Ninja Blade XBox 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.9
Graphics 8.2
Sound 8.0
Value 7.5
Distributor: Microsoft
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
July 2008
Reviewer:
Andrew Bistak

7.8


Ninja Blade

Imagine a world where the ridiculous is plausible and the art of Ninjitsu is the only thing between us and them. Modern times, monsters and Ninjas, yes my friends, that is the story of Ninja Blade as gamers are transformed into a relatively new Ninja novice.

Reminiscent of games such as Ninja Gaiden, God of War and Devil May Cry, Ninja Blade revisits the franchise where cutscenes are driven by carefully crafted button combos and players fight an almost unending line of villains as players tackle some of the most remarkable maneuvers in a video game (visually) in a long time.

Features

  • Unique ninja abilities. To help defeat the genetically mutated monsters, players will have the special abilities of Ninja Vision and Todomé Attack at their fingertips. Enabling Ninja Vision will allow players to detect and analyze potential enemy weak points, secret paths and hidden information within the environment. Beware, though, that while using Ninja Vision, characters become susceptible to excess damage. Todomé Attack is a special attack that destroys an enemy character’s core (heart), by dealing a fatal wound. Balanced and calculated use of both these abilities will be critical to progressing through the game.

  • Variety of weapons, tools and Ninjutsu — specialized Ninja powers — offer an enticing array of options. Varied environments force players to think strategically about which set of weapons and tools will be most effective at conquering their way through different levels. Everything from dual-wielding swords to grapple wire hooks and grenades has distinctive features and characteristics, so choose wisely! Ninjutsu is a special power that results in an explosive electrical force to either stun enemies or protect oneself from attack. Only true Ninja Masters can achieve this technique.

  • Interactive quick-time events. Scattered throughout integral parts of the storyline, characters will come across various quick-time events where players will have the opportunity to directly interact with in-game cut scenes. Quick reflexes will be rewarded as players interact with controller buttons as directed on screen during intense battles.

  • Modern realism. “Ninja Blade” offers a fresh twist to the classic ninja saga by basing all 3-D gaming maps directly from the actual skyscrapers and building tops in modern-day Tokyo.

At its core, you need to stop the an army of strange powerful monsters from destroying Tokyo and the scope is like Cloverdale with buildings coming down around as you jump from building to building, perform some amazing Silver Surfer like maneuvers on missiles and fight many Godzilla like creatures in some carefully crafted cinemas.

The combat of the game is reminiscent of games such as Devil May Cry as you perform some impressive feats as you slice, dice and hack your way through the enemies that looks impressive, however fails to deliver anything meaningful or deep.

Even though we've seen it all before, there's something endearing about the game which makes it a joy to continue. To spice things up, Ken has access to other weapons such as his Dante inspired gigantic sword which is ideal for certain enemies and is a blast to use. The combat maneuvers in the game are easy to master with most gamers having no difficulty in mastering this aspect of the title... in theory anyway!

While the majority of the game will be spent exploring this visually impressive world where you fight foot soldiers, run up walls and precariously walk on places that are humanly impossible is where the fun starts in this game. These cinematics generally include a timing game where you need to push certain buttons in order to successfully move on such as A, B and X, and if you fail, the game will rewind to start of the cinematic with Jumper (the movie) type effects.

I think this is what makes the game so appealing, trying to get to the next interactive cinemas to see what outrageous events the developers has thrown at us and of course the impressive boss battles that at times have been taken out of a Warner Bros cartoon show at the unrealistic yet entertaining physics which our hero Ken has found himself in.

Ken does have another super power with "Ninja Vision" that slows down time in order for you to inflict more damage to your enemies by selecting key damage spots. More super powers? You betcha! Ken can access fire, wind and lightning... err electricity which are deadly blades surrounded by these elemental forces. These deadly forces are not only needed for battle but they assist with certain puzzles in the game. 

Graphically, Ninja Blade is a truly visually and surreal experience and the developers should be commended in making the environments so compelling which really showcases the size difference between Ken and bosses that he fights which is like David and Goliath but bigger. Ken is brilliantly modeled with some great texture details and is animated extremely well as are all the other characters and cinematics in the game. There were a few slowdowns but thankfully these are far and few.

In relation to the music, it suits the genre perfectly and has hints of cheesiness as is the voice acting and through a surround sound system, the special effects sound great. Nothing memorable but the "cheese" aspect suits the gameplay, graphics and story perfectly. 

Although no online play per se, the title does allow you to upload your scores to an online leader board and there are some unlockable costumes and modifiers in single-player. To complete the game, it took us around 8 hours to successfully finish, maybe a little less but it was an entertaining experience, albeit we had the feeling that it was all done before. The problem with Ninja Blade is that once you have finished it, if offers very little in replay value.

If you have never played a game like Devil May Cry, God of War or Ninja Gaiden before than you'll definitely enjoy Ninja Blade, however for veteran gamers, they may find it a little stale and repetitive. Even so, there was something compelling about this game, perhaps it was the boss battles or the over the top story, it did have some cool moments!






 
 



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