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E3 2011's Most Anticipated: Ninja Gaiden 3

CVG E3 2011 Awards: Vote for the games that most excite you!

The games on show at E3 2011 are some of the best in living memory. So you really owe it to yourself to vote in CVG's inaugural E3 2011 Awards... in the Most Anticipated Title category.

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Shortly before the show, we'll work out which of these 60 special E3 game previews have enjoyed the most page views, Facebook 'Likes', ReTweets and poll votes (see below) and crown our first victor. Shower your favourites with onlint love!

Game: Ninja Gaiden 3
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Certain

One 30 second teaser trailer. That's all we've seen of Ninja Gaiden 3. It opens with a dark black screen adorned with the Team Ninja name, and then the silence is broken by the crunch of a sword being plunged into a body. Following the guttural sounds of skin being sliced, bones being broken and organs being puncturing a splatter of blood forms the Ninja Gaiden studio's logo.

It explodes in a cascade of blood as the sword is pulled upwards; the blood covers the screen before trickling down to reveal Ryu Hayabusa breathing heavily and clasping the weapon use to tear the body apart. His eyes have a demonic yellow tint to them, his arms are covered in veins, and his body is soaked in blood as he makes the final fatal sword movements before drawing his weapon back.

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He stands at ease looking into his victim's eyes, maintaining eye contact for a few moments before raising his blood-saturated, mutated-looking arm to his mask and pulling it off. The Ninja Gaiden 3 logo covers the screen with the promise of an unmasking at E3 2011.

BLOOD, SWEAT AND SEAR
To the untrained it might seem like there isn't much to get excited about, that it's just that same fella from all the other Ninja Gaiden games cutting stuff and get drenched in blood again - what's new? Well a lot if you know where to look.

Although they're only momentarily visible Ryu's arms seem to be bulging with large veins snaking up them. This isn't the result of some serious time pumping iron; while the trailer doesn't reveal much and Team Ninja has kept quite we're guessing he's being corrupted somehow.

The smart money is on the Blade of the Archfiend as the cause of this. In Ninja Gaiden 2 after defeating Genshin of the Black Spider Clan Ryu attains the blade and wields it alongside his Dragon Sword.

The Blade of the Archfiend can be seen in the short teaser trailer so it may be that Ryu has embraced or been overpowered by a demonic side, which could have some very interesting gameplay implications. Hopefully Ryu will be given access to a whole new set of moves and magic abilities when wielding the sword.

Ninja Gaiden 3 looks like its placing more of a focus on narrative, Team Ninja has confirmed that it will be both a sequel and prequel. As suggested by the appearance of the Blade of the Archfiend the game will take place after the events of Ninja Gaiden 2 but will also tell the story of Ryu in his early years, at a time when Ryu wasn't as accomplished a killer as becomes.

In terms of gameplay this means that there is likely to be two very distinct gameplay styles. While the older Ryu will possess the weapons, abilities and experience gained from years worth of people slicing young Ryu doesn't possess, which means those gameplay segments may have a slower pace and require more strategy and caution.

With the departure of Itagaki Team Ninja has a lot to prove and with two games that, although received well, shared major flaws being scrutinise by thousands of fans on gaming sites and forums online there's a clear manifesto to follow.

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