Ninja Blade is an arcade styled third person action-adventure game, developed by From Software and released on the Xbox this January. But this review is based on the PC port of the game, released on the 20th of November. Every time someone ports a console game, no matter how good it was on it’s original platform, the game takes a deep breath and prepares for the load of poo that’s about to drop on his head. But what happens to a game, rated as mediocre(at most) by most popular video game reviewers? This is exactly the case.
Ninja Blade takes high doses of Ninja Gaiden, a pinch of Devil May Cry and a tad of God of War. The result? The game lacks innovation.. big time. But wait, that’s not all. Believe it or not, I found the battle system in this game to be too simple and basic. Especially compared to the games it so gently steals from. Ninja Blade is also repetitive, annoying and just plain cookie. Am I going too fast? So is the game!
Ninja Blade tells the story of a hi-tech ninja called Ken(?!) who’s apparently a member of some hi-tech organization. Did I forget to mention the story? Don’t blame me, it’s so cliche! The idea of it is that some sort of a virus has crawled throughout the land and found it’s way to modern Tokyo. The population pretty much went zombie and it’s up to Ken to clean all this up. Why? Don’t know, don’t care. The minimum amount of characters you’ll meet in the game are also highly illogical. And – you guessed it – highly unnoticeable. Not that Ken is something different. The guy’s a poser. But not a cool kind of poser like Dante, for example, but a lame, Ryu Hayabusa wanna-be poser. He tries so hard to be cool that From Software would go along fine if they described the story as dramatic and sad. Ken has all sorts of godly abilities gifted to him such as seeing things in slow motion, jumping from helicopters, wielding enormous swords and pretty much doing anything a ninja is not supposed to do.
The core of Ninja Blade is the over-the-top action, the kind you’ve seen from popular B-Movies. Ken doesn’t just kill zombified monsters. He kills zombified monsters with style. This is one of the best things about the entire game. Ken performs even the most grotesque of killings with grace, brutality, acrobatics and swords. These downright stunning action scenes are so well made, that they will pump your adrenaline to dangerously high doses. Unfortunately, the rest of the gameplay is very repetitive, but still stylish, hack and slash. But even at it’s most impressive of scenes, Ninja Blade manages to throw something at you which ruins the fun. Namely: quick time events. Ninja Blade doesn’t just copy the idea. It doesn’t just exploit it. It overuses it to point, where watching grass grow fills you with joy. Just as long as you don’t do anymore quick time events. But no matter how much you beg, squirm and cry, Ninja Blade won’t stop. Just when you finally clear and area and sit to enjoy the otherwise interesting cinematics and pop – press this, or that, or this, now all three at once. You missed? Don’t worry. Just start over. This also serves as a reminder that From Software hates you and your entire family. It also spoils an otherwise great part of the game – the boss battles. These confrontations really are great, thrill packed and stylish. Especially with Ken’s ability to finish bosses with a stylish action sequence. Still, far too often will you be prompted to press a button just when you finally get the HP of the spider boss to critically low.
After everything I’ve said, you still want the game? Great. Just as long as you don’t get the PC version. Why? Simple – the port is awful. Whoever ported the game(didn’t even bother checking) felt like their doing too much work already. Why should they bother changing the in-game messages? PC Gamers know that when we say “Saving, please don’t turn off your console”, we mean their personal computer. And why bother changing the buttons in the many tutorial screens? They’ll just take a minute to visit the controls menu and remember which joystick key responds to which keyboard button. And if they forget, they’ll just visit the controls again. And why bother optimizing everything? They’re already playing something I’d never play, why not just play a slideshow. For the sake of everything, the console version of the game had one very big problem – it had no autosave feature, or anything like that. Which means that every time they quit the game, they had to start over, until they complete the mission(which is mostly likely more than an hour long). This, of course, pissed everyone. And guess what – it’s not fixed.
The graphics of the game are steady. Dark and repetitive. If you’ve seen one level, you’ve seen them all. But the effects are at a nice level, the characters are well animated. The soundtrack on the other hand is annoying. The music features some horrible tunes, which I wouldn’t use for anything other than an alarm clock. The sound effects are nice, some are boring, the voice acting is at a standard level.
When developing Ninja Blade, From Software obviously were to inspired by Ninja Gaiden. Nothing wrong with that. But the mish-mash they did with everything might drive you into a state of extreme annoyance. Ninja Blade is truly a poor man’s Ninja Gaiden. Don’t get it, unless you’re just looking for somewhere to waste a few hours in over-the-top action.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com