Deja vu? Ninja Blade bears a similarity to several games already out there. Ninja Gaiden and God of War are the two that first spring to mind, while its liberal use of bosses is pure Shadow of the Colossus. But then, this is a game about ninjas, so you’d expect a bit of a crossover.
The few unique points that it has – namely a rampant fondness for quick-time events (QTE) and a plot that involves parasitic worms entering into people’s bodies and turning them into blood crazed monsters – won’t win you over. The QTEs crop up too frequently and while they make the game look more cinematic, they also constantly drag you out of the action. In fact, as the game is very linear too, it feels like you’re hardly playing at times. Instead you hop from one cutscene or QTE to one short action sequence after another, some of them impressive to look at but none of them satisfying to play.
Compare Ninja Blade’s combat to Ninja Gaiden’s and it comes out very unfavorably. Your upgradeable weapons and move-sets are comprehensive but contact is imprecise and enemies follow predictable, repeated attack patterns. The bosses are a letdown too. They look good but little strategy is required to beat them – you just hack away.
Similarly, if you put its acrobatic leaping and wall-running sections next to the likes of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed you’ll notice that Ninja Blade feels rather clumsy and unintuitive in comparison. As a final insult, the game has some just plain bad on-rails sections where you’re running down buildings hammering buttons or trying to outrun enemies when you can’t really see where you’re going.
It’s a shame because with better combat and less reliance on annoying random button-pushing events it could have been a decent, if-flashy-rather- than-fleshed-out game. As it turns out, you’re better off playing any of the Xbox 360’s other ninja games rather than this weak one.
Apr 7, 2009