E3 2011: Ninja Gaiden III Updated Hands-On Preview

Ryu battles past a robot spider tank and faces an enemy behind the whole raid in London.


Last night we got a chance to try out a small sample of Ninja Gaiden III at Sony's post-press event. Today we went to Tecmo Koei directly to get a second helping on the Xbox 360 that included a dessert with our meal. After the previous demo's spider tank boss was destroyed, the terrorist forces from before quickly bum-rushed us with reinforcements. The first few waves were nothing new from what we fought earlier, but soon the militants opted for rocket launchers and bigger numbers. Often the best tactic was to rely on our strongest and most brutal attacks, even if they lacked the grace of swifter combos.

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After dozens of fatigue-clad soldiers were dead, the heavily armored riot soldiers became the normal sight--often ganging up in mobs of four, with several of them staying afar to stun our ninja with machine-gun fire. Still, quick dodging and a strong set of counterattacks let us prevail. The enemy resorted to desperate measures and released smoke bombs to hinder the view. The foggy clouds could be navigated by a push of the analog stick, which would give Ryu a sixth sense, spinning the camera in the direction of our next objective. The camera would snap back after we released the stick, causing a slight but manageable amount of disorientation.

After escaping the pea soup, we climbed another set of walls with the aid of our twin kunais. Enemies were on the balcony above firing downing streams of bullets but were eliminated with a few choice ninja star tosses. There were a few more battles through sets of cronies, but finally we made it into the enemy stronghold. Here we moved down the dark and eerily quiet steps. Ryu noted the bloodstains adorning the walls and moved cautiously with blade drawn. In the building's den was a masked swordsman executing the last of the hostages. He soon pointed his blade at the dragon ninja.

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The fencer proved to be a wily one, able to dodge all strong attacks and escape even several fast swings. Nearly every connecting blow resulted in a clash of steel and a quick-time event to break free and riposte. After four of these tense encounters, Ryu Spartan kicked the enemy through the room's bay windows. The battle continued in the courtyard as more furious blows were exchanged. Just as the match seemed to deadlock, our ninja protagonist got in a final quick-time event that buried his blade into the masked man's left shoulder and down the right of his chest. The demo faded to black before we could find out if the swordsman survived or wound up missing his better half. We'll know his fate when Ninja Gaiden III is released in 2012.

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