Past Entertainment

For the week of 7/30/09

‘Ninja Blade’ for the Xbox 360 more frustration than fun

By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

This review also appears at Fuell to the Fire

Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by too many classic games and the recent ability to play those from the DOS days again, but I’m increasingly finding myself less than impressed with many flashy titles out today. Not to say that a good game can’t be made now, but it feels harder to find something I like more than in ye olden days.
The latest martial arts entry from Microsoft just did not make me a happy gamer in so many ways that I almost put the title away before I completed the first mission. I did make it through the game after much cursing to the console gods, but found another title that won’t be seeing much future playtime in my living room. “Ninja Blade” for the Xbox 360 felt like a game that was more template than finished product and not something I would recommend to my fellow gamers.
The story (what I could piece together), focuses on Ken Ogawa, a ninja who is much more than the average fighter and part of a special ops team to rid the world of evil. He and his team are attempting to fight off a genetic parasite army of sorts that at one point was thought to be already taken care of.
Things seem to be heading in a good direction until team members Kuroh Sakamoto and Kanbe Ogawa (Ironically Ken’s father) decide the path of good is not rewarding enough and leave Ken facing a heart-wrenching decision. The world must still be saved, but at a cost and unfortunately killing a parent isn’t it. The story leaves more questions than when one starts and the game-play doesn’t make up for the confusion.
The most annoying factor of the game can often be the control (if it can be called this) of it during play. During routine maneuvers you may not experience that many problems, but the minute you have to do something speedy you’re lucky if you aren’t killed a few dozen times even if you execute the moves correctly.
This more than anything can cost valuable patience and playing time which is only made worse when your “ninja vision” wears off leaving the screen blurry for a few crucial seconds. If you can’t see what you are playing, you are more likely to screw up even more.
Yet, I will attempt to say some positive things about this game and they are in the weaponry and customization aspects. The swords, though not all that original, do look pretty sweet when slicing and dicing your enemies and the ability to make your ninja costume all sorts of color schemes can relieve some boredom.
The cut scenes can be mostly entertaining, though the quick-time events are a bit too kiddy for an otherwise adult game. In the end, this is at best a bargain bin buy or a weekend rental for those who love all things ninja and have played everything else. The final verdict for “Ninja Blade” is that it could have been so much more if given enough time, which earns it two out of six toggles.

IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT OF Microsoft Games and From Software.

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