Ninja Gaiden 3

Common Sense Media says

Extraordinarily violent and gory action game falls short.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

No positive messages in that this game that glorifies gory, bloody melee combat.

Positive role models

Our hero is supposedly a man fighting for good, but he is ruthless in his conduct, taking pleasure in dispatching not just active enemies but also those who have surrendered. One scene depicting a soldier begging for his life doesn't conclude until the player presses a button to execute him.

Ease of play

Controls for fighting and movement are simple and intuitive. While much easier than previous games in the series, rookies will likely still have difficulty with the game's bosses, which can prove very challenging.


Players use a sword to violently hack, slash, and stab countless enemies. The attacks are depicted in extremely graphic manner, with blood spraying from enemies and staining the ground with each stroke. Decapitations are common. The camera zooms in on more grisly moves and time slows down, allowing players a better look at killing blows.   


Some of the game’s female characters wear skin-tight clothing that accentuates their bodies' curves and cleavage.


Characters frequently use the words “f--k” and “s--t” in combat.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Major safety and privacy concerns. An online mode supports voice communication between players. Kids can exchange personal information and may be exposed to profanity and inappropriate topics of discussion.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.   

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 20, 2012
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Ninja Gaiden 3 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 March 23, 2012

You be the judge.

Well,just got this and Resident Evil Operation Racoon City have started playing it yesterday I'd say ok for very mature teens above 15 at least can play this.There is some sexual references,but the main issues are the violence and language,There is extreme blood and gore resultant from incredibly violent killing moves depicted in full scale graphic detail,such as decapitating one in extreme slow motion and seeing the head fly off and leaving a long trail of blood in birds eye view.Thrres also tons of language,not very frequently but strong and harsh.Still,the big problem remains in the violence.Check your kid to see if he's ready.Id say 16+ or 17 is the ideal appropriate age for MOST kids,
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written bymasaxo April 27, 2012


This game is really dramatic it has lots of violence in ti its not for young kids at all.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byBrioCyrain May 6, 2012

Story-Driven Violence

It's gory for a reason, you're given the burden of killing people who are pretty much harmless to you. Watch some trailers to know a better sypnosis, but the story-driven violence is amazingly displayed.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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