The Ninja Gaiden series has had an interesting history. It first started out as an Xbox exclusive, showing off what that system could do graphically -- plastic-looking character models apparently -- and married that with an extremely tight, responsive control system. Oh, and it was hard as nails too.
Most importantly, it taught the player that if he died, it wasn't a glitch in the system or a computer cheat but his own fault. It was definitely a generation-defining game that saw ports to the PS3 and an inevitable sequel that disappointed fans and critics alike.
Having missed out on Ninja Gaiden II, I still hold the series in the highest regard. And Ninja Gaiden 3 doesn't dump on my memories. It continues to be responsive, gory, and as much a graphical powerhouse as I remember the franchise being.
The problem? It may be a little too easy. The introduction of QTEs make the action incredibly visceral and all-the-more gruesome, but they also give Ryu a moment of invincibility and it's a moment that can be prolonged almost indefinitely. NG3 introduces an assassination mechanic similar to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood where you can go from killing one enemy to dispatching another one quickly by getting the timing right. It's not as easy to pull off as AC: Brotherhood's right-stick mechanic, but it may as well be.
I had plenty of fun with the demo showed at E3, but I can see how the new ease on difficulty may be a problem for series fans. And apparently it wasn't just when you set the game on normal difficulty as a fellow gamer also found the game a cakewalk even on the hard setting.
Ninja Gaiden 3 is set to release in early 2012, so there may still be some time to tweak the difficulty settings but, for now, gamers may just have to be deal with the promise of easier gameplay, QTEs, and new vertical moments via climbing mini-games and shuriken throwing.