Review: Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge

New console releases are often littered with re-releases and if gamers are lucky, they have been reworked with the new console in mind.  At launch the Wii U had Batman: Arkham City - Armoured Edition, Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition and Mass Effect 3: Special Edition and now, shortly afterwards, Team Ninja has released Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.

This remastered version of the PS3 and 360 title released last year is a boon to Wii U owners and a harsh reminder, to whomever bought it, that the original version was flawed.  Rather than making minor tweaks to justify re-releasing the game, Team Ninja appears to have addressed most of the criticism levied against the original version to make the Razor's Edge the best possible version.

Anyone who has not played the previous games, or has little knowledge of the franchise, will be thrown into the deep end.  The game starts with returning protagonist Ryu Hayabasu being paid a visit by the Japanese Self-Defense Force (and of course, all the Japanese people speak with perfect American accents), who request him to go take care of some terrorists that have taken over Downing Street, London (leading to mental images of David Cameron sat in a corner of his room cuddling up with Larry, even if the game features a fictional Prime Minister).

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's EdgeTruthfully, the story bears little purpose other than to provide backdrops and semi-related reasons for the action.  Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge remains true to the series’ heritage, offering up copious amounts of violence and lightning-fast action.  Shortly after the game starts you are faced with a boss that will certainly weed out those that are serious and those that aren’t; if you don’t quit at this point you probably won’t throughout the game, although your determination, if not patience, will certainly be tested regularly.

A title such as Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge can be easily brushed off as a button-basher, requiring nothing more than furied fingers and fortuity.  This is perhaps true for an early portion of the game, but in order to progress you must dig beneath the surface and master combos, upgrades and the plethora of deadly weapons at your disposal.

Of course, part of the appeal of the Ninja Gaiden series is the justification of the adult rating it receives.  Enemies are slashed into pieces, with blood gushing out in a Krakatoa-like manner.  There is something oddly satisfying about not only defeating an enemy, but also ripping them to pieces as you do so.  Your foes also are prone to cursing, in fact their vocabulary seems to be limited to the f-word, meaning this is definitely not one for the younger audiences.

Speaking of your enemies, while they certainly provide a challenge at times it feels like they are challenging for the sake of being so, rather than because they are actually intelligent.  The series is notoriously difficult, but quite often you can end up feeling like you are being held back intentionally, rather than due to a lack of skill on your part.

As you progress throughout Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge you obtain new weapons and ninpo (which are magical spells, essentially), many of which are exclusive to Razor’s Edge.  Upgrading to bigger and better weapons is essential to destroy the onslaught of opponents that you face, adding a RPG element to the title.

Three multiplayer modes provide a break from the main game, allowing you to try and slash up others online to prove your skills.  The modes include challenges and a straight-out battle, each providing an amply enjoyable experience.  Your best results can be uploaded online, for all the world to see just how deadly your dexterous digits are.

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's EdgeThe title can be played with the GamePad or the Pro Controller, with the latter being the preferable option due to the frantic nature of the gameplay.  While the GamePad may put some information right in front of you to make the experience easier, this benefit is outweighed by the Pro Controller’s design and longer battery life.  

Team Ninja has taken on board the barrage of criticism Ninja Gaiden 3 received and has fine-tuned the storytelling, amped up the bosses and added a number of changes that make Razor’s Edge the ‘definitive version’.  One of the additions comes in the form of missions where you play as Dead or Alive’s Ayane.  In all honesty, it does not add much to the title but it does provide a refreshing break thanks to her nimbler movements

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge looks good for a game on a Nintendo console, although when it gets compared to other consoles some of the sheen starts to fade.  However, it is still early days for the Wii U and as is well known, developers learn over time how to push a console.  Being able to push 60 frames per second most of the time provides a promising future, particularly when it comes to a fast-paced game such as this.

There are no great surprises in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.  It is as frantic, fierce and furiously difficult as previous versions have been.  It is one of a number of adult titles available in the Wii U's launch period, which is a good sign of things to come, although hopefully developers will start creating ones designed with the console in mind, rather than porting them over.

Ultimately, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge can equally be described as both a button-bashing bloodbath and a caustic challenge.  It all depends on how you want to play it.


N-Europe Final Verdict

Violent and challenging, but at times the challenge may make you want to throw the controller and give up. You can try and master Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, but most people will probably just button bash their way through while they watch enemies burst into a bloody mess.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Maintains 60fps most of the time
Lots of improvements over the original
Fun, mindless violence


Can be frustrating
Enemies feel like they're just there to be slaughtered

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