Ninja Blade Review
Ninja Blade box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: From Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 7, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

While the platforming is not challenging at all - the inclusion of Ninja Vision means you'll never get stuck - it does keep the pacing up at a significant clip. In fact, most of the game, taking advantage of optimized controls, is not particularly difficult. Most action gamers will have no problems - except for a few sections - getting through this game on Normal difficulty, though Hard definitely amps up both the skill and frustration factors. Mixing up the platforming and action elements just a bit are turret, vehicle, and vertical sequences. While shooting guns from a helicopters and joy riding in motorcycles may not be ideal, falling down a building at terminal velocity, hacking your way through infected Oni is a true visual treat!

Ninja Blade screenshot

Speaking of striking visuals, the graphics in Ninja Blade are very competent indeed. Taking a cue from the latest Ninja Gaiden, textures are shiny and detailed, the environments are cleanly depicted, the action and speed is captured superbly, and the multitude of bosses are cleverly designed and awe-inspiring. Additionally, the load of in-engine cinemas is truly beautiful to behold. All these factors combine to provide a breathtaking, cinematic experience throughout. Equally as solid is the caliber of music, sounds, and voice acting. Battles and cutscenes are truly enhanced by the score and ambient effects, while the voice work is certainly in the upper echelon. I especially liked the option to toggle the bilingual voice track option; while players can choose to listen to Ninja Blade in either English or Japanese, there is a hybridized option that steals the show. Essentially, players will get a mix of English and Japanese that melds perfectly together. The developers obviously took their time matching the English and Japanese voice tracks to one another. The result is voice work that is outright compelling.

Outside of the attractive, boss-filled single-player campaign, there isn't a whole lot to do. Players can collect a bunch of character clothing and other customizing bits strewn throughout the levels, though. Also, every level - much like in Ninja Gaiden - ends in mission results. Improving your completion time, increasing the amount of Blood Crystals you gathered, and collecting all the Health and Chi pieces as well as Shinobi Moji may motivate players to try their skills at the game several more times. Additionally, scores and personal bests can be uploaded to the supported leaderboards in order to measure yourself against the rest of the world.

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In the end, Ninja Blade is an excellent action game that fans of the genre will love. Of course, many - including my peers in the industry - may scoff at this title's similarities to Ninja Gaiden and even God of War. Still, action fans owe it to themselves to keep an open mind and at least download the demo. If you absolutely abhor QTE mechanics, know that Ninja Blade is full of the stuff. However, the implementation of the QTEs is done exceptionally well; I typically loathe the mechanic but found it immensely enjoyable in Ninja Blade. If you consider yourself a hardcore action hound, Ninja Blade offers up challenge in a delightful package that'll keep you busy as you patiently wait for God of War 3.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
The character designs are outstanding and the entire package is crisp and detailed.
4.5
Control
The controls are as smooth as butter; they may actually take some of the challenge out of certain aspects.
4.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The hybridized Japanese and English voice track is especially outstanding, and the music and sound effects aren't too shabby either.
4.0
Play Value
You've done this all before several times, and the QTEs may discourage many. However, this is a classy bit of gaming action fans really should take out for a spin.
4.2
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Unique ninja abilities. To help defeat the genetically mutated monsters, players will have the special abilities of Ninja Vision and Todomé Attack at their fingertips. Enabling Ninja Vision will allow players to detect and analyze potential enemy weak points, secret paths and hidden information within the environment.
  • Variety of weapons, tools and Ninjutsu - specialized Ninja powers - offer an enticing array of options. Varied environments force players to think strategically about which set of weapons and tools will be most effective at conquering their way through different levels.
  • Interactive quick-time events. Scattered throughout integral parts of the storyline, characters will come across various quick-time events where players will have the opportunity to directly interact with in-game cut scenes. Quick reflexes will be rewarded as players interact with controller buttons as directed on screen during intense battles.
  • Modern realism. Ninja Blade offers a fresh twist to the classic ninja saga by basing all 3-D gaming maps directly from the actual skyscrapers and building tops in modern-day Tokyo.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HD).


  • Screenshots / Images
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