Here it is my friends, the journeys end, the swansong, the end of one man’s journey through three of the most insane and stressful games he has ever played. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge has somehow broken my heart and made me fall in love with Ryu Hayabusa all over again. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge tries to be so many different things all at once. However, it doesn’t really pull any of it off which is a shame.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge begins when Ryu is called by the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) to deal with a terrorist group that has attacked London and has asked for Ryu by name. This group is led by a mysterious alchemist, the Regent of the Mask.
After fighting and beating the alchemist at the Prime Minister’s residence in London, he curses Ryu’s right arm with the Grip of Murder which causes the Dragon Sword to be absorbed into Ryu’s arm. The Regent demands the immediate surrender by the nations of the world in seven days, or face annihilation, this sets up the game’s seven-chapter setup.
Ryu travels to various locations trying to stop the now named Lords of Alchemy (LOA) with the help of JSDF member Mizuki McCloud who is the new Sonia in this game. She is not alone as we meet her daughter Canna and her brother in law Cliff Higgins who works for the JSDF as well. While the plot does bring enemies from the first two games in gun/rocket-firing soldiers and the returning Spider Clan, it just felt messy in parts.
Add in some demons from Sigma 2 and the new LOA clone mutants and it’s a shit show, unfortunately. The stories locations are new and big but also very familiar, it’s really like they reskinned some of the old levels with a tweak here or there which didn’t really add anything to the game.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge – This all seems very familiar
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge doesn’t really know what it is. There are so many new elements in the game it’s like they hated the last two games. Gone are the blacksmith shrines that updated your weapons, the items are also gone. The Dragon Shrine save points have also been replaced by a falcon that swoops down onto your arm at various points in the level and restores all of your health.
Not all the changes are bad though, you do get a high tech bow and all projectile weapons have infinite ammo. Also, the new abilities interface is all high tech looking and easy to navigate when you are looking to buy an attack with all that Karma you have massed killing poor soldiers. There is also the kunai climbing and gliding and sliding abilities that help you reach places, stealth kill enemies and makes Ryu look like a badass.
Talking about Ryu being a badass the Steel on Bone ability is crazy. When your power gage hits full your cursed arm glows red and you slice through as many enemies as you can in a nearby radius, hacking off arms, legs and heads in the process. It’s a thing of beauty.
The Evolution and Devolution of Ninja Gaiden
For all the great action, bosses and new enemies it just feels like it’s been done before and better. The best example is it’s like the developers saw games like Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil. Don’t get me wrong it all looks all shiny and cool but it has taken what I really loved about the last two games. I am talking about all the ninja lore and mysticism. It’s just been cast aside. I know the first game had loads of these up to date elements but the game was rooted in the ninja world. This is also true about the second game which leaned a lot more on mysticism.
Over the last three games, I have seen the evolution of not only the gameplay but of the characters too. In my last review of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, I sang the praises of the developers for making such strong and kick-ass female characters.
In Razor’s Edge, there are female characters like Momiji, Ayane and the new girl in town Mizuki McCloud. They have only a bit part to play. Ayane gets a few levels as well as a subplot of her own this time out. It set the story as a whole back in my eyes and serves the characters a disservice.
Dec’s final thoughts on the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection
Now that my Ninja Gaiden journey is over it’s time for my final thoughts on this collection. Each game brings something different to the table, for good or for bad. The characters grow on you and you just want to see more and more of them.
These games have given me some of the most intense battles I have had in all of my gaming life and I am both sad and relieved that it’s over. Ryu Hayabusa is an amazing, moody, kick-ass protagonist and I enjoyed using him as my weapon of destruction throughout. Go buy this collection now. Also if you’re interested read my Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Sigma 2 reviews to give you further insight.