she is a great character and is fun to play overall. The story in Razor’s Edge is fine. It’s nothing spectacular, but I didn’t find it as bad as some of the other Team Ninja games either. The characters shine in Ninja Gaiden and it’s no different here.
The updated gameplay-altering features for Razor’s Edge do wonders to enhance the enjoyment of the game. Team Ninja added multiple weapons and a points system that allows players to purchase upgraded health, weapon power, moves, and more. The enemy AI was also upgraded and seems to work a lot better overall. Enemies still aren’t crazy smart, but they at least move around a bit in a confrontation. The difficulty wasn’t changed too much, but the game is still exceptionally difficult. I’d recommend easy “hero” mode for most players that aren’t big into the franchise as it plays normally until you hit around 25% health at which point it dodges & blocks automatically.
My main issues with the game are those which were present in the initial release as well. There are some bad quick time events that are instant fail, including walls that you climb using the triggers that are hard to manage, especially when guys are shooting at you from the top or you are dodging falling debris. There are also times when you get stuck in a corner with multiple enemies stuck in animation loops, this can be frustrating. The visuals also aren’t that great either with cut-scenes looking fine but in-game visuals leaving a bit to be desired.
Overall Razor’s Edge is a monumental upgrade over the original release of Ninja Gaiden 3. Most of the show-stopper issues are fixed and the game now plays like it should have a year ago. For Gaiden fans I would highly recommend the game, and for those of you into action games following recently-released DmC I would suggest giving it a go as well, just play on easy/hero mode. The game is solid overall with a serviceable plot, if you like Ninja Gaiden or action games in general you’ll (finally) enjoy Ninja Gaiden 3, in Razor’s Edge.
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