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I first played the Tenchu series on my old Playstation and really enjoyed the game, it was very different to any other game I'd played before and when I saw that a version was available on the Xbox 360 I snapped it up very cheaply.
Firstly let me explain the concept of Tenchu Z:
Tenchu Z is a ninja stealth game whereby the character (who you are able to customise from the start by selecting face and hairstyles, dress etc) begins in a training warehouse, offering the gamer the chance to practice their stealth skills before embarking on the single player game mode.
The training allows you to learn the basics and also the advanced controls needed to sneak (or fight) your way through 50 missions of assasination or the collection of various objects. There is a very handy enemy gauge on screen which informs the gamer how close (on a scale of 1-100) an enemy is and with a colour radar allows you to know if the enemy has spotted you or is suspicious that there may be somebody lurking around who shouldn't be there and will actively seek you out.
The idea is to sneak, hide in shadows, under water, behind doors and walls to reach your target in the mission. By all means, you can charge your way along the ground killing everyone in sight rather than leap across rooftops to reach your target kill, but in the spirit of the game it's not how it was meant to be, plus you are rewarded a score on completion of the mission which takes into account the number of unnecessary kills and the number of times you were spotted, obviously the smaller these numbers the better your score and the more gold you earn to spend in the shop on new outfits, new moves and new weapons.
The game allows your enemies a very high level of AI, despite the fact their general movements are identical and if you study their movement patterns you can sneak past them or kill them silently rendering the game rather easy after taking time to do so. However, if you kill an enemy (however silent) in a well lit area other enemies will spot the body and be on the look out for you, also if you kill an enemy in a brutal fashion other enemies can smell blood on you when you're close by.
The option to knock enemies out is a good one, with your sword sheathed you can grab hold of an enemy and then decide in that moment with the press of a button to kill them or knock them out.
The missions can get slightly repetetive and the graphics certainly don't look as 'next gen' as they could but if you liked the original Tenchu game then there is absolutely no reason you won't like this, and when you can pick it up for less than a fiver NEW it really would be a good addition to your collection.
Hardly a classic but a very fun game and different to anything else you're likely to have in your collection.
The first tenchu game out on Xbox 360! Will this game assasinate all? or be assisinated?
Tenchu Z is a typical third person stealth game where you play as a ninja and complete over 50 missions by completing tasks such as assisination, or retrieveing something from somewhere.
This game is very easy to start playing and is great for new players. However, i think that there are not enough fighting techniques and not enough variety. However, I do like the special stealth moves which adds the sparks in it.
The graphics are too cartoony and not really up with the other games on xbox 360 but their not terrible though.
You hear enemies screaming when their head is chopped off, you hear your heart beating fast as you sneak past an unsuspecting enemy.
*How long will it last*
with the ability to complete and compete with others online using xbox live and also 50 missions to play, you will be stuck here for a while but you may get bored though.
Learning Curve: Around half an hour.
Tenchu Z, a highly anticipated game, bringing stealth ninja action to next gen (now being current gen), but unfortunately this game went in the completely wrong direction, and making everything just seem so generic.
With the power of the XBOX 360, games should be able to exceed the normal limit, and those big fans of the Tenchu series will be disappointed with this abysmal attempt at making a good stealth game. However, there are some good elements, albeit not really improving the game, but does show some good signs for future instalments.
Tenchu Z offers a 'create a ninja' mode, which you have to do before you start the actual story. You can be male or female, choose what clothes they wear, hairstyles, accessories and what-not, and as you progress through the game, you can unlock and purchase new equipment and options for you to change mid-game of how your character looks. This is the best part of the game, and would be great to see this feature in the next Tenchu game.
The game itself is based on stealth and ninja skills, where you sneak around small little villages, caves, towns, and more to kill all who oppose you, and to defeat the enemy that's on your 'hitlist'. But the main problem, with over 50 missions, each mission is practically the same, in gameplay, environment, objectives and enemies. There are around five or so different varieties of objectives, and very few environments for you to explore. It just has on big feel of it being generic, and you'll be constantly thinking "déjà vu?"
The stealth kills in this game look pretty decent, which you pull off by sneaking up behind an enemy, and choosing to attack them, this will lead to a short cut-scene of you killing this man in a vicious violent way. But after a while, these scenes get very repetitive, and how the combat when you've been caught is so awful, your forced to go through with these stealth kills. It is quite hard to stay out of view, enemies can spot you easily enough from seeing you, hearing you, seeing your shadow, and what-not, which atleast shows that the game is rather sensitive to realism. You can hide from enemies by crouching in shrubs, hiding under water or in the shadows, but really it just gets stale ever so fast.
Gameplay - 4/10
The stealth kills are nice, but gets very irritating after repeating it several times, and the combat when spotted is just absolutely dreadful, you're forced to run and hide and go back to the repetitive stealth kills.
Design - 7/10
Being supported by 1080i, the graphics are pretty decent. The design of your character is also good, with the variety of changes you can make. You even get water effects on your character when you've been in water and blood effects when blood sprays on your clothes.
Sound - 6/10
The soundtrack is nothing to boast about, except for the opening movie song, which is fairly decent. The voice acting isn't too shabby, but there really isn't a lot of it, except through some of the cut-scenes which don't really play much of a part in the game.
Value - 3/10
With the generic levels, and the boring gameplay, there isn't really much making you play this game for too long, especially when it isn't rewarding to force yourself through all of it.
Overall - 4/10
Graphics are good, and the amount of customizable features for your creating a ninja is decent, as well as the water and blood effects, it really sets you in the ninja atmosphere, but with all the other faults, and the down right lack of attempt in making this a decent game, just isn't worth dealing with.
With an achievement score of close to 30000 (in the top 1.5%) on my Xbox 360 you may think me somewhat of a completeist. I imagine that you see me crouched in front of my games console grinding out repetitive tasks just to earn more points that in real life mean absolutely nothing. The fact is that I am worse than this. There is something noble about a youngster who can only afford a few games and plays them to utter completion - I do not. I buy games left, right and centre and play them for as long as it takes me to get bored. I then trade them in and get a new game. Therefore, rather than getting 1000Gs average per game I am more 250Gs leaving the other 750 untapped. This may be a bit fickle, but my high turnover of games means that I often bag a bargain. Therefore when I say the much derided 'Tenchu Z' for only £10 I thought I would buy a copy for myself and a friend in the hopes of some co-op fun and some trade in profit. Surprisingly I achieved both - a three star game and a £7.20 profit!
'Tenchu Z' is a third person stealth'em up where you take the role of an assassin who must traverse a map to take out a given target. Set in Ancient Japan you must use the weapons of the time to succeed. Being a good assassin means that the best weapon you have is stealth so rather than rush in you must creep around taking out the guards and the target without them sensing your presence before its too late. You are awarded with bonuses if you kill silently and these can be spent on improving your stats and weapons cache.
In many ways 'Tenchu Z' should fail on the gameplay front as the awful demo on Xbox Live shows. The game seems to lack any sort of flow as your character jerks from one bad guy to the next. However, despite its flaws I found it incredibly satisfying sneaking through an entire level unseen only to despatch the target discreetly. Traditionally, I hate stealth games as they are unforgiving, however, it is not game over when you are spotted so you can continue by hiding. 'Tenchu Z' offers a type of gameplay unlike any other currently on the 360. (3 out of 5)
Well I am sure it all makes sense somewhere, but all I picked up was that I was a member of some clan at war with some other clan and I had to kill people. The cut scenes are in Japanese with subtitles that do give it an authentic feel. However, the story was too weak for me really to care - except for the fact that I wanted to kill the doe eyed assassin for some reason. (2 out of 5)
With over 50 offline missions to play through as well as the chance to go online there are enough hours in this game to keep you going for a while. However, although the targets change you find that some of the maps are reused making the game become increasingly samey over time. To counteract this the 360 achievements are used to make you want to play a little longer. You are awarded for completing levels well, but also for the number of people you kill. My favourite achievements were for killing the straw hat wearing men on each level. There is one baddie like this on each level so it gives you a reason to roam further than just your target. I for one found the game a decent length. (3 out of 5)
The online aspect of 'Tenchu Z' is both a great thing and an awful thing. On a positive note the game allows a player to undertake most of the missions with their created character and three friends. If like me you buy a copy for a friend as well it's great going online together to taking on a level. You are now able to attack from two directions, or one of you can grab a guard whilst the other runs them through. It is a unique online experience that is great fun.
When it works.
Unfortunately 'Tenchu Z' suffers from considerable lag online which means that you jerk around a lot and that the guards are there one minute and gone the next. It was only intolerable once or twice, but the game is old enough now that you know that the servers will not be improved. Despite this I enjoyed the different experience offered online with this game and found that it was surprisingly populated meaning that you could always find a game. (3 out of 5)
When this game came out the graphics were criticised so much that Microsoft came out and said it was a deliberate style choice and not just poor graphics. Unfortunately for them it was in fact poor graphics and little else. There is a slight cell shaded look to the game i.e. cartoony, but the grey and browns make the game ugly. Even in hi def it looks like an original Xbox game. The graphics are clear enough to see what is happening, but apart from that they are drab. (2 out of 5)
For the first 10 maps or so I was quietly impressed with the different levels on offer. Each one if set in an enclosed map, but they offer different arenas from a village, to caves, to a forest. However, from level 11 onwards you begin to realise that the levels are repeating themselves. From Software decided to reuse the same maps later in the game, but move the enemy positions. Call me old fashioned, but this is not good enough. (2 out of 5)
'Tenchu Z' only real goal with the sound and music is to evoke a rich sense of Feudal Japan - and it does this well. The use of Japanese actors and music gives the game sound unlike others on the 360. I also really enjoyed the sounds that the different enemies made when they were aware something was wrong. Unlike the majority of the aspects of this game the sound and music was not hampered by poor programming and with surround sound they proved a valuable tool in avoiding the enemy. (4 out of 5)
There are enough major faults in 'Tenchu Z' to avoid the game. The fact that there are at least 100 games on the 360 better than this means that it should only be considered by someone who finds it cheap and who has played everything else e.g. me! The graphics are ugly, the levels reused and the online experience is more jerky than a plane flight during turbulence. Despite all this the most important aspect is ok - its fun to play. The closest game to 'Tenchu Z' on the 360 is the 'Splinter Cell' game and tbh I would prefer to play this over Ubisoft's game. There is something to be said about a unique experience and the setting, sound and assassinations means that for the time it takes to play the game it's fun. Also I made a trade in profit! (3 out of 5)
Maker: From Software RRP £50
Amazon uk £22.47
Zavia £10 (in store)