The other Ninja Publish date: 15 April 2009 by Thomas Mckinnon
Saving Tokyo, and by default the rest of the world, from a horde of mutants infected by some alien parasite is a lot to have resting on your… well… sword.
As Ken Ogawa such is your burden, you are Tokyo’s last hope. With your ability to run along walls (à la Prince of Persia), your skill with the blade, Ninja vision, fear of nothing at all and a bunch of silly costumes (including a clown suit) you set out to save the world.
Ninja Blade is fast paced from the word go as you often find yourself blazing through action hack and slash sequences. The game follows a noticeable pattern as you move from run-of-the-mill mutants to mid-level bosses and finally end-bosses executing some of the most outlandish and down-right ridiculous kills, from riding wrecking balls to running on flying debris, in gaming history. These kills are so over-the-top you’ll find it difficult to stop pointing and laughing.
This action is however rudely interrupted by far too many quick-time events; cut scenes in which you are prompted to press a particular button to achieve a specific outcome like those found in God of War II. These QTEs often leave you feeling side-lined – a bit like you’re watching a movie rather than playing a game.
Gameplay is straightforward with an uncomplicated control scheme. Each level offers a bit of combat, where the stealth of a Ninja fits in is not quite clear, in which you can utilise a number of swords (light and heavy), throwing stars and even man a gun turret. As you fight through the levels you pick up little red orbs which allow you to upgrade your weapons and unlock those clown suits we mentioned earlier.
Despite its faced paced action and resource hungry cut scenes the game never really drops frames- which is a good thing. Real complaints include its questionable auto-targeting system and at times off camera positioning which often work against the player.
The trouble with Ninja Blade is that it is bears uncanny similarities to what is a much better game; Ninja Gaiden II. Every reviewer worth their salt will tell you the same. The fact that Ninja Blade has picked up God of War’s QTEs and Prince of Persia’s wall running trick don’t exactly add to its innovation quotient. Despite this lack of innovation and various technical problems the game is still very entertaining. The game’s end sequences and light-hearted approach are its redeeming qualities.