The last few years have not been good times for Koei-Tecmo’s foremost ninja Ryu Hayabusa. Dead or Alive 6 left fans cold with its monetization practices and bare-bones content. Meanwhile, his flagship series, Ninja Gaidenwas left in the lurch afterwards Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Zand Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s EdgeTeam Ninja’s apology to the regular NG3its lackluster gameplay.
Since then, Hayabusa has usually been seen in playable cameos, such as in Warrior Orochi series. But there are rumors about it Ninja Gaiden may receive a reboot. Team Ninja has clarified that it is not currently in the works. But fans would love to see Hayabusa wield his Dragon Sword in style again. If it was in the cards, a reboot would have to avoid these pitfalls to please fans.
6/6 Where is the Blood?
Such of Bayonetta, devil may cryand Metal Gear Rising are not exactly trips to Disneyland. But compared to Team Ninja’s Ninja Gaiden games, they might as well be Mickey Mouse games. Ninja Gaiden had a classic god of war play with DMC-esque intricate action. It was violent enough that the original releases in Europe and Japan had to be censored, which removed the quick beheadings.
This could be the reason Ninja Gaiden 3 toned it down considerably, proving to be more T-rated than M. The games don’t necessarily need blood to succeed. However, removing a hallmark feature will always get some complaints. Part of the reason Razor’s Edge was more preferred was because it brought back gore and mutilation. A reboot has to keep it bloody to some degree.
5/6 Wonky camera
Camera functionality in games is rarely commented on for how good it is. It is one of those invisible features that is only noticeable when it is bad. Not the one overlooking the classic god of war game or the over-the-shoulder view of the latest is for everyone’s taste. Still, they work because they fit within the level design.
Both NG3 and Razor’s Edge fell short in this regard because the camera was much more difficult. It attached too tightly to the Hayabusa, making the enemies harder to see and making the platforming much more difficult than it needed to be. It’s a little basic to say “do the camera well”, but it’s something that needs as much attention as the combat and level design.
4/6 Same old moves
Dynasty Warriors and such Musou games are not exactly as complex as Ninja Gaiden. However, one of the reasons they thrive is their variety. Their best entries see many characters using different weapons, different moves and combos. Meanwhile, the less impressive reuse them across multiple characters. There is still nothing new to say Ninja Gaiden need hundreds of playable characters to capture. It just needs to spice up the Hayabusa’s move list.
Give him some new skills and weapons to unlock as he progresses through the game. It’s not the most revolutionary proposal, but NG3 faltered in this regard with a missing set of skills compared to previous entries. Razor’s Edge fixed this by making the Scythe weapon available on disc, along with additional ninpo magic and an additional playable character in Ayane. Maybe a reboot could give the rest of Hayabusa’s harem, like Rachel or Momiji, some attention.
3/6 Draw out fights
A new Ninja Gaiden the game might have the best move list in the world with the smoothest animations and the most stylish combos. However, it wouldn’t matter if all of the game’s mooks and bosses could be taken out with the same basic hits. The series was known for giving players a challenge, being harder than their rivals while on base difficulty. It was the hack n’ slasher fan’s hack n’ slasher, so to speak.
But again, NG3 faltered here, because many of the meetings were somewhat uninspired. When it wasn’t providing near-endless goon rushes, it was reusing boss fights, all of which fell to the same tactics as before. There was no need to mix it up beyond boredom or curiosity. Time isn’t always on the developer’s side when it comes to creating new encounters, but the final game ends up suffering if the enemies aren’t diverse or challenging.
2/6 Ninja Gai-Dumb
Ninja Gaidenthe stories haven’t exactly been Broken sword, let alone Shakespeare. However, its dramatic elements have been a selling point since the series’ original NES game. They were some of the first games to use cutscenes to tell their story rather than relying on text boxes and gameplay. So it has a pedigree to maintain. But not every story sticks with the player, at least not for the right reasons.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Spark Unlimited’s version of the series, gave players an unnerving new protagonist who returned from the dead to seek revenge against Hayabusa. It’s a good premise for a game. Unfortunately, the execution was not that grand. Yaiba was a boring fad surrounded by characters who would be more at home in a disappointing one Saints Row game. ONE Ninja Gaiden reboot would be better off sticking to the main series’ martial arts movie-like tone than attempting comedy.
1/6 Being too slavish for the first two games
This list has been pretty hard on me NG3, because it was quite a notorious disappointment. With that said, Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2 are almost 20 years each now. They have got different Sigma updates, and has been bundled together in various collections, but has nevertheless received criticism. As nice as they are for fans used to their controls, they are somewhat stiff and outdated compared to the latest games. Classics can only go on for so long until people want something new.
For example, Yooka-Laylee disappointed fans because it played too much like the N64 platformers it tried to emulate. It took on their faults without enough modern conveniences to make up for them. So if Team Ninja were to restart the series, they could still watch NG1 and 2. However, they also have to look at every other hack n’slash game that has been made since Razor’s Edge to see what to adapt to, what to improve and what to leave behind. Otherwise, it could risk becoming a setback rather than providing a new direction for the series.
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