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on 26 April 2017
Excellent game
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on 22 January 2013
The original Ninja Gaiden 3 was abysmal, by virtue of Team Ninja inexplicably removing all the features that had made the Ninja Gaiden series one of the pillars of action gaming. These included multiple weapons, an upgrade system, brutal dismemberment and a notoriously challenging difficulty level. As a longtime fan of the series since the original Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox, who had completed all the games up to Ninja Gaiden 3 on the Master Ninja difficulty, I was outraged that one of my all-time favourite gaming franchises had been massacred in such a manifest way in order to allegedly make the series more "accessible". Thankfully the cumulative voices of other outraged fans and myself were heard loud and clear at Team Ninja, and the result is the "Razor's Edge" edition of Ninja Gaiden 3 on the Wii U which reinstates all the core mechanics that had made Ninja Gaiden great in the past. It follows that Razor's Edge is also great, and without a doubt one of the best games on the Wii U at the moment, but sadly nevertheless falls short of the standard set by Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2. I will elucidate in more detail why Razor's Edge is great and why it nonetheless has shortcomings relative to previous titles below.

What Team Ninja have essentially done with Razor's Edge is replace Ninja Gaiden 3's simplified combat system with the excellent and nuanced combat system from Ninja Gaiden 2. The result is inevitably a double-edged sword. Anyone who has ever played Ninja Gaiden 2 (and if you haven't, you really should) is well aware of how visceral, violent and responsive the combat in that game feels. Razor's Edge now feels the same way, evoking the same sensations of malevolent joy from Ninja Gaiden 2 every time you "obliterate" a dismembered enemy just before he is about to unleash a damaging suicide attack upon you. On the other hand, Razor's Edge also feels overly familiar, given that the game's combat offers no significant progression upon Ninja Gaiden 2's but largely retreads the same ground as a "quick-fix" solution to the unsophisticated combat of the original Ninja Gaiden 3. The feeling of familiarity is reinforced by the fact that the weapons and ninpo (magic) you unlock in Razor's Edge are identical to the ones you unlock in Ninja Gaiden 2, rather than the game offering something new. Moreover, Razor's Edge recycles many of the same enemies from Ninja Gaiden 2 with the number of new enemies being surprisingly low. It is therefore hard to shake off the feeling that by playing Razor's Edge you are more or less playing Ninja Gaiden 2 again but in new environments, which is no bad thing except that it makes Razor's Edge feel more like an expansion pack or downloadable content to Ninja Gaiden 2 rather than a fully fledged sequel. Of course if you haven't played Ninja Gaiden 2, this sensation of deja-vu does not apply so prepare to be blown away by the fluid and barbaric combat of Razor's Edge.

However, even for long time Ninja Gaiden fans, Razor's Edge does offer one new and interesting gameplay mechanic not found in Ninja Gaiden 2. This is the "Steel on Bone" technique, which was a simple quick-time event in the original Ninja Gaiden 3 but in Razor's Edge acts as an immensely satisfying counter attack to enemy grabs. Basically any time an enemy or boss is about to grab the player they will glow red and yell out a cry. If you evade the grab and hit the strong attack button you will perform a Steel on Bone manoeuvre which results in the camera zooming in and showing you piercing the enemy with your weapon in a forceful manner before you rip them apart. This may sound similar to an obliteration technique but the Steel on Bone animation is a lot more visceral and gives the impression that Hayabusa (the protagonist) is really struggling to tear apart his adversary as steel clashes with flesh. What makes a Steel on Bone attack even more satisfying is the fact that it can be chained into multiple Steel on Bone attacks. All you have to do is press the strong attack button as Hayabusa finishes his first Steel on Bone attack and if there is another enemy in his vicinity Hayabusa will immediately launch a Steel on Bone on the adjacent enemy and so on if you continue pressing the strong attack button until all surrounding enemies are a pile of dismembered body parts on the floor. The revised Steel on Bone mechanic in Razor's Edge is really a fantastic new addition to the Ninja Gaiden series and a lot of your fun will be acquired through learning how to perform it correctly.

In addition to a better combat system, Razor's Edge also offers the opportunity to play as three female characters not found in the original Ninja Gaiden 3. They are Ayane, Momiji and Kasumi. The first two play as they did in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 with a few minor alterations to their move-set. Kasumi, on the other hand, is a brand new character never seen before in a Ninja Gaiden game and she is a lot of fun to play, being more athletic and nimble than even Ayane. She also has a neat move called the "Ukifune" which allows her to launch her enemy into the air mid-combo, DMC style. Razor's Edge furthermore features new "Ninja Trials" and Tests of Valour (the latter are now called "challenges"), which test the player's skill in small battle arenas with increasingly difficult enemy waves. Ninja Trials and Tests of Valour have always been the best part of the Ninja Gaiden games and this continues to be the case in Razor's Edge.

In light of the improvements Razor's Edge offers over the "vanilla" version of Ninja Gaiden 3, why does it still come up short in comparison with past Ninja Gaiden titles? As mentioned, one reason is its striking resemblance to Ninja Gaiden 2 outside of the Steel on Bone mechanic. But a more prominent reason is the frequent slow-downs which plague Razor's Edge and consequently suck a lot of enjoyment out of the title. Ninja Gaiden is known for being a super smooth 60 frames per second action series, so it is massively disappointing when the action slows down considerably in Razor's Edge whenever things get a little hectic on screen. It is simply unacceptable given the heritage of the series, especially when the slow-down results in your button inputs not being registered by the game and getting pummeled by the enemy as a result. The original Ninja Gaiden 3 also had slow-down but Razor's Edge takes it to another level. Other less frustrating, but still notable shortcomings in Razor's Edge include a substandard and generic soundtrack (apart from the title screen music) in a series which has always featured highly ambient music which pumps you up for the battles; rocket launcher enemies in seemingly every enemy encounter throughout the game which disrupt the flow of combat; fairly uninteresting boss battles outside the "Regent of the Mask" fights (helicopters and gunships always make for poor bosses); and less interesting environments to fight in compared to past titles (although London and Tokyo are nice). At least the generally mediocre boss fights can be mitigated by being able to fight the more intriguing bosses from previous titles in the Ninja Trials and challenges.

Razor's Edge, then, despite being a marked improvement over Ninja Gaiden 3 on the Xbox 360 and PS3 is nonetheless a weaker title compared to Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2. Despite this I would still recommend the game strongly to existing Ninja Gaiden fans and Wii U owners because the core combat remains more satisfying than any other action game, in my opinion, even if it is held back from its full potential by unfortunate drawbacks such as slow-down. And at the end of the day, for this type of game, a solid combat system, familiar or not, is all that matters. The lack of discussing the story of Razor's Edge in this review was therefore deliberate, because it is irrelevant.
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on 9 November 2014
I really enjoyed Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword (Nintendo DS) and I thought I would give this game a shot, when I saw a copy going cheap and I'm glad I did. The original Ninja Gaiden 3 on the PS3 and 360 was heavily criticised, for not being as good as the first two games. I'm happy to say that Team Ninja listened and fixed most of these short comings for the superior Wii U version. The boss fights are epic and Ryu has a fantastic selection of moves with cool combo's. The amount of blood which goes spraying everywehre as you deafeat your enemies, makes you feel a true hard as nails ninja.
The graphics are good, but the Wii U is capable of producing much better. I quite enjoyed the storyline and it was fun controlling the lovely looking female ninja's. My main criticism with Ninja Gaiden 3 is the enemies aren't as varied as the Bayonetta 2 - Special Edition (Nintendo Wii U) games and the set pieces aren't as epic as well.
I've had a couple of enjoyable battles online, which is easier to find people in the evening at weekends. Overall this is a enjoyable action game that could of benifitted from some simple puzzle solving, which would have helped mixed things up a bit with the fairly repetitive gameplay. If you can pick a copy cheap like myself, then you will have fun being a super tough ninja for sure.
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on 18 January 2013
This is a upgraded version of Ninja Gaiden 3, with more weapons, levels, and revamped, better gameplay. On top of the original game, you now have the ability to chop up limbs, heads, torsos, which results in buckets of blood being splashed all over the place, the amount of blood in this game is more than any of the previous Ninja Gaiden games, it's everywhere.

New weapons and nimpo magic, hidden skulls that open challenges, and scarabs to collect. And a new system where you buy upgradeded moves, costumes and other things for points you collect as you play the game. On top of the orginal levels from the PS3/360 versions you get 2 new levels for a new female character Ayane. And if your Wii U is online, you can download 2 more female characters to play the game , that come in the latest patch for the game.

Apart from the single player campaign which will last about 8 hours on normal, more on harder difficulty, you get ninja trials, which on Wii U is a whole bunch of stages where you face waves of enemies, their is at least 30, their may be more on Wii U. I don't know as I can't unlock them yet as they are pretty hard. You can also play co op online, but haven't tried it yet, but it's not co op campaign as far as I know.

The difficulty of this game has been ramped up from the PS3/360 versions even on normal you will die a lot, their is a easier mode but I haven't tried it,t here is also a few extra hard modes to unlock.

Graphically this game is very smooth most of the time, and looks great with all the blood and limbs flying all over the place. It looks a little rough around the edges due to lack of anti aliasing, but you won't notice it most of the time.

For me this game is all about fun, the story is cheesy and I don't care what it's about really, I play these games for the combat, and I find it very enjoyable, a big improvement over the vanilla versions of Ninja Gaiden 3. And there is quite a lot of content here with the extras for Wii U, if you want to complete all the challenges and find the hidden items and complete all the difficulty levels, it will take a while. Just be warned it's a pretty hard game.

I've only played it for one day, But at the moment I think it's one of the best Wii U games out at the moment. It's just very fast, fluid, violent and fun, what Ninja Gaiden should be. And you can also play it off the tv screen, on the Wii U controller screen, which is a nice bonus, just go to options and change it from there.
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on 26 February 2014
If you loved NG1 or 2 you will love this, its much like NG2 now (unlike the original NG3), so far there have been no cheap enemies who spam incendiary shruikens that you cannot avoid. (And i have been playing on hard from the get go). The story is ok, was never strong in NG series but that isn't the point, the point is the action and i love it.. There are so many combos I can not keep count of them, even scrolling through the list for one weapon is like holy hell.... takes forever to reach the bottom.

*Everything good that was about NG2 is improved, better and more fun and challenging.
*Everything NG3 was supposed to be, makes NG3 feel like a beta version.
*Cheap enemies present in NG2 and 1 do not exist, rocket launcher spammers die in 1 hit and less of them.

*No vigoorian flails, nunchucks, giant sword or tonfa's.
*Frame rate drops = bullet time mode/slow down because of no frame skip... (although somewhat helpful if you're in a bad situation xD)
*Dismemberments are a bit hard to see (obliteration kills) nevertheless very awesome to perform.
*Wish there were more perks
*Needs alternate weapons for ayane, although it is fine to be honest.
*Certain fiend-type mobs have way too much health and require ultimate technique spamming.
*No DLC to add anything like that :(

Final note: Although con's list is longer, pro's outweigh it, great addition to the NG series.
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on 28 October 2014
This title really shows why the Wii U is the best platform to own this generation. There's simply nothing bad to say about the game other than it's really really hard at times. :D Graphics are beautiful, music is atmospheric and very well produced and the action never stops and leaves you with a pulse count of 340 and sweaty hands. :) Buy this... you won't regret it... it'll be a ride of a lifetime.
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on 6 December 2014
An updated version of ninja gaiden 3, and a very good one at that.
everything is improved in razors edge;
added new optons for combat with new combos and weapons
3 new playable kunoichi heroines
improved storyline

Thanks to nintendo helping ninjateam redevelop this title it shed its shell of dissapointment and spread its wings of majesty.
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on 5 August 2014
What a game back to what you like in ninja gaiden ignore all the negative reviews. This is a great game plenty of gore and a good single player campaign. The whole game can be played on the game pad and it looks very good indeed.
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on 6 September 2015
This is by far the best version of this game, Nintendo revamped it they undid all the damage that the other Xbox ps3 version's suffered from,buy if your a fan but only get it on the Wii u,
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on 12 November 2013
A really good game with a superior combat system. This game deserve some attention at a cheap price.

Play from the first time on hard level.
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