Tenchu: Return from Darkness (Xbox)

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Written by  :  Mike Hanson (312)
Written on  :  Nov 04, 2009
Platform  :  Xbox
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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There's nothing quite as satisfying as a good stealth kill....

The Good

What's not to like? Huge free-roaming open plan levels containing your various objectives, but most importantly, lots and lots of not-very-clever, willing victims to maim and murder in the stylish manner of your choosing.

It doesn't get much better than leaning over a rooftop to watch your prey wandering around his guard post, then raining down gruesome and utterly satisfying death from above!

The Bad

Ok, ok, so the game is pretty much variants on this theme, and the other Tenchu games were pretty much variants on this theme too, so I suppose the quality of the gaming experience here is dependent on just how much you like sneaking up and killing stupid bad guys.

There's another thing... Tenchu on the PS1 was a ground breaker. Though its graphics were pretty grim by todays headdy standards, the game idea was unique and exquisite. For the first time (...well, arguably since Spiderman Vs The Kingpin), the player felt genuinely agile, whipping dynamically through the air, sliding along walls, creeping over rafters... and did I mention the stealth killing??

Now, dressed up in nicer graphics, it all looks a bit tired.

The Bottom Line

This version of tenchu was, I think the best balance of that genius stealth system from the ps1, with nicely upgraded graphics and extra control tricks. Having never played the game which this was an expansion of (it was on a different console) I probably saw this game for its best features and it did feel like a great progression from the first two Tenchu PS1 games.

Having played Tenchu Z on my 360, I can now see that the games progress very slowly in terms of their presentation and little control and atmospheric innovations. For this reason, I think that the tenchu games are probably best dipped into periodically, say, every 2-3 games, for the best experience.