Ryu Hayabusa is notified by the JSDF that a terrorist organization has taken over London demanding that he meet with them. In a sense, Ryu obliges, going in to fight them off. He encounters one of their leaders, Regent of the Mask, who after a fight uses alchemy to merge the Dragon Sword into Ryu’s right arm, cursing him with the sins of all those killed by the Dragon Sword. Ryu barely manages to escape, though with the cursed Dragon Sword still embedded in him, but continues to work to stop the terrorist organization. He discovers they are called Lords of Alchemy (LOA) and have the goal of giving birth to a new world, which involves the destruction of the old one. To stop them, he works with a special cell of JSDF composed of Mizuki McCloud, who is taking care of the daughter of her deceased sister Canna, and Cliff, the brother of Canna’s father. However, each of these characters are more involved with the events unfolding than it seems, and things ultimately get very personal.
Ninja Gaiden 3 was the first Ninja Gaiden game since the previous director Itadaki left Team Ninja. It was generally seen as a major step back, and quite simply not a good game. Razor’s Edge was a second try at it, similar to the Sigma games, it was a rebalanced and improved version of Ninja Gaiden 3. I have not played vanilla Ninja Gaiden 3, so I can’t comment on how much of an improvement Razor’s Edge is over it, but Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is still a major step back over it’s predecessors in pretty much every way.
First of all, the combat felt a lot less fair and was frankly simply annoying. It felt a lot cheaper than the previous entries, and ultimately required you to play in a way that was a lot less fluid and relied more heavily on luck. One of the key aspects of this is a mechanic called steel on bone, that can instant kill any enemy, and can be chained to kill numerous smaller enemies, but it relies on enemies initiating a grab, which is pretty much random, expect for a couple tricks that you can abuse. Furthermore, there’s a much heavier emphasis on using your bow, which doesn’t work all that well and makes everything less smooth. There are even bosses based entirely on using your bow, which was not a good idea in the slightest. Bosses in general in Ninja Gaiden have always been great, the highlights of the game for me, but there really weren’t any great bosses in Razor’s Edge. Some were downright horrible. Some were decent, such as Regent of the Mask. But the fact that that fight gets repeated so often is ridiculous and lazy. So all around the combat, the core of Ninja Giaden, while I wouldn’t call it terrible, it’s still not very good or anywhere near previous entries.
In terms of other game play, there’s not really any platforming anymore, being replaced by mostly really dumb QTEs as well as some other mechanics. I didn’t care that much for the platforming in previous titles, but the replacements are even worse. The climbing walls mechanic was completely pointless, as was the car chase scene as well as a bunch of other events.
As for growth, there are no usable items any longer, only having the option to gain back health through save points or using abilities, and upgrades in terms of abilities and weapons can be done at any time through a menu rather through a store. Overall I like this system a lot less than previous entries. It’s a lot less forgiving, but also removes the resource management aspect which I liked.
The story was literally terrible. The plots of previous games have been ridiculous, but they didn’t take themselves all that seriously, kind of embracing how tropey and ridiculous they were but still trying to seem cool. This game is just as tropey and ridiculous, with less enjoyable tropes in my opinion, but it took itself far too seriously despite that resulting in cliche awfulness. None of the new characters were that interesting, and in terms of Ryu’s character they completely destroyed it by taking things in a completely different paths from the previous games that just doesn’t fit or work. The story, which usually isn’t even important, still managed to drag the game down surprisingly.
Lastly, there’s not as much variety in level designs so it felt a lot less exciting going from going place to place like it was in Ninja Giaden II. The new level and character designs were also worse as compared to the characters from the previous entries, which was also somewhat disappointing. The soundtrack was fine, though nothing exceptional.
Ultimately a semi-decent action game with a terrible plot, but a major disappointment due to it’s predecessors.
Note: Ninja Trials or any multiplayer were not played at all.