After the single player experience it’s on to the game’s co-op mode which consists of a handful of arena like missions for two players online. Each player uses a generic looking ninja that they can customize to some degree. It should be noted these aren’t unlocked until after completing the 3rd mission in the game. These missions are ripped from sections of the game’s single player campaign and throw a variety of different enemies (and bosses) at you in each one. The hook during gameplay is the current contract, basically a specific way to kill an enemy to gain bonus points. The reality is, it’s still pretty shallow.
While the co-op missions are a nice distraction, I never felt like there was a need for co-op play. Teaming up on the enemies felt jilted and stiff, and for the most part, not even fair. Other than reviving a fallen teammate there aren’t any other co-op specific things to do. I would have loved to see a few separate move sets just for co-op gameplay, but alas, there is nothing.
It's not until the bigger monsters that the co-op becomes somewhat challenging.
Completing missions in co-op allow you to earn experience, level up, and unlock customizations. While some allow you to change your appearance ever so slightly in co-op, most of the items are used in the Ninja Gaiden 3’s 4 vs 4 multiplayer mode. Sadly this mode is mostly forgettable, if not, somewhat sloppy.
Ninja Gaiden 3 is disappointing on so many levels for me. I prided myself on trudging through the first two games, fighting tooth and nail to a satisfying victory. In a different world, if the first two games didn’t exist, my thoughts and feelings on Ninja Gaiden 3 might have been different. There’s something intangible missing from the third installment, and whatever that thing is, it’s what made the series so special before.
This review of Ninja Gaiden 3 is based on the PlayStation 3 version which was provided by the publisher.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with a friend through co-op missions inspired by the game's single player campaign.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.