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Developer(s) Team Ninja
Publisher(s) PS3 & 360
  • WW: Tecmo Koei
Wii U
Director(s) Fumihiko Yasuda
Yosuke Hayashi
Writer(s) Masato Kato[1]
Composer(s) Takumi Saito
Ryo Koike
Hiroaki Takahashi
Series Ninja Gaiden
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Wii U
Genre(s) Action-adventurehack and slash
Mode(s) Single-playermultiplayer


Ninja Gaiden 3 is an action-adventure video game developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo Koei. It is the sequel to Ninja Gaiden II and was released worldwide for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 in March 2012. An updated version titled Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge was released later that year, originally published by Nintendo for the Wii U.[3]

The game is the first in the modern series to be directed by someone other than Tomonobu Itagaki, the former franchise director. In his place are Fumihiko Yasuda and Yosuke Hayashi.


Ninja Gaiden 3 features new mechanics and changes. Such new features include "Steel on Bone", a new visual cinematic trick which allows players to cut through the body during a slow-motion sequence.[4] The new Kunai Climb involves Ryu climbing onto certain walls with the use of his kunai, which he can use to attack enemies from above. In other situations the player has to be stealthy, as Ryu can now sneak up on an enemy and kill him with a single strike. Enemies speak while fighting and do not die quickly, and they suffer and scream in pain when injured. They are no longer decapitated or dismembered, instead they just bleed and weaken.

Some changes include the slide maneuver, which replaces the Reverse Wind Technique from the previous games. Ryu uses it to get through small passages as well as to attack enemies. The Ultimate Technique concept has slightly changed in the form of Ryu's cursed right arm known as the Grip of the Murder. When he kills a specific number of enemies his arm glows red. Then, the player can charge up for an ultimate attack that is fueled by absorbing nearby fallen bodies instead of essence.

Unlike past games, the HUD appears only when Ryu is engaged in battle, then fades out later. The Muramasa store is no longer present; Ryu gets different swords over the course of the game. He also has access to his shuriken and a high-tech bow; arrows for the bow are also improved as the game progresses. Both projectile weapons have infinite ammo. Items are virtually non-existent. The Dragon Statues that allowed Ryu to save and heal are replaced by a scripted Falcon who swoops down to Ryu's hand and saves at specific points in the level, restoring his health to full as well.

The Ninpo concept has been revamped. In the single-player mode, Ryu has access to only one Ninpo that transforms him into a giant dragon of fire. To activate it, the player must first defeat enemies to fill up a bar beneath the healthbar. Once it is full, the player can activate the Ninpo and kill all onscreen enemies at once, restoring Ryu's life in the process. The amount of health gained depends on how many enemies were left when the Ninpo was cast. In the multiplayer modes (both co-op and competitive), there are other Ninpo available, such as the Art of the Piercing Void.

The PlayStation 3 version of Ninja Gaiden 3 has an optional control scheme for the use of the PlayStation Move. This is to give players "a new visceral edge when battling and slicing through their enemy's flesh and bone."[5]


The plot begins when Ryu is called upon by the Japanese Self-Defense Force to deal with a terrorist group led by the mysterious alchemist, the Regent of the Mask, who personally wanted the Dragon Ninja to come. Upon encountering the alchemist in London, he curses Ryu's right arm with the Grip of Murder which thrives on all the lives Ryu has taken, causing the Dragon Sword to be absorbed into Ryu's arm. After escaping the Prime Minister's mansion when it was destroyed by an incoming missile, Ryu returns to the JSDF Yunagi. There, he and JSDF member Mizuki McCloud watch as the Regent demands the immediate surrender by the nations of the world in seven days, or face annihilation.

After the Yunagi intercepts a signal coming from the Rub' al Khali desert, Ryu departs there with Mizuki and is visited by Ayane, who delivers to Ryu the Tenshin clan's treasured Jinran-Maru sword, at Hayate's request. Fighting past hired killers and desert assassins, Ryu makes his way to a tower in the desert, where he meets the Regent of the Mask once again. The Regent reveals to him that the affliction of the Grip of Murder used the Dragon Sword as a medium for the curse, then broke its structure down and transmutated it into Ryu's arm, and reveals that without treatment, the curse will rot his arm from the inside out and spread throughout his body, killing him. Ryu attacks but discovers that the Regent is a mirage, and battles an armed helicopter. Ryu returns to the Yunagi, where he meets Mizuki's daughter Canna and Cliff Higgins, Mizuki's brother-in-law. Cliff reveals that the group they were fighting are called the Lords of Alchemy (LOA). Ryu departs for Abismo Island.

At the island Ryu lays waste to all the assassins sent to kill him, all the while fighting off the effects of the curse. Soon Ryu would face the Regent again, and defeats the clone of a Gigantosaurus created by him. However, Ryu discovers that Mizuki has been captured. To save her, Hayabusa feigns surrender and in a surprise move, kills the guards holding her, only for Mizuki to knock him unconscious with a tranquilizer gun.

Ryu awakens in a VR simulator, where he meets the alluring and sinister Lovelace. She demonstrates that in the simulator he can be hurt or killed, and Ryu is forced to go through with the simulation, taking him to places from his past, from the blimp to Vigoor, to the Sky City in Tokyo, to the Prime Minister's residence, where he squared off with a virtual Regent of the Mask. After escaping, Ryu fights his way through the LOA guards. Eventually he finds Canna and escapes with her to find her mother. They find Mizuki, held captive by the Regent. After the reunion, the Regent ruthlessly pushes Lovelace into a prototype God's Egg, and Ryu is forced to fight a mutated version of Lovelace. After defeating her altered form, Ryu escapes with Canna and Mizuki, only to be arrested by the US military. The two are reprimanded by Captain Heinlern for their actions and are ordered to cease their operation immediately. Ryu travels via helicopter back to Hayabusa Village to find out how to remove the curse.

First, Ryu revisits Genshin's grave where he placed the Blade of the Archfiend at the end of Ninja Gaiden II. He takes the blade and travels back to Hayabusa Village, fighting hordes of vengeful Black Spider Ninja until the Grip of Murder begins to take its toll on him, causing him to lose consciousness. He awakens in the clan leader's residence, nursed to health by the Dragon Shrine Maiden, Momiji. Ryu and Momiji travel to the hermitage where his father Joe Hayabusa lives. On the way, they are attacked by the Black Spider Ninja as well as the Black Spider Clan sorceress Obaba, who somehow came back to life. After the battle, they make their way to Joe's house. Joe tells Ryu that the curse is karmic retribution for all the deeds committed by the Dragon Ninja Clan over the generations. Ryu then heads back to the Yunagi.

On the Yunagi, Ryu is sent on an operation to Antarctica with Cliff requesting that he should be Ryu's backup. After defeating numerous foes there including an evil version of himself called the Epigonos, the Grip of Murder begins to activate. Cliff reveals himself as a member of the LOA, along with his grandfather Ashtear Higgins, the Chairman of LOA. Ashtear reveals that Cliff is the head of LOA's R n' D and that he has plans for Canna. Soon after, Ryu attempts to chase down Cliff and Ashtear, but is left behind when he is knocked off their jet. Cliff tells Ryu that he would meet him on the Black Narwhal, a mysterious fleet thought to have been dismantled. Ryu is picked up by Ken Ishigami from the JSDF and transported to a UN vessel, where he is told that Canna is missing.

Ryu and Mizuki fly over the Black Narwhal, and Ryu jumps off and proceeds to take down the escort ships before landing on the main ship itself. There he faces off with Ashtear and defeats him. Ryu learns of his plans for Canna just before killing him, and proceeds to search for her inside the ship. Eventually he would come face to face with the Regent of the Mask, watching as Canna is fused with the Egg of a God. Ryu defeats the Regent and is shocked to see that the man is actually Canna's father, Theodore Higgins, who was thought to be dead. Cliff appears and revealed that he killed his brother when he tried to stop his plan, but for the purpose of him dying at Ryu's hand, he brought him back from the dead, and erased his memories, while controlling him through an AI unit in the mask. Canna sees this and calls Ryu a murderer, merging with the Egg to become the Goddess, wielding the Dragon Sword as the Black Narwhal sinks into the ocean.

Ryu, Mizuki and Ishigami pursue the Goddess to Tokyo where she left a trail of destruction. Ryu and Mizuki are attacked by Cliff, who has transformed into a mutant creature. Ryu and Mizuki are about to be killed when Theodore appears and kills Cliff, his memories fully restored. Ryu and Theodore continue their pursuit of the Goddess, but when they are about to reach her, Theodore suddenly betrays Ryu, stating that the Blade of the Archfiend Ryu uses will kill Canna indiscriminately as it is an evil blade. The two men battle for the final time. After Ryu kills him with the Blade of the Archfiend, Theodore chants an incantation and the curse on Ryu is removed. Ryu realizes that Theodore wants to die as atonement.

Ryu confronts the Goddess. As the battle reaches its climax, the Blade of the Archfiend and the Goddess' giant Dragon Sword are broken to their hilts. Ryu's original Dragon Sword returns to him and he cuts the Goddess in half, killing it. Canna falls into Ryu's arms, safe and alive. Ryu leaves her in a safe area for Mizuki to find her. With his duty complete, he departs into the sunrise.


Ninja Gaiden 3 exposition at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011

The game was announced at a closed-door event at the Tokyo Game Show 2010, with only one image shown.[6] A teaser poster depicting a blood ridden Ryu pulling on his mask was released thereafter. The head of Team Ninja, Yosuke Hayashi said: “He seems to be doing something with right hand. Also, there’s something not normal about this hand. It’s covered in blood, but there’s something unnatural regarding the blood.” Hayashi later gave more details: "Ryu is unmasking himself, and it's a way of attracting people to his world. We are trying to have people enter the real Ryu Hayabusa. The amount of blood doesn't revolve around the idea of killing people, either; it could also be Ryu's blood. We're focusing not only on cutting people but also Ryu himself."[7]

The development team did not include an ability to dismember limbs, which was a key graphical element of the previous modern games. A Team Ninja staff member stated that "people do not want to see that anymore" and so they had removed it from the game.[8] At Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011, it was revealed that the game features competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes with one or both modes supporting up to eight players.

The game's story was written by Masato Kato, who wrote the plotline and designed graphics for the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Hayashi mentioned that characters from the NES series would appear.[1] Robert, a notable character from Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, makes a cameo as a pilot who helps Ryu jump onto another jet.[9]


A demo of the fighting game Dead or Alive 5, packaged with Ninja Gaiden 3, features Ryu Hayabusa, Ayane, Hayate and Hitomi. The Xbox 360 version of the demo allows the use of Hayabusa and Hitomi, while the PlayStation 3 version makes Hayate and Ayane playable.[10] The collector's edition of Ninja Gaiden 3 makes all four characters playable.[11]A new statuette of Ryu battling one of the game's bosses was released by Koei Tecmo Wave[12] and included with Ninja Gaiden 3 Collector's Edition available at GameStop and EB Games in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, along with an art book, soundtrack CD, and a premium code for the full Dead or Alive 5 demo.[13]

Three downloadable content packs were released throughout April 2012. They contain new weapons (Falcon's Talons and Eclipse Scythe), armor and headgear customization items. Furthermore, new "Ninja Trials" minigames were released.[14]

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge[edit]

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is a 2012 action-adventure video game developed by Team Ninja and originally published by Nintendo for the Wii U and subsequently released by Tecmo Koei for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. It is an enhanced port of Ninja Gaiden 3 that includes all downloadable content from the original title, as well as additional enhancements made to improve the game. The game can be considered an equivalent to the Ninja Gaiden Sigma games, as it enhances the original title.

A promotional screenshot showing the cooperative gameplay mode with Ayane

The players can now use the Wii U GamePad's unique touchscreen to select different weapons, perform Ninpo, view additional game information and more. Decapitation and dismemberment from previous titles return, and an optional mode with touchscreen controls similar to that of Dragon Sword is available. Many gameplay elements from Ninja Gaiden 2 were borrowed and implemented in Razor's Edge, while some elements from the original Ninja Gaiden 3 were discarded or completely remade, such as Steel on Bone being a grab counter chain and no longer requiring button spam, and the Kunai Climbing being much faster and easier to perform. Many other gameplay mechanics from Ninja Gaiden II were implemented in Razor's Edge.

Additional features include new exclusive weapons such as the Lunar Staff, Kusarigama and Dual Katanas, improved AI, and new enemy types, new battle areas and alternative costumes. The "Karma Counter" from previous games was bought back, now with enhanced features and bonuses. An upgrade menu will be implemented, and will allow players to spend their Karma points to enhance their weapons, Ninpo spells, and character traits, such as health bar length and special moves.

The game features online cooperative gameplay mode, with new playable characters, such as the female ninja Ayane, was revealed in a preview of the game at the Nintendo of America Wii U press conference in New York. She has her own set of moves, similar to her Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 iteration, with additional cutscenes produced for her added role. A new Chapter Challenge mode allows the player to control Ayane, as well additional DLC characters, Kasumi and Momiji, in any part of the game.[15][16]

The game was announced at E3 2011 as a launch title for the Wii U.[17] Outside Japan, Razor's Edge was published by Nintendo, making it the company's third title to be rated M by the ESRB after previous titles Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem and Geist. It is the first game to receive an R18+ classification in Australia after the rating was introduced in the country,[18] albeit it did not get a physical retail release. Downloadable content includes both Kasumi (from the Dead or Alive series) and Momiji as playable characters, available for free.[19] On February 6, 2013, Tecmo Koei Europe announced the game would be released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[20]


Aggregate scores
GameRankings (X360) 55.00%[21]
(PS3) 54.27%[22]
Metacritic (X360) 58/100[23]
(PS3) 58/100[24]
Review scores
CVG 8/10[25]
G4 2/5[26]
GameSpot 5.5/10[27]
Giant Bomb 2/5 stars[28]
IGN 3/10[29]
OPM (UK) 7/10[30]
OXM (US) 8/10[31]

Ninja Gaiden 3 was met with generally mixed reviews, with most criticism aimed at the game being too streamlined. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 55.00% and 58/100[21][23] respectively and the PlayStation 3 version 54.27% and 58/100 respectively.[22][24]

Some of the reviews were fairly positive. Official Xbox Magazine gave it an 8 out of 10, praising the combat and graphics, but criticizing the streamlined approach and the ending.[31] The Official PlayStation Magazine UK gave it a 7 out of 10, saying "it's largely fun even if it doesn’t quite deliver on its grand objectives."[30] Computer and Video Games rated the game 8/10, even as "the hardcore [gamers], who previously gritted teeth and suffered through the punishment are unlikely to forgive the myriad concessions to the wider audience."[25]

On the other hand, GameSpot gave the game a 5.5 out of 10 rating, calling it "a shallow action game with little of the series' challenge and depth."[27] IGN gave the game a 3 out of 10, calling it "a technical disaster."[29]

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge received a more positive reception than its predecessor, but overall was still largely mixed or average. An early version of the game was well received by Mitch Dyer of IGN, who wrote that it makes "massive strides toward becoming the game Team Ninja clearly wishes it was on 360 and PS3 earlier this year. [Yosuke] Hayashi and his team clearly took the negative criticism and hardcore fan backlash to heart – and they deserve a second chance."[32] IGN's review by Ryan McCaffrey stated "it’s fantastic to see this kind of hardcore gamer’s game on a Nintendo console – and at the Wii U’s launch, no less – and you can forget much of what you may have heard about the original release of this game."[29] On the other hand, Kevin VanOrd from GameSpot wrote: "It's harder and more varied than its original release, but Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge doesn't reach the greatness of its forebears."[33] Likewise, Eurogamer's Martin Robinson wrote: "This is a better game than Ninja Gaiden 3, and one that does commendable things in atoning for Team Ninja's past sins - but sadly it's far from a brilliant one."[34] Jim Sterling from Destructoid gave it 5.5 out of 10, writing: "Nothing this Wii U release does can improve upon the core gameplay, which remains as dry, disaffected, and banausic as ever before. Razor's Edge gives us more, but when the original serving exceeded that which the player could stomach, 'more' isn't a very tasty prospect."[35]


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