When I say that Ninja Gaiden 3 kills just about any excitement I have for the future of the series going forward, that speaks alot about how truly disappointed I am as both a huge fan of the NG series and the action/adventure genre as a whole. To be honest, unlike alot of people, after hearing that Itagaki-san was not going to have any part in the creation of this entry in the series I wasn't too quick to damn the game. Because, I quite enjoyed the Sigma series and actually could not wait to see how this "new" Team Ninja was going to evolve the series. But my enthusiasm quickly disappeared as soon as I spent some time with the actual game.
The game starts out with enough promise, giving you a 1st person perspective of what it would be like to be on the receiving end of Ryu's sword(a la GOW3's Poseidon scene) and giving you some back story on how he ended up going on his mission. But, the game's short comings quickly become apparent as soon as you gain full control of Ryu. Though the combat is just as fast and frenetic as its predecessors at the same time it feels alot more shallow and uninspired.
Unlike Ninja Gaiden 1&2, where Ryu has a number of upgradeable weapons and ninpo, he's left with one non-upgradeable weapon and one ninpo, also non-upgradeable. And here in lays one of Ninja Gaiden 3's main problems, you aren't really given enough tools to play around with so you end up seeing the same animations and attacks play out in almost every single battle. A more diverse weapon/magic set would have made a world of difference in adding some much needed variety to the combat.
The other problem is the newly added feature dubbed "steel on bone" which is Ninja Gaiden 3's take on adding something new to the series. But, to be honest it's pretty much just a not-so very well implanted QTE mechanic. It adds nothing to the game and in some ways is a detriment to the combat. And in a "hack-n-slash" game, combat is king.
Now, lets talk about the story of the game. Though serviceable, the story itself is neither interesting nor noteworthy. According to the game's director, they really wanted to flesh out Ryu as a character and show his more human side. And in some respects they do manage to do just that but it still isn't enough to make me feel/care anything about the story. NG3 is pretty much the video game equivalent of a piece of [email protected] movie having a somewhat interesting main character, but it's still a POS(i.e The Chronicles of Riddick).
All in all, Ninja Gaiden 3 is an all around disappointing entry to an otherwise great franchise. Though the game tries to evolve its main character into something more than just a mindless killing machine, it loses way too much of what makes the series great, it's difficult to master gameplay and deep combat system.