Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 43
  2. Negative: 11 out of 43
  1. When it comes to action, Team Ninja pulls out all the stops. One moment you're jumping out of a C-130, ripping apart Apache helicopters, pile driving K9 bloodhounds into the concrete. The other, you're escaping an exploding lab, being chased by a T-Rex. [April 2012, p.68]
  2. Apr 14, 2012
    80
    Ninja Gaiden 3 abandons its predecessors completely and draws its own plan. This is an in-your-face spectacle, which is very accessible and lets players randomly hit buttons until their fingers go numb. Does that make this game bad? No. It does well enough on its own terms. But fans beware: this is not the Ninja Gaiden you remember.
  3. Apr 12, 2012
    80
    By far the most thoughtful game in the series and also the most accessible. Is that a good thing? I obviously think so; purists may beg to differ. [May 2012, p.58]
  4. Apr 9, 2012
    80
    Best Gaiden yet, but not as accomplished as Bayonetta. It is less hardcore than previous games, making solo play enjoyable, but the online is a misstep. [May 2012, p.96]
  5. Ninja Gaiden 3 isn't just a great hack-'n'-slash action game, it's a great Ninja Gaiden game. [May 2012, p.78]
  6. Mar 18, 2012
    80
    An impressively courageous reboot that channels the hard-edged heart of the series while discarding its more antagonistic baggage.
  7. Mar 19, 2012
    75
    Ninja Gaiden 3 offers fast-paced ninja action, though it's not as breathtaking as the originals.
  8. Mar 22, 2012
    73
    Ninja Gaiden isn't a perfect experience, but it's accessible for newcomers and boasts an addictive gameplay formula that goes a long way to forgiving its detractors.
  9. Apr 18, 2012
    70
    Tecmo wants to seduce a new audience with Ninja Gaiden 3 and the game became so easy that the true fans will be totally disoriented. The others will at last appreciate a great ninja action game.
  10. For those expecting a Tarantino-like exploration of the consequences of being a bad person, you're looking at the wrong series. It didn't take long for us to realise that Ninja Gaiden 3 has more cheese than a fondue party, but it works in the favour of this frantic over-the-top hack-and-slash title. [April 2012, p64]
  11. Solo play is as forgettable as it is fun, then, but there's a razor-sharp silver lining in the form of multiplayer.
  12. Mar 18, 2012
    70
    Ninja Gaiden 3 almost plays itself sometimes and generously gives you life and help throughout the adventure. Even if many old Ninja Gaiden fans most likely will feel betrayed, this third installment offers entertaining and fast-paced ninja action that stands on its own merits.
  13. May 7, 2012
    65
    Overall not a bad game, if you are a fan or just curious about this game you should like it but otherwise you will most likely not favour this game.
  14. Apr 13, 2012
    65
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is a spectacular (but not very pretty) slasher without a complex fighting system. Not everybody will like the changes and hardcore fans of previous games will surely be disappointed.
  15. Mar 28, 2012
    65
    Only Ryu Hayabusa is left from the good old Ninja Gaiden games. The newest title lacks a cool story, real depth to the combat system and state-of-the-art graphics. A pitiful continuation – possibly end – for a once cool core action game series.
  16. May 11, 2012
    63
    Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2 were impressive displays from Team Ninja. The third instalment in the series is not cut from the same cloth. The combat system has been dumbed down and the enemies do not pose the threat they used to. Ninja Gaiden 3 is a big letdown. [May 2012]
  17. Mar 19, 2012
    63
    A huge misstep for a series that has provided a lot of good times over the years. It's oversimplified, boring and leaves the player feeling they're never quite in full control – a Very Bad Thing in the world of Ninja Gaiden.
  18. 60
    Fans of the series will be dissatisfied by the stingy assortment of weapons, the overly mindless fights and the barrage of quick-time events. (…) If you're able to look past the many simplifications in comparison to earlier games in the series, just looking for a fast and undemanding slaughter, Ninja Gaiden 3 fits the bill just fine.
  19. Apr 4, 2012
    60
    Itagaki's absence is evident in every aspect of this sequel that can barely carry the weight of the "Ninja Gaiden" name on its shoulders.
  20. Mar 29, 2012
    60
    As with the previous titles, Ninja Gaiden 3's battles are fast-paced and boss fights are as epic as ever. Streamlining the gameplay, however, removed a lot of the depth that came with collecting dozens of melee and ranged weapons, and upgrading them at the Muramasa store. In the end, Ninja Gaiden 3 is a step back from its predecessors.
  21. Mar 27, 2012
    60
    Team Ninja left the road Itakagi used to walk with such a bold attitude for so many years. The main problem with Ninja Gaiden 3 is that the new title is filled with problems and average gameplay.
  22. Mar 27, 2012
    60
    It's great that Team Ninja made a new Ninja Gaiden, I just wish they stuck to what had worked so well in the past rather than try and take the series in this awkward new direction. It's still worth considering, just check your expectations and hopes at the door.
  23. Mar 21, 2012
    60
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is not a complete train wreck, but it does suffer from a multitude of problems. The action can be fast-paced and engaging at times, but many design decisions significantly bring down the experience. Dumbed-down A.I., a limited arsenal, the series' notoriously difficult camera, no inventory/currency system, and an incoherent story combine to make this the most disappointing title in the series.
  24. Mar 23, 2012
    55
    All flash and no substance: Ninja Gaiden 3 is a shallow action game with little of the series' challenge and depth.
  25. Mar 22, 2012
    55
    All I can say to the dedicated followers is this- Play the game on Hard Mode. It's really the only way you'll make it feel like Ninja Gaiden. But even that can't erase the bad camera, occasionally faltering frame rate, disappointing visual presentation, the lackluster online, and oh yes, the disappearance of other weapons.
  26. Mar 22, 2012
    55
    In trying to break free of Tomonobu Itagaki's considerable shadow, Team Ninja crafts a tepid take on Ninja Gaiden that satisfies no one.
  27. Apr 11, 2012
    50
    The franchise to this point has been both slick and punishing, providing a variety of ways to hone Ryu's ninja craft; Ninja Gaiden 3's new direction simply doesn't cut it – especially when played alone.
  28. Mar 28, 2012
    50
    A less accomplished but more immediate Ninja Gaiden, then, one that will temporarily distract newcomers and disappoint dedicated followers. Yet it feels destined to be forgotten by both audiences, chalked up as another casualty in the east's drive to conquer the west with bravado rather than its sought-after, ever-rarer Japanese steel.
  29. Mar 23, 2012
    50
    Ninja Gaiden 3 has all of the telltale signs of a good game. Triple-A branding, fantastic dev team, worldwide support. Unfortunately, what could have been a fairly solid entry is plagued by backwards-innovation [No inventory? Japanese voice option?], absolutely mediocre and over-streamlined combat gameplay, and a predictable plot.
  30. Mar 22, 2012
    50
    Please don't take this review as the ranting of a moody Ninja Gaiden fan. Remove the franchise name and the score would still be the same. Despite promising much at the start, Ninja Gaiden 3 misfires at almost every turn, and whilst it's not a bad game, it struggles to rise above average.
  31. Mar 21, 2012
    50
    For all Ninja Gaiden 3 tries to pull sympathy from its players onto its protagonist, it seems to have lost its way. It's an example of a game that is less than the sum of its parts-each on their own are fine, perhaps even good-because the entire thing is just stretched too thin. A two-hour campaign for a fraction of the cost would have, ironically, been much easier to recommend. But with things as they are, Ninja Gaiden 3 will only satisfy people wanting the video game equivalent to the weekend popcorn action flick.
  32. Mar 19, 2012
    50
    There are the origins of a fast, exciting new combat system buried underneath all the mess, and the gorgeous animations and zippy takedowns provide an immediate buzz. Yet its problems vastly outweigh its positives, and it's hard to come away feeling anything other than disappointed. This was supposed to be a bold new beginning for the series, but ultimately Ninja Gaiden 3 feels like a false start.
  33. May 15, 2012
    43
    Boy, this game is a big disappointment. When an established franchise like Ninja Gaiden sinks this deep, it would be wise for the developer to turn off its life support. The game is graphically strong, but fails on every other level. An absolute shame.
  34. Mar 29, 2012
    42
    Even though Ninja Gaiden 3 is definitely a watered down experience in comparison to the previous two games, it still sits well above other mediocre action games available on current-gen hardware. And while I can't help but feel massively disappointed with the final product, I'll allow that the game is going to be far more accessible than it's ever been, and there's little in the way of a difficulty hurdle if you play through the default setting.
  35. Apr 17, 2012
    40
    A truly disappointing sequel. [Issue#121, p.104]
  36. Apr 13, 2012
    40
    The franchise has been murdered by Team Ninja itself. Every little thing that made the previous games so great has disappeared in Ninja Gaiden 3.
  37. Apr 6, 2012
    40
    The ENTIRE single player experience can be viewed as such: Enter room, clear room of enemies, enter next room, clear enemies, enter... You get the picture. Boss battles do help to break up the monotony, but like I said before, they are crazy easy, oft repeated and often just plain stupid.
  38. Mar 27, 2012
    40
    Ninja Gaiden III's overly cinematic action and dramatic storyline soon falls into abstruse repetition, but in pleasing those not accustomed to the series' hardcore action roots, Team Ninja inadvertently ripped the spine out of the near perfection combat that the series' gameplay structure was founded upon.
  39. Mar 26, 2012
    40
    If a game is going to force you to play like an a**hole, it should have a stronger reason for doing so than 'You're a ninja, duh.' Ninja Gaiden 3 has none.
  40. Mar 22, 2012
    40
    Feels like a great game that wasn't finished. It's not that the game's too short; it's that it's too sparse. More enemy types, weapons, and spells could have really fleshed this out into a hack-and-slash classic. As is, it feels like a demo stretched into a full length game -- and a short one at that.
  41. Mar 19, 2012
    30
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is a gash on the face of the franchise and one of the worst games the action genre has yet suffered...It's a nightmare that's as easy as it is uninteresting, and it abandons what used to work for awful new ideas that don't work together. Under no circumstance should you ever waste your time on this self-indulgent and abysmal wreck.
  42. Mar 26, 2012
    25
    I appreciate Team Ninja's attempts at revisionism and editorial design, but I think most Ninja Gaiden fans- myself included- would have been happier with an elaborate, over-the-top design like the first two games rather than such a pared down, over-simplified one.
  43. 25
    Nothing more than a major step backwards for the franchise. With a poor camera, tacked on QTEs and a laughable story that takes itself far too seriously, Ninja Gaiden 3 is far and away the worst game I've played this year.
User Score
4.9

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 142 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 59
  2. Negative: 21 out of 59
  1. Mar 20, 2012
    4
    I'm a fan of action games. I love games like God of War and Devil May Cry were your given a budging weapon, like a sword or duel-wielding daggers, and force you to kill X amount of enemies in the most bloody, over-the-top violence that only video games can do. One of my favorite action franchises has to be Ninja Gaiden. Now Ninja Gaiden 3 has been released and it's the first in the series to not be any fun at all. The story of Ninja Gaiden 3 has Ninja-badass-extraordinaire, Ryu Hayabusa, as he joins the Japan Self-Defense Force to save London from an unknown terrorist group. While there, he's confronted by someone calling himself "the Regent of the Mask," who forces Ryu's trusty Sword, The Dragon Sword, to be absorbed into his arm, cursing him to feel the anger, pain, and suffering it's dished out over the years. Ryu must now go on a quest to find the Regent of the Mask to undo the curse and save the world from him. Ninja Gaiden games have always had plots so ridiculous, they're fun to experience, but the plot here is so ridiculous it's just downright bad. It tries to play itself straight and serious, rather than accepting the goofy camp, and the results are poor. The story is so badly written, you'll want to skip every cutscene as it goes off into generic and poorly done action movie story plots. It shame, as the idea of Ryu feeling the suffering of his enemies could have been interesting, but it sadly comes off as a missed opportunity as he just goes off and kills more enemies. The game looks decent enough. The game runs on the same engine that powered Ninja Gaiden 2 and Ninja Gaiden Sigma, but somehow looks dated. Animations are fluid and fast passed and there's a lot of blood being spewed by enemies, but the frame rate drops here and there, the environments are bland and uncreative, and invisible walls are abound. Enemy variety is also lacking as you'll mostly be facing the same enemy types over and over again. Yeah, they may look different, but most fall in the same pattern of weak enemy soldier or ninja to enemy soldier or ninja with something like a gun, rocket launcher, jet pack, shield, and magic. Some of the bosses look cool, but you'll be fighting Robot Spiders, T-Rexes, and Helicopter to the point where you'll be sick of them. The audio fares a little better, but not that much. The music is your typical techno punk rock and it's completely forgettable. One the positive side, the voice acting is decent, but enemies will constantly yelling at you to the point where you'll want an option to mute them, which there isn't. Ninja Gaiden has always been about razor sharp, fast passed combat with difficult enemy A.I that could take out 2/3's of your health bar in mere seconds. Here, the developers took out the difficult A.I, and replaced it with dumb as all hell A.I. Enemies try to attack you, but you can dodge and counterattack so easy it's not even funny. You also have so much health, and when you use your magic attack, your health regenerates. In past games, you could switch up your weapons by purchasing new ones at a shop or get them on the way, weapons like Talons, nun chucks, battle staffs, scythes and more. But no, all you get is a sword and an auto-targeting bow and arrow. You also can use your Magic attack, which is just a dragon is made of fire that eats most enemies. It's cool at first, but loses its appeal as you're forced to use it multiple times. Outside of that, that's it for weapons. Nothing more, nothing less. There are weapons coming in the form of DLC at the time this is being written, but there's no excuse to have like that. Either give me the weapons through game progression, or don't at all. It's insulting that new weapons aren't in the finished product, and even more insulting that you have to wait to download them. Level design is even worse, as all you'll be doing for 8 hours is walk down a path, get stuck in area till you kill x number of enemies, and boss fights that are just "hit the glowing weak point x amount of times." Ninja Gaiden 3 has all but lost the essence of the series in an attempt to streamline the gameplay to make things more accessible for the casual audience. However, the creators streamlined too much for its own good, and have created a soulless, repetitive, and just plain boring action game. Full Review »
  2. Mar 20, 2012
    0
    As a Ninja gaiden fan this is a major disappointment. I am so angry and sad they killed this game. Everything what made NG and NG2 good games is removed, and what they have added is dull, like stupid kunai climbs (30 or more), QTE and a dull stupid non ninja story. I was really bored when playing this game. I was glad when I finished it. I will never pop it in my console again. Full Review »
  3. Mar 20, 2012
    0
    Poorly designed casual trash. This is the Cars 2 of Team Ninja. Ninja Gaiden is terrible without Itagaki, let's hope Nu-Team Ninja doesn't do the same to the Dead or Alive franchise. Full Review »