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Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge (Wii U) Review

Review for Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor

Tecmo Koei got off to a very strong start on Wii U with the highly enjoyable Warriors Orochi 3: Hyper available at launch. The company's second offering came from its prolific Team Ninja internal group, tweaking its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hit Ninja Gaiden 3 specifically for Nintendo's new home console. Does Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge fix the problems many people had with the original version, though?

As well as including all of the download content from the original release, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge also has several tweaks to improve the overall quality of the gameplay in general, making this a fantastic version of Tecmo Koei's title, with the added advantage over the eventual PS3 and Xbox 360 ports that arrived not too long after release. Players take control of Ryu Hayabusa in a storyline that is not too strongly linked to the prequels, meaning jumping straight in without having played any others is not a major issue like, for instance, with Mass Effect 3: Special Edition. Basically, players can jump straight into the shoes of Hayabusa as he accepts a mission from Japan's Self-Defence Force and travels to London to get involved with a terrorist incident.

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

As well as Ryu's adventures, though, in Razor's Edge there is a separate storyline for his ally, Ayane, who has some unique missions that involve the return of the Black Spider Clan (co-operative play is also possible, using both characters). The game also explores Hayabusa's more human side as he suffers from a curse known as the "Grip of Murder," which influences his murders in the game, with rage building up at times. A mysterious alchemist cult rises, seeking to destroy the world and create a new world order with Ryu as the catalyst.

If ever there was a game to really put the GamePad to the test it was most definitely going to be Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, and it lives up to expectations. However, it becomes quite apparent that using a Wii U Pro Controller is probably a favourable option. The controls can be tweaked slightly to ease the potential hand-cramping but those accustomed to having to quickly input button combinations to fend off hordes of incessant foes will no doubt adapt and easily get used to the setup. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is a revamped, complete edition of the Ninja escapade that hit other console brethren and thumbs will hurt a lot after long periods of gameplay - if players are able to survive long enough, that is!

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

This is indeed the Ninja Gaiden that everyone knows and loves. No simplified effort here; it is fast-paced, fluid and brutal in all the right ways. Staying still in this game ends in death…fast, whilst dodging and attacking is the only way to clear out relentless foes, with this being done using a grand variety of different weapons, such as the Katana, Lunar Staff, Dual Katana and Bow. In terms of controls, Razor's Edge is not really the sort of game that shows off what the GamePad can do, so using the Wii U Pro Controller (which is very comfortable, thanks in part to its impressively-sized d-pad) might be preferred by most players. The game focuses on quick button presses to bring about Ryu's Hyabusa combination of hits and to slide around the map like a mad-man, dodging all manner of projectiles and enemies. Those without quick reactions need not apply…

After hitting a certain milestone in combat, players can unleash a fury move that pretty much levels the playing field of enemies, and is more often than not a saving grace for getting out of the tight situations that happen frequently. Outside of combat, Ryu is as acrobatic as would be expected, scaling walls á la Prince of Persia. He excels in generally being a badass, throwing around his shuriken with great aplomb, finding the many collectables and health elements along the way.

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The game pulls all of this off without a hitch; the controls are as tight as would be expected, on either controller. Like with most Third Party titles on Wii U, the visuals have taken a huge hit, though, with teams not quite managing to unlock the true power of the Nintendo system at the moment. All of the motions are there and everything flowed beautifully, to the point that players could hit a person so hard that their arms fly off in a bloody mess, but the textures and edges are in need of a considerable amount of refining. Edges are blurry and lack a healthy dose of anti-aliasing, and some of the visuals look a bit bland, though that could have been down to the desert setting, admittedly.

The GamePad can be used, for those intrigued to do so, mainly for choosing weapons, viewing game information, performing the Ninpo spells, and more. Most will end up sticking with the traditional format, though, as it feels much more natural. Especially with the improved AI making the experience tougher than ever - no mistakes can be made! Add in the intricately created locales and battle areas, the ability to upgrade certain aspects of Ryu over time as 'Karma points' are built up, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is a very solid experience indeed, and certainly one of the strongest releases on Wii U so far.

Screenshot for Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge on Wii U- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The range of moves on offer makes for an almost beat 'em up experience, with extremely high octane action coming thick and fast throughout. Whilst the GamePad may be more than suitable on the whole, a Wii U Pro Controller is preferable for those with smaller hands and anyone wanting closer control.

Graphics

Polished considerably to help look better than the original version of Ninja Gaiden 3, this updated version conveys a level of quality higher than most other Wii U launch games and still looks good over a year later.

Sound

Strong voice acting to deliver the intriguing story elements, complete with a highly impressive soundtrack that drives the action along perfectly.

Value

A range of difficulty levels to choose from, online co-operative play, and heaps of extra content included from the start make this great value for money, even for those that played the original Ninja Gaiden 3.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Fans of frantic action and beat 'em up style fighting will be overawed by how intense Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is. Any fears about the flawed Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3 original Ninja Gaiden 3 experience should be forgotten as this Wii U upgrade is all sorts of fun. Kudos to Tecmo Koei for delivering its second highly polished Wii U title in the launch window (after Warriors Orochi 3: Hyper), and a game that still holds its head up high today.

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09.01.2014

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Developer

Team Ninja

Publisher

Tecmo Koei

Genre

Brawler

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Why is this review up here now? Like.......why? Smilie

When in doubt....Whip it out!
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Old review I hadn't finished...but had some spare time today to tidy it up and finally get it online. You played the game? If so, what are your thoughts?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Ohhhh fair enough, that makes sense. I have played it on ps3 for a while but it was pretty horrid! Might check this version out now after reading your review! Cheers Smilie

When in doubt....Whip it out!
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Do you meant the original NGIII on PS3, or the port of Razor's Edge that appeared a few months after the Wii U version was released?

( Edited 11.01.2014 16:55 by Guest )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The original NG3. Smilie

When in doubt....Whip it out!
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Ah yes, that was quite a disaster!!! Smilie Razor's Edge is like a Director's Cut, but far improved in terms of balance and gameplay as well as just having extras added in Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Seemed okay to me when trying out the demo, but a wee bit too gory. Certain other aspects do make up for the sheer amount of blood, though!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Mike Morris (guest) 12.01.2014 09:37#8

I wouldn't quite rate this game at 8/10...  Though Tecmo has made changes to appease the fan backlash by including things of what made a Ninja Gaiden game what it was which were missing from the original NG3, I thought Hayashi tarnished his image by destroying a popular franchise.  Though I admit, the changes were welcome additions, and should've quieted some of the uproar by the die hard fans such as myself, the game just didn't measure up with the originals (NG1 and NG2).  It's hard to explain but if you play or had played NG2 on Xbox 360, you'll know what I mean. 

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