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Xbox 360 Review: Ninja Blade

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The world is taken over by an infestation…who do you call? G.U.I.D.E., Global United Infestation Detection and Elimination! From Software has given the gaming community another take on a well-known game, Ninja Gaiden by Namco. As one of the world’s elite soldiers, Ken Ogawa was chosen, along with many others, to search and eliminate parasites in Tokyo, Japan, by jumping, dodging, slicing, swinging, and slashing.

Ninja Blade provides a different perspective on the normal slice and dice game. Start “skydiving” into Tokyo and fighting parasitic birds with the return of Quick-Time Events. Mainly used against bosses, but also used at certain spots in the game, Quick-Time Events are used quite a bit while playing. When a QTE is about to happen, the game will make a noise, like a sword flashing, and will look closely at Ken’s eye, after which it will show a short cut-scene of something happening and a button sequence. Press it before a white circle closes in on the button. If the button isn’t pushed in time, it will show the player dying in some way. Players can always try again, although, the button won’t always be the same, (trust me, I’ve died many times from that) but at least there is a chance to make up for your mistake.

Ninjitsu helps you conquer the elements while doing aerobatic tricks rather quickly. There are four different types of Ninjitsu. Lightning, which stuns the enemy; fire, sets enemies on fire; and wind, puts out fires. As for the fourth Ninjitsu, it is acquired by finishing the game on the hardest difficulty. I will leave that one a secret for the player to figure out.

There are also three different types of weapons to choose from, other than Ninjitsu. You begin with the Ninja Blade, then obtain the Stonerender Sword, and lastly acquire the Twin Falcon Knives. The Ninja blade is more of a neutral weapon and is not as fast as the Twin Flacon Knives and isn’t as powerful as the Stonerender Sword. The Stonerender Sword is mainly for power, tearing down walls, and those fun and interesting abilities. The Twin Falcon Knives don’t do as much damage as the Stonerender Sword, but they are extremely fast when used in a combo. They also have chains attached to them to hit enemies that are further away.

Players accumulate little red and yellow orbs, which are found in broken boxes or from killing enemies. The yellow orbs don’t do anything special except replenish health while red orbs, a.k.a. blood crystals, upgrade weapons and Ninjitsu. Weapon appearances change during upgrades and at each level obtained. Each level makes the chosen weapon look deadlier while exuding that brutal feel.

A new feature I enjoyed was actually being able to customize Ken. Choose from the design Ken is wearing, to the color of his shoes or belt. Pre-set designs are placed in random boxes all over the game and can be found by breaking them. I found a clown outfit, which I used for half of the game. It made my day seeing a nice, peaceful looking clown killing parasitic creatures.

Something I wish there would of been more of, were the enemy types to fight. It tended to get repetitive after fighting the same set of enemies for so long that it was almost boring. The only difference were the enemies changed colors and had a little more health to deal with.

From Software did an excellent job creating an amazing environment. Everything looks sharp and clear. I would have liked for more gore, but regardless, it still looks good. As for the sound, I was afraid my speakers were going to blow during the first mission. It sounded excellent listening to my floor rumble to the sounds of the explosions of buildings falling over and fire raging through them.

Ninja Blade reminded me of a lot of Ninja Gaiden and God of War. Although they had a lot of things in common, Ninja Blade put a new perspective on fighting as a ninja. “Fly” around as a clown, or as a ninja covered in completely blood red clothes.

Ninja Blade is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Violence.

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