| K2 LLC
|Violence, Blood and Gore
| The Good
Best ninja game out there
Some of the best stealth mechanics in a game
Gameplay has lots of depth
| The Bad
Spirits and demons could turn off some
Trap doors on some levels
Only soft restart is available during gameplay
Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven is the third installment in
the Tenchu series, which began on the original PlayStation.
Tenchu is the grand daddy of stealth games. Some like
to think that Metal Gear Solid was the first game ever
to have stealth mechanics in it's gameplay, but it wasn't.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins was. After Tenchu: Stealth
Assassins, there was another installment in the series,
Tenchu: Birth of The Assassins, which was actually
a prequel to the first Tenchu. Birth of The Assassins
really turned off a lot of fans of the series and newcomers
alike because it changed up the gameplay formula that made
the first so great. Now, there is finally a true sequel to
the first Tenchu, and in my opinion, the best game
in the series yet. Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven is born.
The controls might be kind of awkward at first for some people,
however, once you get the hang of it, you will see why it
is set up that way. The buttons are very responsive on the
whole. Overall, great controls.
A thing I like about the game is the Ki meter that tells
you if the enemy sees you, thinks you are there, or is totally
clueless of your existence. This can help a lot when trying
to stealth around the large environments. There is also a
Kanji meter that tells you how many stealth moves you have
done. Do enough and you will earn more moves for the ninja
that you are playing with. Each mission unlocks a different
move when the Kanji meter is filled. You also have your equipment
in the bottom-right corner and you can pick what you want
to use from there. The camera is good, but kind of awkward
at times. Thankfully, you can manually move the camera around.
Overall, the placements of everything on screen is really
The gameplay is where all of the Tenchu games shine.
The game is really all about stealth, although you will come
into contact with some close-quarters combat. The close-quarters
combat fighting is good, but not that good. Kind of
average. All you can do is the same attack combos, however,
there are things you can add in during the combos like different
moves by press forward or away or something. You can earn
more abilities for close-quarters combat. Each character can
earn more abilities and they all have different things. Tesshu
can get 7 new abilities and Rikimaru and Ayame both can get
10. Overall, the combat in the game is good.
On to the core of the game - the stealth kill. For those
who are not familiar with the Tenchu series, a stealth
kill is something where you kill an enemy in one brutal, fatal
blow without them seeing you. When you do a stealth kill,
the game will go to an animation where it shows your ninja
bringing a brutal death to the enemy at hand. You can do a
stealth kill to anyone in the game except for bosses. There
are around six different stealth kills per character although
one more can be earned for Rikimaru. The stealth kill will
also help you conserve life by not having to go through all
of the close-quarters combat. Overall, the stealth kills are
awesome and are one of my favorite things about the game.
The actual stealth gameplay is really good. There are many
things that you can do to help you stay hidden from the enemy.
When you hold down R1, you will crouch and walk slower. You
can also roll and do moonsaults and all sorts of neat things
like that. When you are close to a wall, you can press R1,
which is the stealth button, to cling to the wall and stuff.
Another thing to help you is the ability to hang from ledges
and roofs and things. You can also get on top of buildings
and run around. Overall, the stealthy gameplay can rival that
of games such as Splinter Cell
and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
and Substance. The stealth mechanics
The enemies are designed well. You will fight things like
ronins and people like that as well as some evil beings and
devilish crap. There is a touch of magical things in the game
like that. The enemies are kind of smart, but can be stupid
at times. For example, when an enemy sees you, they will chase
you for a while, but after they don't see you for a while,
they just quit looking and go about their business again.
This can kind of make it a little worse, but it isn't bad
enough to make you not like the game. They are kind of smart
in how they look for you though. For example, in past Tenchu
games, enemies could not go on roofs, but now they will. The
boss fights are good, but they aren't as hard as they were
in past Tenchu games. The bosses will never quit looking
for you and they are harder than regular enemies. Overall,
the enemies and bosses are all designed really well and they
have good artificial intelligence.
The level designs are fantastic. Everything looks like it
should. You see, the game is set in the 1500's in feudal Japan
so everything looks like something you would see in a history
book from those times in Japan. The levels range from castles
to huge ronin villages to cemeteries. The indoor environments
look great and so do the outdoor ones. There is also some
weather affects that make the experience just that much better.
There are a few different enemy layouts in each level. Some
of the levels are huge yet some are a little smaller. They
kind of vary between each other in size. In most levels, there
are little pit things that are hard to see. If you fall in
one, instant death. This really sucks and makes the game a
lot more frustrating. The pit things are only in a few levels
though and there aren't that many. They are just kind of hard
to see. Oh well. Overall, the level designs are fantastic.
They are some of the best I have ever seen in a game.
You can play as either Tesshu, Rikimaru, or Ayame. All three
characters have their own, unique moves, abilities, and stealth
kills. Rikimaru sports an awesome sword, Ayame has two short
swords (I have no idea what any of these ninja swords are
named so I will not even guess), and Tesshu, he, well, uses
his bare hands really although he does have this big ass needle
that he stabs people with and uses in most of his stealth
kills. Rikimaru and Ayame both have 10 missions, but Tesshu
has less, around 7. Their missions are all different too and
will use different way points through each level. The characters
all look great. Overall, great character designs.
Throughout the game, you will come in contact with a plethora
of different ninja equipment for your mission. Some examples
of the equipment are grappling hooks to take you from roof
to roof, shurikens (ninja stars), blow guns, bear traps, poison
rice bowls that enemies will eat, and so much more. They add
a lot of fun to missions and offer more open-ended gameplay.
You can pick up equipment around levels by breaking pots and
stuff like that. You can also buy equipment in this store
thing and make it available to you throughout the game. You
can also pick up weapons off of dead enemies. Some of the
things that you can obtain off of their dead bodies are spears
and bow and arrows. Overall, great equipment and weapon variety.
The multiplayer is great. One of the options for multiplayer
is a death match mode where you and a friend can hunt each
other down and kick the crap out of each other in close-quarters
combat. The down side to death match is the fact that you
can't use stealth kills. There is also a co-op mode where
you and a friend can go on missions and work together. The
missions for co-op mode are missions that were made just for
co-op. This means no single player missions will be available
to both of you, but this kind of adds to the replay value.
Overall, the multiplayer is awesome.
The replayability is very good in my opinion. There are lots
of things to unlock in multiplayer and in the campaign mode.
You see, you can buy weapons and stuff after you get enough
money or something so you have to get them. In multiplayer,
you can unlock levels to play and more characters. You get
a character after you kill someone in Story mode, but there
are some that are there to begin with. The multiplayer really
adds to the replayability, but to tell you the truth, I could
play this game over and over in the campaign mode. Some levels
just make you want to keep going back for more and more. There
are also three enemy layouts per level which adds to replayability,
and there are three difficulty settings.
Overall, the replayability is above average and the gameplay
is fantastic. My only two complaints about the game are the
little pit things that cause instant death and the fact that
there is no restart level button when you pause the game during
gameplay. That kind of ticked me off too.
Each character has their own story line, however, they all
kind of come together towards the middle of each character's
campaign. The ninjas that you can choose from are Rikimaru
and Ayame, two awesome ninjas from the Azuma Clan. There is
also a third character, Tesshu, who is a doctor and not a
ninja. Well actually, he is a doctor by day, assassin by night.
He uses things like blow guns and beats his enemies to death
for he is extremely strong. He has studied things like human
anatomy and uses things like pressure points and breaking
certain bones to his advantage. You can unlock him by beating
the game once with either Rikimaru or Ayame. You will learn
why Rikimaru is still alive after the first Tenchu game towards
the beginning of the game. The story revolves around Tenrai
doing evil crap and serving your master, Lord Gohda. Overall,
the story is pretty good, but nothing great.
The graphics are good. The frame rate runs at a spectacular
sixty frames per second. Everything looks so great. The levels,
characters, everything. The characters have very good animations.
The ninjas walk like real, great ninjas would walk. They don't
just stand up and walk casually and stuff. They walk like
they would have to to sneak around. The stealth kill animations
are very good too. Overall, the graphics are great. They could
rival the graphics of most Xbox and GameCube games and almost
any PlayStation2 game.
The voice acting in English is great. This is probably because
the game was made to be shipped in America before Japan. Since
the game is set in Japan, there is also an option to have
the voices in Japanese just in case you want it to have more
of an authentic feeling. When you put it in Japanese, you
will still have English subtitles so you will be able to know
what everyone is saying. Well, if you don't speak Japanese
that is. The music is pretty good. There are a few tracks
per level although some of them seem kind of short and they
repeat themselves over and over. The music is great really.
Some of the best I've heard in a game. There are good sound
effects in the game too. Like when explosions go off and people
fall or something. When you kill someone, you get a ''death
grunt'' from them, which is pretty cool. Overall, anything
and everything in the game that has to do with sound sound
As you can tell by my name, THAguyINgta3, I am a Grand
Theft Auto fanboy. Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven is one
of those games that makes me think that I like it more than
Grand Theft Auto III or Vice
City, although I don't (that isn't necessarily a bad thing
at all). There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of
my favorite games of all time and you will probably like it
too. To buy or to rent? Buy this game. Buy it now. In my opinion,
this is the best stealth game and ninja game on the market
today. This is my choice for 2003's Game Of The Year.