Ninja Gaiden
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Tecmo
Developer
Team Ninja
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Gore and Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Graphics are amazing
• Cutscenes are good
• Amazing gameplay
• Deep weapon system
• Lots of replayability

The Bad

• Excruciating and unforgiving gameplay
• Too much work to be done to unlock the NES games
• Weapons don't carry over to another save after beating the game

 
Grade
A+

Ninja Gaiden. Just saying the name makes happy, and sometimes not so happy, childhood memories pour through my head. The original trilogy, like this game, starred master ninja in training, Ryu Hayabusa. They were cult classics and were all released on the NES and re-released on the SNES. Very hard, but very fun and rewarding games. After around 10 plus years, we finally get a sequel, and believe me, the wait was worth it. I've played tons of beat'em ups, and believe me, this is the best. There's no other competition. Easily one of my top 5 favorite games of all time. Well, on to the review.

In the game, you play as Ryu Hayabusa. On a training trip to a steroid pumped master ninja's fortress, Murai, your village is attacked and burned to ashes by a samurai named Doku and his small army. The reason they attacked is to get the mighty Dark Dragon Sword which the Hayabusa Clan protects, or used to protect, at least. After seeing his people be wiped out and the sword stolen, Ryu vows revenge. The Vigoor Empire must fall.

The controls are perfect. You have 2 buttons to attack (X for one and Y for a stronger attack), B to use projectiles, A to jump, B+Y to use Ninpo which is a magic attack, R to center the camera, and L to block. The camera's very good, I think. There has only been one instance so far when I haven't been able to center the camera and still have a good angle, and that was during one boss fight. Overall, the controls are perfect and the camera is slightly above average.

Let's get to the best part of the game: the gameplay. The game plays like Devil May Cry mixed with Onimusha, or so I hear (never played Onimusha, and didn't like DMC). The game consists of lots of fighting with platforming and puzzle-solving in between just to give your hands a rest. The puzzles are fairly easy, and the platforming is easy, too. To platform, you can do things like wall running at angles or straight up, jumping from walls to walls and making your way up by doing that, swinging on branch-like objects, and other things. The puzzles and platforms are generally pretty fun, I guess.

The fighting is the real meat and potatoes of the game. You'll start out with a limited moveset with just your True Dragon Sword, a katana, and some shurikens. As you progress through the game, you'll be able to upgrade your sword and even obtain new weapons, which will range from 2 different kinds of nunchucka, a huge sword, a battle axe-type thing, and more. You'll also get new secondary weapons like incendiary shurikens, bow and arrows, and a windmill shuriken which is like a boomerang but a shuriken instead.

To upgrade weapons, you'll have to get currency in the game by killing enemies. You'll get different amounts of currency from each enemy to the next and the amount also depends on how you kill them. If you kill them with a charged essence attack or with attacks that consist of high-hitting combos, you'll get more currency. You can also use the currency to buy potions, maps, and other nifty items. To get weapons, you'll have to find them scattered throughout levels. They aren't too hard to find, but aren't too easy either. They're well worth the effort though.

The actual fighting in the game is flawless. It's so fun to link combos together with shurikens or wall run around a room full of enemies to ultimately slice one's head off and repeating the process. There's tons of variety in the fighting and it's a lot more fun if you can memorize all of the combos. There's nothing like slicing up one guy, throwing a shuriken at the next to stall, and Izuna Dropping him to finish off the room. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! The fighting's flawless.

The enemies are all well-designed, and each level usually introduces another enemy. They'll range from ninjas, samurais, and military commandos to zombies, red dinosaurs who look like Satan himself possessed them, and other various goblins. The bosses are also designed well. They'll range from demon samurais on horseback to huge dragon skeletons that have been given new life. All of them are really different. The fun thing about them is that they don't really have set patterns so they are pretty spontaneous.

The levels are designed amazingly. They're very fun to search through and contain puzzles and things to collect. They'll range from ninja fortresses, the Hayabusa Clan village, and an old city to an underwater level, a huge underground cave/cavern deal, and a lot more. There are 16 total chapters. Overall, they are all designed really well and most will take at least an hour to complete, and that doesn't even count all of the restarts and such.

The replayability in the game is almost endless. There are 2 costumes to unlock, a new difficulty, the original trilogy to unlock, and 2 new weapons. There are 16 levels in the game and they are all VERY long and VERY hard. This game is one of the harder games I'd ever played, and then again, it's one of the most fun and rewarding. There will also be the Master Ninja Tournament which will act as a scoreboard kind of and there is also downloadable content which will be like new weapons and levels and such. With all of this said of the gameplay, my only complaint is the fact that weapons won't carry over after you beat the game and start a new save. That kind of irritates me, but I can get past it.

The graphics, as you should know already, are utterly amazing. Everything from the lighting effects to the water to the environments are breathtaking. This is probably the most beautiful console game released so far. The animations, framerate, and design is utterly flawless. Eye candy was one of Itagaki's top priorities, and his goal to make it as beautiful as possible has been achieved.

The music in the game is pretty good. You'll have music that fits the level like an oriental-type melody in the ninja fortress and stuff like that. There is also kind of techno beats when the gameplay really heats up and fights start breaking out. The voice acting is also really well done, as is the sound effects. Overall, great sound and graphics.

To buy or to rent, you ask? To be quite honest, I think you should rent this first just so you can see if you can stand the difficulty. If you think you can, by all means, buy it first. It's a great buy. The main game is 20+ hours on your first time through along with tons of extras and stuff. This title will keep you occupied for a while. One of my favorite games of all time and easily my favorite game on Xbox.

- - THAguyINgta3

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