Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 39
  2. Negative: 6 out of 39
  1. Mar 26, 2012
    85
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is a brave departure for the infamous action series – and it's focus on sword fighting and spectacular quicktime sequences could disappoint diehard fans.
  2. Mar 20, 2012
    80
    Control quirks and main game length aside, this is as thrilling as ninja games get, and a fun addition to the series, whether alone or with friends. Forget the naysayers and cut loose with good ol' Ryu.
  3. 80
    Ninja Gaiden serves up some Hollywood setpieces with a rock-solid combat system. Forgive the hyperactive cameraman and choose the right difficulty, because the wrong one will ruin your game.
  4. 80
    It may not live up to the series' impossibly high standards, but it's still a gem in its own right. [Apr 2012, p.56]
  5. Apr 13, 2012
    79
    Even though Ninja Gaiden 3 is still a relatively good game, with all the setbacks such as the high amount of QuickTime events, marginal design layout, and more, nothing pains me more than to say that Ninja Gaiden 3 is not the best game in the series. It's a shame too because like many of us, we have come to expect amazing work from the people of Tecmo and Team Ninja, but we can hope that this new team learns from this and grows the series back into greatness.
  6. Apr 3, 2012
    78
    Veteran Ryu fans will be disappointed, though this is a solid, if easy, action game in itself. [May 2012, p.78]
  7. Mar 20, 2012
    77
    As the first game in the series since Itagaki's departure, it's kinder, gentler, lighter, and a little less interesting.
  8. Mar 27, 2012
    70
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is rather different. It's a step back from what was achieved in Ninja Gaiden II: it's easier, it has less weapons, no items, it includes QTE... Overall it's not a bad game, and it delivers many fun moments, but hardcore Ninja Gaiden fans are going to be dissapointed.
  9. Mar 21, 2012
    66
    There were several moments that induced frustration-whether due to the wonky controls, throw-happy enemies, or artificial limits on Ryu's ability usage-that were clearly just poor design choices.
  10. Apr 16, 2012
    65
    Ninja Gaiden 3 isn't what you'd expect from a game about the stealthy secret martial art. It's big and brash but if you have played any of it's predecessors you will know that already. It's like a coin op, it has instant gratification and is visually attractive and would certainly make you throw a pound into it if it was in a cabinet in the local arcade. At home though we need more substance than the glossy exterior for our money.
  11. Mar 27, 2012
    65
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is a gigantic step back for the series. Team Ninja promised a full scale evolution, instead they delivered a mediocre and repetitive action game, with a simplified fighting system and a weak story, that is saved only by its spectacular scenes and its fun boss fights.
  12. Mar 20, 2012
    65
    If you love the series this game will disappoint you, but you will enjoy it nonetheless. A decent sword and action game, but doesn't live up to its predecessors.
  13. May 29, 2012
    62
    Every – really every – fan of Ninja Gaiden was probably expecting a different game than this Ninja Gaiden 3.
  14. Apr 19, 2012
    61
    Ultimately, Ninja Gaiden fans will be the ones who will come away feeling the most betrayed. Team Ninja really butchered this installment in their attempts to make it more assessable to casual action gamers and newcomers to the series.
  15. Apr 25, 2012
    60
    While it may be too late for Ninja Gaiden 3 to be salvaged, perhaps Team Ninja and Tecmo should consider a "fire-sale" approach and try to sell the rights to all further titles to Itagaki over at Valhalla and see if he can salvage the legacy.
  16. Apr 12, 2012
    60
    The idea behind Ninja Gaiden 3 was to create a Ninja Gaiden for the Call of Duty generation. The result is a flashy game completely devoid of depth and any challenge. A grave disappointment. [May 2012, p.66]
  17. 60
    It simply isn't polished enough to wow casual fans. [Issue#83, p.78]
  18. Mar 26, 2012
    60
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is the perfect example of how the lack of a strong game designer could crush the spirit of a great franchise. The first "Itagaki free" Ninja Gaiden is just a pale shadow of Ninja Gaiden Black.
  19. Mar 25, 2012
    60
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is quite spectacular, but not as fun as the first two games.
  20. 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.
  21. Mar 20, 2012
    60
    If you're not familiar with the series, or was always put off by its demanding gameplay, this episode might be the one for you. It's simple yet impressive enough. But by sacrificing its hardcore roots to become more accessible, the fans of the originals will feel like it's lost part of its soul.
  22. Mar 20, 2012
    60
    Ultimately, Ninja Gaiden III is a step back for the series, but it's still better than a number of action games currently on the market. It's a shame that Itagaki is gone, but at least all hope isn't completely lost for a turnaround.
  23. Mar 28, 2012
    58
    A disappointing affair that simply does not live up to the expectations of its fans. Casual action gamers may find enough here to warrant a play, but even at that, the short campaign and lack of extras really drag down its value. The useless online mode doesn't help matters, and the convoluted story isn't even worth trying to follow.
  24. Apr 1, 2012
    57
    A disappointing sequel for Ryu's saga, stripped of all the features that made the previous chapters stand out in the action games crowd.
  25. Mar 23, 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.
  26. Mar 21, 2012
    55
    All flash and no substance: Ninja Gaiden 3 is a shallow action game with little of the series' challenge and depth.
  27. Jun 20, 2012
    50
    It's not a bad action game by definition, but it lacks everything that made the series endearing, making it an overall unmemorable outing for fans that fell in love with the white-knuckle action and hair-pulling difficulty found in previous Ninja Gaiden titles.
  28. 50
    Ninja Gaiden 3 discards all the elements that made the previous titles popular among players, and the result is a worse and mutilated game.
  29. Apr 26, 2012
    50
    Team Ninja has carelessly chopped out large parts of the series' foundation by oversimplifying the combat and neutering the most fluid controls to grace an action title. Ninja Gaiden 3 isn't an overtly bad game – it functions, it's completable with a moderate amount of frustration, and you do kill thousands of "bad guys" – but it's the worst Ninja Gaiden game by a healthy margin.
  30. Apr 17, 2012
    50
    There are worse games, but there are also far better, and there is nothing that this game does to distinguish itself from any other. With Ninja Gaiden III, the series - and likely Team Ninja - has lost its way, and the result is an overdose of style with far too little substance to accompany it.
  31. Mar 28, 2012
    50
    Ninja Gaiden 3 is all murder and no execution. It places utmost importance on the periphery, neglecting the mechanisms of combat while splashing blood across the screen and desperately sniffing the air for just a hint of remorse from its protagonist. The franchise has never been more accessible as a result, and never more disposable.
  32. Mar 21, 2012
    50
    Almost everything that you associate with Ninja Gaiden is missing, above all the challenging difficulty level. Furthermore the intensity of the fights has been sacrificed to please the casual gamers. This feels more like a Dynasty Gaiden or Ninja Warriors than a true sequel to the once-feared franchise.
  33. Mar 20, 2012
    50
    Players desperate for traditional action gaming may glean some passing repletion from what is ultimately an inoffensive waste of time. However, the monotonous action long outstays its welcome and a series of this pedigree should be bringing so much more to the table. Instead, it does just enough to be a videogame available for purchase, and not a lot more than that.
  34. Apr 9, 2012
    40
    Lacking the clarity of vision and focus from the earlier two games, Ninja Gaiden 3 no longer feels like a proper Ninja Gaiden game. Without Itagaki at the helm, the first concession seems to be the difficulty and the precise controls. In an attempt to broaden the appeal of the franchise, the design decisions have removed the soul of the series and the result is a lackluster button mashing experience intercut with quick time elements.
  35. Mar 23, 2012
    40
    Killing the combat system that made this franchise so enticing, and robbing it of any modicum of challenge was so far beyond what was necessary that it leaves Ninja Gaiden 3 feeling like little more than a stripped-down husk of its former glory. If the previous Ninja Gaiden games were like carefully built, brutally fast hot rods, Ninja Gaiden 3 feels like it should be up on bricks on somebody's lawn.
  36. Apr 5, 2012
    31
    The spirit of the series isn't there anymore. They've streamlined the gameplay to better suit mainstream tendencies. By doing so, they killed off the very spark that made this series stand out from heaps of generic action games. To sum up, Ninja Gaiden 3 sucks in so many ways, it's almost impossible to find any redeeming features.
  37. Mar 20, 2012
    30
    Ninja Gaiden 3 has completely missed the point of everything that made the series great. Challenging combat, weapon variety, engaging enemies and the series' legendary difficulty have all been cut out in favor of a bland story, flashy finish moves, screen nukes, and button mashing.
  38. 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.
  39. Mar 26, 2012
    16
    This face-off is two things enemy encounters in previous Ninja Gaiden games have never been: pedestrian and predictable.
User Score
4.4

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 55
  2. Negative: 24 out of 55
  1. Mar 20, 2012
    0
    Worst NG game of the 3. Feel really ripped off. To bad they screwed up my favorite action game. Story wise its a really bad story. 1 & 2 didntWorst NG game of the 3. Feel really ripped off. To bad they screwed up my favorite action game. Story wise its a really bad story. 1 & 2 didnt have a really good story but they made it up by killer gameplay. This time they `focus` a lot on the story but its horrible.

    Game has been simplified. If you enjoyed the first 2 games, stay away from this one.
    If youre a casual gamer that wants to finish a game by only pressing one button, than maybe youll enjoy the game.

    I at least feel really ripped off.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 20, 2012
    4
    This game is not terrible!! It's just not fun. As someone who best Ninja Gaiden 2 on master ninja difficulty (xbox) I enjoyed the punishingThis game is not terrible!! It's just not fun. As someone who best Ninja Gaiden 2 on master ninja difficulty (xbox) I enjoyed the punishing difficulty. This game is a dumbed down version. Those who thought the previous games erred too hard, are going to love this. One sword, one nimpo. I started the game in hard and I've yet to have one problem. All the gore is gone. You walk to one ares, press the x button, kill everyone and move to next area. Same thing over and over. Theres some stealth in the game, which is really cool. But there aren't enough moves. Fighting got boring during my first fight. Ultimate attacks are lame. They're just one hit one kill sword slashes. All in all, this new guy ruined this game. He removed everything that was fun. Like I said...its not terrible. Just not fun..wait until the price goes down. I forgot, online is ok......death match and team death match. Same thing...mash x. Full Review »
  3. Mar 20, 2012
    5
    Let me first say this..... This game is not a bad game.....IT'S JUST NOT A NINJA GAIDEN GAME!!! When it was announced that NG3 would have beenLet me first say this..... This game is not a bad game.....IT'S JUST NOT A NINJA GAIDEN GAME!!! When it was announced that NG3 would have been rebooted from scratch .As a fan i knew this could only mean one thing....either make or break. I don't particularly think that NG3 is a bad game, It just stripped out everything that made the previous NG games enjoyable and replaced it with poor choices. Yes the combat is fast / but it took away all the weapons (yes... one weapon throughout the whole game) Yes it's easy / but NG is suppose to be challenging. Yes it's bloody Aha! / but it took away limb decapitation (d'oh). What you're left with is a generic hack n slash game which allows you to play with Ryu Hayabusa.
    It's fun but they really drop the ball with this. I am praying that they release weapon dlc's for this.
    Full Review »