Razor's Edge is Ninja Gaiden 3 with fan criticism addressed, as Team Ninja have spent the months between the original's launch and this retuned Wii U version tinkering with the innards and fixing shortcomings.
As a result Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is closer to its predecessors. Ryu feels a little tighter to control, there are more weapons to choose from, and you do not have access to all the techniques from the start, but get steadily better. The karma you collect is used for both points and currency, gold scarabs are again gathered, but the Quick Time Event numbers have slimmed down.
All this is good news, and you still have to respect the fact that Team Ninja has actually taken the criticism and not insisted that their solutions were the best. The main problem with Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is that it's still - at its core - Ninja Gaiden 3. No matter how well Team Ninja's worked to improve the game, there are still issues that are hard to ignore.
Yet what changes there are, are for the better. The game feels more like Ninja Gaiden than before, something noticeable already in the game's opening battles, in which you can't help but notice how much smarter the enemies have become.
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They're really out for our blood, knowing that they'll be meat confetti if they fail. They're more aggressive, and fight until every spark of life is gone. Don't be surprised if seemingly-downed enemies pull pins from grenades and throw themselves at you in a suicide attack, or a foe cleaved at the waist shuffles onwards as if the cut wasn't more than a scratch, in best Monty Python fashion.
It is worth noting, moreover, that Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is much bloodier than its predecessor, and it feels really good to see that Nintendo are delivering on the violence for once. Perhaps a sign that they're catering for the hardcore and not just child-friendly versions of titles.
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Unlike many other multi-format games released for the Wii U, Team Ninja try not to force lots of unnecessary things onto the Wii U GamePad. Something to applaud. Instead, we've a list of attacks available, and the choice feels completely logical. No more pausing the game and scrolling through menus to recollect how to perform a certain manoeuvre.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows however. To reach a boss with little life left is equal to death. Come the restart your life bar remains enfeebled. This is an element that seemed passé ten years ago, and I really wish that Team Ninja had changed it.
Likewise some in-game actions masquerade as QTEs but without the necessary button inputs flashing up on screen, leading to unneeded confusion and death. Also, the climbing using the knives is unnecessarily difficult - even we'd be better at climbing than Ryu Hayabusa.
Graphically, it feels slightly inferior to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, with inferior textures and zero-aliasing, and things get choppy when there's too much action on-screen. Team Ninja has not managed to fix the stubborn camera, so frustration looms again when off-screen enemies with rocket launchers interrupt combo chains with one well-placed (and unavoidable) barrage.
Yet Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is without any doubt the best version of Ninja Gaiden 3. It is more reminiscent of the two previous games, but not enough for the score to be raised. The original version was a very weak seven: this is just a very strong seven. If you want a good action adventure to your newly purchased Wii U, I can really recommend Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.
7 / 10
+ GamePad functionality smart + Lovely design +Varied stages + great replay value
- Uglier than Ninja Gaiden 3, - Unbalanced severity - poor Quick Time Events