A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ninja Gaiden III is an extraordinarily violent and gory action game about a ninja who kills hundreds of enemies, each depicted in graphic detail. Unlike many action game heroes, he comes off as bloodthirsty and vicious, killing even those enemies who lay down their arms and surrender. The game also has an online component that allows players to compete against strangers. It supports voice communication, a potentially dangerous feature for younger players that could allow the exchange personal information.
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What's it about?
NINJA GAIDEN 3 is the first game in Tecmo's long running action series not helmed by celebrity Japanese game designer Tomonobu Itagaki. This has resulted in an experience of a different flavor than that of its predecessors. Players still take on the role of Ryu, a muscle-bound ninja. This time out, he battles hordes of enemies who are part of an organization set on bringing about an end to the civilized world. Fights remain as cinematic and graphic as they have been in previous games, but the combat system has been simplified, which should make the game a little easier for newcomers than past entries -- though some enemies still pose a serious challenge. It's also the first in the series to offer multiplayer play, allowing gamers to compete in challenges and take on others in clan battles.
Is it any good?
Love them or hate them, you can't fault the Ninja Gaiden games for lack of personality -- at least not until now. Ninja Gaiden 3 delivers a less complex brand of combat that fails to deliver the thrills and satisfaction found in previous games. The action still flows well enough and has a similar visceral quality, but it feels repetitious and bland. It's also imbalanced; overly forgiving while mowing down minions, then sometimes extremely difficult when going up against level bosses.
The hero is less appealing as well. He seems at once less engaged in what he's doing and more ruthless while doing it. The dialogue is shamefully poor, with writing that often seems like little more than a series of one-liners strung together and performances that fail to match the emotional context of the situation. It's unlikely many players will find themselves even remotely invested in the story. The action game genre isn’t lacking for compelling experiences. You can do better.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Have you ever felt disturbed by something you've seen in a game? How do you set boundaries for your kids?
Families can also discuss online interactions in interactive entertainment. What would you do if you felt threatened by someone online?
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