Without question one of the worst games I have ever played.
Lets start with the good things.
Moving along to the bad things. Everything.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found this useful :)
Oh, wait, you were expecting more? Would it be more helpful if I put more detail into why this games is such a travesty? Ok, sure, why not, if it'll help you to not waste your hard earned money on this utter pile of gash than by all means, allow me to wax lyrical about this games expert attempt at complete and total failure.
I'll start with a simple description of the game. It's a 3rd person action game, melee combat based, much like games such as Darksiders, Dante's Inferno and Dynasty Warriors. The game sees you play as a Ninja called Ken who is a Ninja in a family of Ninjas who go around the world Nanja'ing stuff secretly like some sort of Ninja SAS.
That's pretty much it. You follow the level from start to end and bash everything that gets in your way. There's nothing else to be said for it really. The story is, frankly, mind boggling and I stopped paying attention fairly fast as the cutscenes were redundant, drawn out and boring.
So what of the game itself?
Well I'll be honest, whilst this game is an offence, it isn't actually an offence against ALL the senses. Visually it's quite nice. Nothing special, but nice all the same. It is the upper middle class of modern gaming visuals, a solid B, the 75% ish of grades. I will also admit that some of the monster models are particularly nice, the giant spider boss on level 1 is suitably creepy and immense.
That really is all this game has going for it though. Truly and honestly.
The audio is awful and it's on screen counterpart is equally bad. for some reason the developers thought it'd be a good idea to randomly mix and match English spoken and Japanese with English subtitles. It's not done artfully such as to show that two characters are talking privately using a different language, it just flip flops at random.
With the voices themselves the audio is just simply too quiet, drowned out by all the ambient noise which truly is a cacophony of stock 'city sounds' just thrown together then left as a simple 'it'll do'. No, it won't. The only thing it'll 'do' is slowly drive you mad.
The level design is horrendous, taking linear to a whole new stratusphere. The levels are stupidly long, and there is no variety or sense of progression during each level at all, it is literally just follow each path that opens up, forwards, as that's the only direction you can go.
The devs have thrown in all the expected wannabe platformer moves, wall running and jumping, sprinting, dodging etc, and in truth, they work. They're serviceable if uninspiring, but that's not enough either. They do nothing to help the game along at all. Frankly I'd have preferred the obstacles being removed and just being allowed to run through the level then running and jumping around walls just for the sake of some 'variety'.
The combat is very poor fair, it is true button mashing at it's best. now, to be fair, I don't usually mind that. I'm a long time fan of the Dynasty Warriors games, and tehy are a masterclass and button mashing. But wth those the game is laid out in such a simple manner that the game becomes carcrash entertainment, brainless, automatic and fun on some basic level. Ninja Blade doesn't have this quality. You come to a combat situation and you mash the X button. That's it. Sure you can use the Y button as well if you like, but doing so doesn't really unlock combo's depending on how you mix the buttons together. There's no block and counter system of any sort to shake things up a bit, it is just mash mash mash on the X button, until.........
..........The dreaded QTE's. The single worst creation in modern gaming, the Quick Time Event (QTE) is back and it is back with a vengeance my friends. Oh yes, no moment is too small in this game, the QTE will do anything. Jumping over a gap in the floor? Why not. Killing a standard enemy? Sure, what the hell. Jumping out of a window? Well duh, that's a no brainer. Oh and not forgetting the boss fights. I mean, serously, how can you havev a boss fight without dozens (not exaggerating) of QTE's one after the other? Where would be the fun in that? I'll tell you where, it'd be bloody present, not on a long vacation.
Yep, this game is nothing more than one long vacation, for fun. Audio, appalling. Level design, redundant. Gameplay, evil. QTE's in abundance.
Even the presence of some measure of RPG tendancies in the collecting orbs to level up weapons and collectibles for health etc goes any way to improving the game. Sure, these things make the game easier to progress through in terms of general game difficulty. But the game is inherently infuriating that it doesn't make a difference.
Truly, if I had to sum this game up briefly, it would be to tell you that this game is 1 long Quick Time Event broken up by the occasional outburst of redundant wall climbing and button mashing combat (which also still has QTE's in it).
And if you can believe it, there is something even worse in all this.
The length of the levels is such that the game becomes draining, especially after going through QTE after QTE, you would think that the liberally spaced checkpoints would be a good thing wouldn't you? That they would be good for people who wanted to take a break mid game? Well sorry, no can do, if you stop at any time during a level, all your work is lost and you have to start the whole level again. Yes the QTE's are bad, no question, but not allowing saves during levels is just plainly idiotic. Eventually the boredom and the frustration because of the QTE's plus the plainly stupid saving situation proved too much for me. I stopped caring and stopped playing the game.
I can't recommend this game at all, not for any reason, there is nothing at all good or worthwhile about it.
I give it a one start because I couldn't find a way to give it a negative star.
I Recently Purchased Ninja Blade after seeing it listed on HotUKDeals.co.uk for a bargain £6.99 reduced from £39.99 at Game.Co.uk (Play.Com are also selling at for this price at the time of writing this review - Feb 10).
I Was cautious of buying a game that was so heavily reduced, as there has to be a good reason, so i read other customers reviews and they were a mixed bag, some bad, some good, but i thought for £6.99 it won't be a big loss if its as bad as some of the reviews say ....
Needless to say i will take notice of these reviews in the future !
The game starts quite promising, some amazing opening scenes that start to set the story, amazing cinema like clips, but then it all goes down hill from this point.
You find that you will continue to hack and slash away at the same enemies all through the game, the camera positioning behind your character is awkward, and then there are the random quick time events where you need to press the buttons displayed on the screen, missing one button will cause you to start the quick time event again, over and over and over until you get it right, not fun !
The controls feel clunky and awkward, the game play repetitive, and the development lazy.
Below is the game synopsis:
<B>Step into the dark and mysterious world of Ninja Blade, where gamers will be given the epic task to defend Tokyo and ultimately humanity itself from a horrific, genetically mutating disease.
High atop the towering skyscrapers of modern-day Tokyo, Ken Ogawa and his team of skilled ninjas are deployed to destroy the infected monster horde and stem the spreading disease as humanity hangs in the balance. Matters quickly take a turn for the worse as Ogawa and his team are betrayed from within their own ranks. After narrowly escaping death, Ogawa is left to fight the daunting battle alone while also attempting to understand the motivations behind his fathers betrayal.
Armed with an extensive arsenal of specialized ninja weapons, tools and skills including the powerful forces of Ninja Vision and Todom. attack, players must fight insurmountable odds, and once again bring peace and order to Tokyo. </B>
I Would rate this game a 2 out of 5.
Given their long-standing popularity in the 8-Bit and 16-Bit eras of video-gaming, the rejuvenation of Ninja-themed videogames seems to have been a short lived one. It was only a few scant years ago there were Tenchus, Ninja Gaiden, Shinobi, Nightshade, Red Ninja, Otogi and their ilk clogging up the shelves of your local games retailer like Sho Kosugi had been appointed Prime Minister with Michael Dudikoff his Chancellor of the Exchequer. Yet since the Xbox became the 360 and the PS2 the PS3, those same black-clad, katana-wielding protagonists seem to have found themselves unemployed. Ryu Hayabusa's rise to prominence seems to have been cut-short since Tomonobu Itagaki's fall-out with Tecmo, but on the coat-tails of what may be his swansong in Ninja Gaiden 2 came this little title produced by From Software, introducing the world to Ken Ogawa.
It was indeed while reading up Tecmo's ninja title that Ninja Blade was brought to my attention...and it would be the last time I saw or heard of it until I stumbled over it in a supermarket bargain-bin. Having been a while since I let anything other than a football game grace my 360 I figured I'd give it a bash, after all it was less than a tenner.
The game slides you into the sleek black boots of Ken Ogawa, a modern-day ninja warrior and part of a covert Government strike force aimed at dealing with threats the beyond the capabilities of the military. He is thrust into action when a rogue-strain of hook worms dubbed 'Alpha-Worms', which mutate the bodies of their hosts into monstrous beings capable of inhuman acts, get loose in Tokyo. The only prior case of Alpha-Worms had been in a remote location where the military were able to Ground-Zero the area...naturally doing so to Tokyo would be unheard of so it's up to Ken and his team to stealth into the quarantined city and clean up.
The story certainly isn't going to win any awards, but it's serviceable and acts as a fair point of interest between levels. The game does hark back a lot to games of it's type from the olden-days, and the plot is almost 16-Bit in it's naivety. The characters and their designs are an almost surreal mixed bag - ranging from excellent (the snake-woman hybrid given an usual twist) through thoroughly generic (Ogawa senior...an elderly martial artist in a gi, with a beard) to downright bad (Ken). When the worst designed character in the game is your main one you are off to a pretty bad start it has to say. While it has become clear that a traditional ninja-garb would look pretty silly in a modern-day setting, Tecmo and Sega (to an extent) both succeeded in re-imagining their heroes for modern settings, From Software just don't seem to have grasped the idea. The most amusing thing about this is that if you read up on the game, apparently this was something they went to great lengths to work on. Ken just looks far too clunky, and heavy, almost more like a soldier or superhero than a ninja. His mask adds a feel of the latter, with it not being his mouth covered but quite the opposite. The bizarre metal plate on his forehead almost makes him look like a bottle-opener. The design of the standard enemies also leaves somewhat to be desired, looking more at place in a rubbish Resident Evil-clone (I'm thinking Blue Stinger) than would-be opponents in a martial-arts themed game.
So what of the actual game? Well the crux of the game works along the same lines as all the aforementioned Ninja-reboots. It's a 3D action game with an emphasis placed upon swordplay against multiple foes, many of whom are more equipped for long-ranged combat with you, mixed up with some boss battles against either large, monstrous enemies or other ninja-style characters. In this sense the game is serviceable. You have a decent selection of weapons at your disposal, the usual standard blade, strong but slow one and fast but weak ones, a nice touch is your projectile, which breaks from conventional shurikens and arrows and replaces them with a circular boomerang-styled weapon. This throwing device is also where the game involves the infamous trait of 'Ninja Magic' with Ken being able to charge it with fire, wind of lightning abilities to suit certain situations. This gameplay meat-and-bones isn't too challenging, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't actually rather enjoy it. Sure it doesn't grab the attention and imagination like Ninja Gaiden, but it's certainly a solid imitator and is solidly constructed.
The game's control scheme is easy to pick up and get used to, however there are times when the buttons don't respond as fluidly as you would like them to, which can lead to a great deal of frustration. One of the reasons Ninja Gaiden became such a hit was how magnificently the action flowed from your fingertips to the screen. Messing up a series of wall-jumps when you know you pressed the buttons timely is incredibly infuriating. Unresponsive buttons also brings us nicely to arguably the game's biggest talking point...
Who remembers when Quick-Time-Events (QTEs for brevity) were something of a rarity in games? For those unaware of what I'm talking about, a QTE takes place during the cut-scenes between gameplay stages, where the player is prompted to push a certain button within a very limited space of time. The first time I encountered these was in Sega's Shenmue, where they served a purpose, of keeping the player involved in a very story-driven game, well. As years have went by more and more games have incorporated them into their cut-scenes (most notably Resident Evil 4) However Ninja Blade takes QTEs to a perverse level. There's at least 3 every cut-scene. Now for a start this is incredibly intrusive and irritating to begin with, I mean when you get to a cut scene am I the only one who would actually like to watch some of them without a bloody great 'X' or 'B' or such in the middle of the screen? Couple in the aforementioned somewhat slack controls and you are in for something incredibly frustrating.
Aesthetically the game is, as with it's gameplay, solid if unspectacular. The graphics, when it comes to Ken, the levels and the cut-scenes, are nicely done without ever blowing you away, but the enemies are really rather disappointingly depicted, with flat textures looking decidedly last-generation. The sound consists of stock 'exciting' themes that serve their purpose without living long in the memory. The voice acting is likewise, it keeps things moving without ever really standing out. The game does boast the tones of the sexy Kelly Hu, although bizarrely it's for the fairly minor serpentine Yakuza villainess mentioned earlier in the piece.
When all is said and done...Ninja Blade is a decent game. It'll pass the time on a rainy day for those who really enjoyed Ninja Gaiden 2, but don't expect to find yourself raving about it and considering it one of your favourite games. Personally I don't regret the £9.99 I spent on it, but also had no qualms about trading it in upon completing the game.
Ninja Blade is an action game developed by From Software for the Xbox 360.
The game follows the story of Ken Ogawa as he battles against an outbreak of infected creatures that broke free from a research lab, the creatures escape into the city and it is your job to prevent them from spreading any further by taking them out with your ninja skills. The plot is really thin, it is basically just an excuse to give you tons of enemies to battle along with some cool infected boss monsters.
You control master ninja Ken Ogawa, as a ninja you would expect to have multiple ninja moves and you do. The swordplay is fast and furious and quite alot of fun though even standard enemies can take quite a few ninja slashes before they go down. Gameplay is noticeably less challenging than say a Ninja Gaiden. There are a few weapons you can use from your single ninja blade, a heavy sword and twin blades. Your ninja blade is balanced, the sword is slower but more powerful and the twin blades do the least damage but are fastest.
The game has boss fights which sadly I found were the weakest portion of the game and you are usually attacked half heatedly which you dodge and then hit the boss in its weak point and repeat around 50 times till you manage to win.
The quick time events in this game are some of the most over the top and well developed I have ever seen, you will often find yourself performing multiple insane feats like flying through the air while managing to stylishly slice a few monsters in half along your way and landing perfectly, you must press the button at the right time to proceed though and if you are caught off guard it can mean you have to replay them again! The game does rely on this a lot so expect nearly every cut scene to have a quick time button press.
The graphics are actually very good, a little sharper than Ninja Gaiden 2 I would say and some of the cinematics in the game are really stunning.
The game is good with fun hack and slash gameplay sadly there are some flaws such as a reliance on many quick time events and poor boss battles do drag it down.