Team Ninja has come a long way from Itagaki’s departure after Ninja Gaiden 2. After helping destroy the Metroid franchise, Team Ninja did a wonderful job duplicating those results with Ninja Gaiden 3. After some kind of revelation after saying they’d ignore fans and after its’ reception went on to blame them for its' poor sales, Team Ninja seems like they’re trying to play make-up with Razor’s Edge, the “Sigma” version of Ninja Gaiden 3. Considering how bad Ninja Gaiden 3 was, Razor’s Edge is a significant improvement, but what does that really say about its’ quality? Not much.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Razor’s Edge if you’ve played the original is the distinct lack of henchmen begging for Ryu to spare their inane lives. It’s a welcome change because it removes what had no business being in the game to begin with. Now Ryu’s story is simple: Your arm has been cursed, and you lost your Dragon Sword. Whatever semblance of emotion that’s supposed to be tied to it from the original is gone. While the story tries to maintain Ninja Gaiden’s long-standing history of ridiculousness, it ultimately tries dressing it up, which results in gamers wondering why anyone would want a video game story ever again.
Weapon Upgrading assumes you have to do everything. By the end, you’ll have nowhere near enough Karma to upgrade everything in your arsenal. It shows a complete lack of balance for the overall combat system, which is in itself mashy and tiresome. While the combat matches that seen in the original Ninja Gaiden 2 for Xbox 360, it doesn’t fix the inherent balancing problems that exists with that speed. For example, because the game’s speed is so frantic, the game’s framerate is less than optimal, causing not only a drop in frames, but inputs as well, which will lead to some untimely and frustrating deaths. While this is mostly on Ryu’s side, Ayane’s side really makes it clear that the game is balanced, which will put you in a few situations where you’ll have to get lucky to in order to pass or spend a great deal of time on in order to figure out a fight’s gimmick.
While Razor’s Edge can be seen as improvement, it’s simply window dressing. There’s blood, decapitations, faster combat, tests of valor, collectibles, weapon upgrades, etc. But it doesn’t fix the problems that existed with the last two original Ninja Gaiden games, offering the worst of both worlds. It’s a frustrating experience that you can’t hope to master, but will instead be left whimpering like a Ninja Dog.
Score: 6 out of 10
+ Improved Combat from the original
+ Decapitation is nice
+ Tests of Valor are rewarding to find
- When you die, you usually don’t understand why you die
- Some graphical head-scratchers
- Story is complete garbage