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E3 2011: Ninja Gaiden 3 First Impressions

Feature; Jun. 8, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
Subtypes: Opinion, Preview
Kyle plays a level from Ninja Gaiden 3 and gives his impressions
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Ninja Gaiden 3 was like previous Ninja Gaiden titles going at warp speed. The game -- more specifically, the combat -- felt like it was faster, more fluid and more violent than previous titles.

In the demo, Ryu is tasked with taking down a terrorist attack on London. As the level started, it was clearly noticeable that the game still looks gorgeous, sporting realistic environments and highly detailed characters. One new game play move was Ryu's ability to dodge enemy attacks. No longer is jumping and zipping around through the air an evasive move; now you dodge by sliding on the ground. At first, I was disappointed with this change, but the more I played, the more I got used to the move. It was actually useful to be so close to the ground to dodge attacks and to quickly get behind enemies without taking hits in the air.

When fighting enemies, the standard light and heavy attacks were present alongside projectile weapons. If enemies happened to come up behind you and attempt close quarters, a QTE appears where you wiggle the stick and press the attack button to counter them or take them out. The camera would often cut in close when fighting enemies one-on-one, giving a much more intimate and visceral combat experience. For a game known for brutality, the violence was taken up a notch.

The rest of the level had a stealth sequence in which Ryu would sneak through the thick London fog and take out enemies from behind. This sequence was a nice change of pace from the constant combat. The demo ended with a boss battle against a giant robotic spider. Fighting the boss was extremely satisfying when I was sliding out of enemy fire and taking out the individual legs.

If there is one flaw in the demo, it's that Ryu is a little sluggish when running and taking on a large group of enemies. Also, the camera would occasionally go wonky when fighting enemies up close, zooming out again and leaving the player disoriented as to where they were in relation to the enemies.

Overall, Ninja Gaiden 3 was a ton of fun to play. The combat was violent and fast-paced, more so than in previous titles. If the movement and camera can be cleaned up before the launch (early 2012), Ninja Gaiden 3 should be a slick and fast-paced action game.


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