NINJA BLADE Xbox 360 Review
Posted by ColliderStaff
Written by Brett Weinstock
Believe it or not, I was actually pretty excited after watching the videos for this game. Though it seemed like a simple “Ninja Gaiden” clone on the surface, I felt that there had to be something unique to separate it from the pack…but there really wasn’t. Now don’t get me wrong- there are definitely some unique, interesting aspects to this game, but you can’t go in expecting too much. Since imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, the studios behind “God of War” and “Ninja Gaiden” should be thankful to FromSoftware, as they have attempted to borrow the best aspects from both of these games.
Though an engaging story isn’t really the top selling point for me when it comes to games, I must mention the cliché-ridden plot of “Ninja Blade.” The player takes control of Ken Ogawa (who is eerily similar to Ryu Hayabusa), a ninja out to prevent evil from conquering the world. Once a parasitic outbreak hits Tokyo and turns everything into destructive, ugly monsters bent on destroying the world, naturally, Ken is our only hope. This simple story made the game have a “Resident Evil 5” feel in the sense that the monsters totally resembled the infected in Africa from that game. This story is told through pretty nice looking cut scenes littered with bad voice acting- but I have seen worse.
Since this is a 3rd-person action game, the combat controls would obviously need to be pretty stellar for it to rank up with the games it was imitating. Though there wasn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, I actually felt that the combat did its job fairly efficiently. Sure, the addition of quick-time button press events felt a little strange, but during boss battles they actually complimented the frantic combat fairly well. In terms of weaponry, Ken has the run of the mill swords, dual blades, etc, and they again resemble those found in the “Ninja Gaiden” series. Once thing that annoyed me a little was the immediate access to the more advanced weapons. Sure, you have to upgrade each particular blade to increase its effectiveness, but getting almost every weapon in the FIRST level felt silly. Though they made the first boss much easier, it was a little odd to not have to search or battle for the more unique weapons. Again, not a huge deal, and some gamers may actually prefer this, but it couldn’t go without mention.
“Ninja Vision” was another attempt by FromSoftware to stand out from the pack, and it was a nice addition I guess. By pressing one of the bumper buttons, Kens vision turned to orange and highlighted weak spot’s on the bosses (cliché) or points of interested to aid in completing the level. I get that they were attempting to add some new stuff to the genre, but it really didn’t feel needed or all that beneficial. In the beginning you might use it, but after the first level or two you will realize that it is actually sometimes more fun to disregard the ability all together and just search for the best tactics.
Other than that, there’s honestly not a lot more to say about this game- it’s a frantic, 3rd person action game that borrows heavily from the other great games in the genre. Though it doesn’t do anything revolutionary, it doesn’t really do anything terrible either. The game runs about eight hours in length, and since there isn’t really any reason to play through the game a second time, it makes a good rental. If you loved “Ninja Gaiden”, you will probably get a kick out of this game, as some of the quick-time button press events are actually pretty cool, and the bosses are fun to battle. Some people may pick up the controller and realize that this is a blatant rip-off of other successful games, and immediately be turned off…though I usually feel the same about the typical hack-and-slash games of the past few years, this one was done a little better than most. Yes, the levels get a little tedious and repetitive after a while, and some of the voice acting is downright laughable. However, if you are looking for some decent sword mayhem, you may enjoy this game for what it is- exactly that.
Overall Rating: B minus