While Ryu Hayabusa may be a ninja, he isn’t exactly known for stealth or subtlety. He’s more likely to kill groups of enemies with exploding shuriken or giant spike-tipped staffs than sneak up on anyone. That’s why I was so surprised when I picked up the controller for an in-progress Ninja Gaiden 3 demo, and the first thing I was tasked with was sneaking up on a rooftop-mounted soldier with a rocket launcher.
When I got close enough (slowly walking up to my foe as to not make noise), I was prompted to press triangle. Ryu ran his sword through the enemy from behind, tearing his sword through his enemy’s side before finishing him with a slash to the neck.
I jumped down from the rooftop but the streets below were filled with smoke. I couldn’t see where to go, so I just started running forward, drawing gunfire from an unseen opponent. After taking a couple hits, I followed the bullets to their origin and slashed the shooter to ribbons. Despite killing the immediate threat, I was still lost. I stood still for a moment to recharge some of Ryu’s lost health, and a prompt came up telling me that I could use R1 to sense a path through the smoke. Naturally, after being pointed in the right direction, I ran that way as fast as I could…
Only to be greeted some more bullets.
After exterminating the soldier that shot at me, I once again tried to sense my path through the myopia, this time making sure to slowly proceed as to not draw attention to myself. I crept up on an unaware soldier, killing him before he knew I was there.
After finally escaping the smoke (killing a few soldiers in the process), Ryu came upon an eight-legged robot. While Ryu was warned over the radio that the machine was too powerful for him to fight, the boss was easily damaged by attacking the ends of its legs. To win the fight, I needed to keep moving. Ryu’s former frontward roll (performed by blocking and moving the left analog stick forward) has been replaced by a functionally identical slide.
I rolled and slid all over the place dodging machine-gun fire and explosives. When I damaged each leg enough, a button prompt came up, allowing Ryu to stick his blade into the leg and tear through it by mashing square. After taking out all of the legs, I was prompted once again to mash square, this time to jump atop the machine and carve through it. As Ryu hopped away and the machine exploded, the demo came to an end.
Ninja Gaiden 3 will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U in 2012.