E3 2011: Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3) Preview
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 06.09.2011
Hands On: Ryu Hayabusa is back in a new adventure that looks to be bloodier than ever. 411's Jeffrey Harris checks in with his exclusive preview of Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden 3.
For my very first ever E3 I previewed Ninja Gaiden 2 Sigma for the PS3. So I felt right at home getting a crack at Team Ninja's latest installment of the Ninja Gaiden franchise at my third year at the expo especially being an insane fan of Ninja Gaiden. From the moment I entered the Tecmo/Koei booth I could tell things were really different this time. Ninja Gaiden 3 promises to be a more story driven and intense story following the game's hero, Ryu Hayabusa. It looks like Ryu Hayabusa will be the only playable character this time around according to the developers so apparently Rachel and Ayane who were playable characters in NG2: Sigma.
The demo starts with a cut scene of some special agents of the Japanese government visiting the Hayabusa clan's residence and in a rare moment we see Ryu without his traditional ninja battle garb instead opting for some traditional Japanese clothing. The agents, one of which is a lady by he name of Mizuki (and I can only assume a woman that will again want to marry Ryu by the end of the game) inform Ryu that a group of terrorists have attacked London. What is odd is though that the Japanese government received a video from the terrorists demanding Ryu Hayabusa be delivered. And so Ryu is on the case.
And so Ryu goes to London. The city is beautifully rendered as you get to see Ryu flitting around by Big Ben and the London Eye which is cool. I always like it better when Ryu is working in actual city environments and real-life landmarks. The graphics and art style have definitely been amped up from the previous games. The characters and environments have even more textures and detail. Ryu can now glide and dive kill his enemies from high structures which is tight. Ryu must fight his way through some heavily armed terrorists and thugs who are British and I can only assume guns for hire but we shall see. The combat in the game is much more involved and intense. The camera angles now use much heavier close-ups, but the controls are still liquid smooth and very responsive.
The combat has also now incorporated quicktime events. Now this might seem annoying to fans who are frustrated by the deluge of QTE's in game especially the horrendous ones we've seen as of late, but I think they work well here. I had a great time doing the QTE's in the combat and I don't feel it really hinders the combat at all. The action and fighting is also a lot bloodier than NGS2: Sigma. The impact is greater because Ryu is now fighting humans and not demonic entities that shed purple mist. I'm told by Tecmo/Koei this is also part of the story, how Ryu's violent life affects him. The gameplay has also incorporated stealth kills into Ryu's arsenal as he can now sneak up behind enemies for a stealth kill which makes sense because duh, ninja. This is a very welcome addition to the series. The action is very fast and kinetic and there are also points where Ryu has to move and slide under objects or structures.
Ryu fights his way through waves and waves of terrorists. Some with knives, some with rocket launchers, and some with some heavier weapons and even shields that are harder to defeat. At one point your area is completely filled with dust, so you have to use your shoulder button to point you and lead you in the right direction. The camera angles get really close-up as audiences will want to use the cover to attack you. The combat as a whole just comes off a whole lot more cinematic. You might notice in the pictures that Ryu has a strange patterned scar on his arm. Ryu has been infected with some sort of curse. This curse also plays into how Ryu fights. At one point Ryu's cursed arm will glow red and you can push a button and unleash the cursed energy on your foes in an awesome display of sword slashing, blood, and violence.
The demo ends with a boss battle against a spider-like robot drone. The drone's weakness is in its legs which Ryu needs to hack up, but the drone also has powerful machine guns, EMP, and missile attacks. Once you take out a certain number of legs, the core of the robot is exposed and Ryu can take it out. And thus ends the demo.
The game will have online co-op and competitive multiplayer. Though I'm not sure what the extent of the competitive multiplayer will be and if it will have additional characters. It should be interesting considering I was told that the female characters weren't in it. Ninja Gaiden 3 is due out in 2012 and will be on the Xbox 360 and PS3.