SummaryOne of the Xbox's best
The GoodAs trite as the phrase is, this game is an instant classic. It came out for the Xbox in 2004 and will go down in its history as one of the system's best for reasons of stellar gameplay and gorgeous graphics.
The in-game graphics are fantastic as anyone who's played it knows. Ryu moves realistically and fights fast and furiously. The polygons are bright, beautifully textured and varied.
The cut scene graphics are absolutely stunning. They rival Hollywood.
The game is a hack 'n' slash with some RPG elements such as upgradable weapons and magic. But mostly it's about taking your sword to the bad guys within the empire.
And the playing is intense. This game is not a walk in the park. AI is advanced and only gets better. It took me several attempts to even get past the first boss. Fortunately, if you stick with it long enough, patterns will emerge and you'll get quite good at dodging.
The storyline is decent, but like with many games (especially those translated from another language), I couldn't always follow the specifics of the plot.
Weapons are numerous and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. It's the usual amalgamation of heavy but slow, fast but weak. Power up enough times and you can have some really fierce fighting tools.
The throwables are also worth mentioning. There are many types of arrows and throwing stars along the way.
Plus, being in a ninja is a pretty sweet concept and Team Ninja gets it right. There's not much stealth involved, but rather careful timing and precise button pushing that will save your day and your village.
The BadI'll admit it - it's too hard in parts. Actually, I never completed the game until I got Ninja Gaiden Black so I could play it on Ninja Dog mode. I hang my head in shame. But for the average player who can't spend all that time slicing swords, the level of difficulty really diminishes the ultimate fun factor.
A word - on Xbox 360, the game suffers from sever slowdown. It's like playing in slow motion.
The Bottom LineThis game is fast, action-packed and a lot of fun to play. The difficulty level is high, but many will accept the challenge heartily. Even for those who can't quite cut it for some of the battles will come away appreciating the level of detail and smooth action this game offers.
As far as ninja games go, no one holds a candle. Take the cool parts of the first Tenchu and times it by 100. That's the Xbox's Ninja Gaiden.
An excellent title by any standards. This is one game who will stand the test of time.