Every single "Ninja Gaiden" game (and yes I'm counting the '80s originals), has been really, really difficult. I'll freely admit that I was forced to dial down the difficulty to sub-Normal for 2008's "Ninja Gaiden 2," and that was supposed to be one of the easier ones! Clearly there's an audience of hardcore gamers who are willing to die on the game's first boss 16 or 17 times, but I am not in that audience. No, I'm outside, trying to score a lower difficulty setting off the nearest scalper.
It appears that the departure of Tomonobu Itagaki from Team Ninja has heralded a new age for the franchise, as Team Ninja has decided to include a mode in "Ninja Gaiden 3" for people like me.
Speaking with Joystiq, "NG3" director Fumihiko Yasuda described what they're calling "Hero Mode." "In the past the games were really hardcore," he said. "We couldn't get players to stay with us and complete the game."
Their solution? Let the game play itself! Hero Mode causes Ryo to automatically dodge and block most attacks without having to touch a button. Handy! Of course this is the sort of thing that hardcore gamers bemoan, but there's definitely the option to turn it off and dial up the difficulty to un-fun levels, if that's your bag.
I think auto-dodging and auto-blocking might even be a bit too easy for me, but it's nice to have the option. After all, what good's a game if you can't finish it?
"Ninja Gaiden 3" is planned for release in early 2012.