E3 2011: Ninja Gaiden 3 Hands-On Preview

We see London through Ryu's eyes in a hands-on demo for Ninja Gaiden 3.

It was loud at Sony's post-press conference E3 event. So loud that we couldn't tell what was going on during the introductory cutscene for Ninja Gaiden 3. But perhaps that's just fine. Team Ninja's high-energy action games have never been particularly heavy on story but have rather been focused on smoothly controlling, brutal action. However, they have never been about contextual quick-time events and stealth, though Ninja Gaiden III is bringing both of those mechanics to the series. It's too early to tell if the game will fare better or worse for these additions, but it's clear that this action game is, in some ways, what you would expect from a Ninja Gaiden game--and in other ways, it is surely not.

The opening of the demo showed Ryu looking down onto a city block from high above. A few onscreen words informed us that this is London before the game flashed back to a Japanese village--presumably the Hyabusa ninja village. A crashed helicopter in the village indicated sure trouble. But the scene didn't linger, and we returned to Ryu, who began the game by gliding down from his perch and assassinating a military guard beneath. The controls here were contextual, a definite departure for a series in which you generally wield full control over Ryu. A stealth kill followed soon after, in which you maneuver Ryu behind an unsuspecting foe and press a button to deliver a vicious kill. Another sequence then introduced the Kunai climb, in which you ascend walls one grasp at a time, with the shoulder buttons equating to your respective hands.

If none of this sounds particularly like Ninja Gaiden, never fear: The action that followed was typical for the series, involving lots of fluid hacking, slashing, and dashing. Our militant foes wielded blades and rocket launchers but were dispatched with a series of slick slices and dices. The camera was particularly cinematic, zooming in frequently to highlight the blood spurting everywhere. Later enemies included guards with riot shields, who were more easily taken down with Ryu's charge attack than with standard blows. The strongest attacks are somehow related to Ryu's apparently possessed right arm. As you kill more enemies, that arm begins to glow blood red. Once it does so, you can unleash a devastating, incredibly violent finishing blow. As we moved forward, a military vehicle barreled toward us, signaling a quick-time event in which we moved an analog stick and simultaneously pressed a button. Ryu then dramatically slid under the vehicle. This and another timed event evoked thoughts of another Ninja Game: 2009's Ninja Blade.

The demo ended with a boss fight versus a multi-armed robotic walker. It was easily defeated by slicing up its limbs, which triggered yet more quick-time button presses. These ripped the limbs off, before we ran up to its center and completed the fight with--you guessed it--another button press. Not quite the super-difficult boss fight you might have expected from Ninja Gaiden 3, but then again, this is clearly a new take on a beloved series. Yet, it still has the usual Ninja Gaiden sensibilities, including sterile but attractive environments and smooth controls. Will fans take to the more scripted elements? We'll find out in 2012 when Ninja Gaiden 3 lands on store shelves.

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Discussion

46 comments
pvt_richard
pvt_richard

a huge dissapointment to me ...they have taken some stuff from ninja blade and god of war....just bring itagaki back......

shaks101
shaks101

Add more videos gamespot, I do not want to read an essay!

naraku2099
naraku2099

I need a video! Are you working on this? D:

BenGenio
BenGenio

These are not exactly quick time events guys, if you notice in the video, you can slide under enemies as well not only under cars, it's a move unrelated to a specific event. All the on-screen buttons we saw in the video were more like, tutorials.

skullflower
skullflower

People need to get off of Itagaki's... Well, you know what. I thought the demo didn't look too bad at all. At least wait until we see the near final version of the game.

jimmy_from_mars
jimmy_from_mars

@LinkLuigi: Well said. A good challenge is the DNA of the series. It's not that the series is THAT hard (especially NG/NGB),It's just that gamers have become lazier over the years, being spoonfed all the time. They don't want to actually play WELL and work hard to achieve a goal. NG 2 was a bit flawed towards the end but I still maintain that ANY gamer can beat NG/NG:Black with hard work,patience and learning to play properly with dodges/counters/rolls/counterattacks, as it's MEANT to be played.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

I'm glad I've still got Devil May Cry 4. I hope to god they don't put this crap in DmC.

meharu
meharu

One word *facepalm* Just bring Itagaki back.

kenmanius
kenmanius

When Team Ninja said that the Ninja Gaiden games were getting outdated in terms of design, I didn't think that meant that they would incorporate the same gimmicks that have been in action games for over 10 years now. Shenmue on the Dreamcast first introduced the command prompts or QTE sequences. Seems like some Japanese companies feel they need to mimmick what has sold well for western game companies instead of building on what they had and improving it. Ninja Gaiden could have been better if they just tightened up and got ambitious with what's already there. Like you could perform an instant decapitation with a jumping horizontal slash if the blade actually connects at the neck when you land the strike. Or decaptiate 2 enemies who are close together with that same attack by jumping perfectly between them. The blade strikes the first target and then the second as the path of the sword comes around. Know what I'm sayin? Or be able to throw repeated shurikens with button taps as you wall run intead of just launching a hail of them while you fall off the wall. I don't know. Seems like there is more control to be had so you can really be tactical when engaging in combat without the game just being about memorizing combos and dodging enemy attacks.

Codigieken
Codigieken

Did they really just steal stuff from a game that stole stuff from them(Ninja Blade) lol

philcelica
philcelica

I really hope it's not as cheap as NG2... One of the few games I gave up on due to frustration....

freefadi
freefadi

I'm not too sure about this, maybe a gameplay video will do the trick. We'll just have to wait and see.

Grovilis
Grovilis

It's cool that they're adding a bit of stealth considering Ryu is a ninja and all.

NeoIostars
NeoIostars

A video or screenshots would've been nice... It's difficult to ooh-aah-ing along to text descriptions.

LinkLuigi
LinkLuigi

So help me this game better be hard. Like, very hard. Punch your baby in the stomach hard. I want to scream in fustrasion, throw my controller at the screen. That's how a inja Gaiden game should be.

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

@the_requiem Its water down to make it easier for people new to the series. But I will play it on hard since I like how challenging they are.

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

I just want to see Ryu start using real shuriken, those paper ninja stars he's been using in the last few games don't do any damage.

buft
buft

too many QTE will spoil the broth, moderation is the key here

the_punkface
the_punkface

If the steath is done well, im sure it'll be a fair addition for the sieries!

J-007
J-007

I like the deal so far, hopefully it will bring few more elements to complete the greatness this game series brings. I really enjoyed NGS2 although there was not much story behind it, hope it gets better for the audience gamers..

anubisxxx2002
anubisxxx2002

umm..whats the deal with ryu's arm i mean does he got the aids or something? i mean is this going to pull a shinobi where the sword drains your life bar? and whats with falcon being your save spot and health going back up what happened to the dragon save spot? and i noticed that they kinda went back to the nes somewhat method where ryu joins a ciaish group

countofhell4321
countofhell4321

I see that this game wont be all about QTE's. It will depend allways on the players style of fighting and skill level. QTE's appear only if the enemy is very low on health ( maybe ) and/or in special events. For those skill is not required. Imao this game will use some features from either ngs1 and ngs2. On higher difficulties everyone will use a higher range of weapons and mostly ultimate techniques i guess. So what is the problem with this game anyway ? Maybe im afraid a little, that this game has too low on number of the enemies, the enemies don't use projectiles too much as they in ngs2 did be4. That Boss seems to be OK. Anyway on the trailer that black girl was Momiji ?

jimmy_from_mars
jimmy_from_mars

@the_requiem: Also, I was hoping they make it an "Action Adventure" game like NGB instead of just a pure action game. Still, this BETTER be a challenging game or It's going to be bloody murder. I'm still eager for it as the action looks great enough.

the_requiem
the_requiem

@jimmy_from_mars: Very well said. Surprisingly [or sadly] devs failed to learn from success of Demon's Souls. They need to realize if I wanted to play God of War clone, I'll go play God of War. I play NG coz I want a hack-n-slash that ISN'T God Of War.

jimmy_from_mars
jimmy_from_mars

@the_requiem: Beacause angry Noobs who don't want to learn how to play it ,want everything simplified for them.All they do is whine and cry and since Team Ninja needs to appeal to a wider audience, it has to listen to them. I miss Itagaki and how Unapologetic he was about the difficulty of the previous games.

xXGANDORAXx
xXGANDORAXx

QTE? kunai climb?... reminds me of god of war

skullflower
skullflower

I'm liking the look of it, I have to admit. But of course, hopefully there isn't too much in the way of QTE's.

masi07
masi07

Why the QTE? Ninja Gaiden series is the best game of this genre and never needed gimmicks. Now sceptical about this game. Bring back Itagaki.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

This sounds very exciting and can't wait!

coolblackknight
coolblackknight

* Sigh *... Looks like Hayashi is fast on his way to ruining the 3D Gaiden franchise. Itagaki, I look forward to your Devil's Third game now for sure.

Legojake94
Legojake94

its like its not even ninja gaiden anymore =o

DrFidget2
DrFidget2

I'm actually fighting back tears. Why would they do this?

alfredooo
alfredooo

Watched the demo. Here's all I saw: QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE QTE wtf? why take the best hack and slash franchise out there and make it more like a crappy one aka ninja blade.

id_poke_him
id_poke_him

Adding stealth sections sounds fun, but I'm not big on the quicktime button press schtik.

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

The demo of this game was enough to make the fanboy in me drooling :P I would be happy if they implement actual dismemberment in the final version of the game.

Lirsumis
Lirsumis

This does not bode well.