Ninja Blade is the Microsoft published action game developed by From Software and exclusive to the Xbox 360. Is it a Ninja Gaiden 2 rip-off or does it do enough different to create its own identity?
Ninja Blade is in a lot of ways similar to Ninja Gaiden 2. The slice and dice gameplay feels very familiar if you have played NG2. The controls in Ninja Blade are fairly simple. You use the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ buttons for most of your moves. The ‘B’ Button is used for the various types of Ninjitsu you get throughout the game. Pressing ‘B’ fires it off straight away and holding ‘B’ enables you to aim it at a specific target easier. The Ninjitsu gets you out of sticky situations where there are a lot of enemies on screen and it is also used to put out fires and smash barriers. The weapons in Ninja Blade are not as extensive as NG2, but there is enough to keep things interesting. The big difference between NB & NG2 is the use of QTE’s (Quick Time Events). Luckily in Ninja Blade, QTE’s are done extremely well. They usually occur at the beginning of a mission and when you encounter the various bases throughout the missions. QTE’s are slowed down cinematics of gameplay that prompts you to press the correct button or the correct direction in order for you to perform the appropriate task. These scenes look awesome and add a different element to the game. The good or bad thing about QTE’s, depending on your point of view is that if you stuff a button or directional press up, it rewinds to the start of the QTE and allows you to do it again. Most QTE’s last between 30 to 60 seconds. The other difference between NB & NG2 is that you face more bosses in Ninja Blade. Boss fights occur 2-3 times per mission and one would assume that the reason for the extra bosses compared to NG2 is to utilize the QTE’s feature.
The main critism of Ninja Gaiden 2 was its difficulty. Ninja Blade is definitely challenging but not as tough as NG2. This results in Ninja Blade being more accessible to the casual gamer, while still being a challenge for hardcore gamers. One big gripe I do have with Ninja Blade is the lack of save points during missions. There are checkpoints, but if you don’t complete a mission in one sitting you start at the beginning of the mission next time you come to play Ninja Blade.
Ninja Blade looks fantastic. Everything is well detailed. The QTE’s really show off Ninja Blade’s graphical strengths. The bosses you encounter are huge, highly detailed and just look plain scary.
Ninja Blade’s sound is fairly simplistic and below NG2’s standards. The sound effects of sword slicing through bodies are satisfactory. The music is atmospheric and the speech during cut scenes is solid.
Although Ninja Blade will constantly be compared to Ninja Gaiden 2, it is a great action title in its own right and is different enough to NG2 to warrant a purchase even if you already own Ninja Gaiden 2.
Great QTE’s coupled with good action gameplay and smooth, easy to handle controls make Ninja Blade a fun and addictive experience. The lack of in mission save points can be a big frustration.
Better than Ninja Gaiden 2 and better than most third person action games out there. Gorgeous QTE’s.
Nothing special, nothing really bad.
Although not quite as good as Ninja Gaiden 2, Ninja Blade is a great action title and another 360 exclusive you can be proud of.
Reviewed & Written By: Craig Cirillo