Tokyo’s already a very strange place but it’s made even stranger in this game when a parasite called the Alpha Worm decides to infest human beings and turn them and other creatures such as spiders and birds into savage mutants.
For some reason, ninjas are called upon to save the day and you begin your quest as modern-day ninja Ken Ogawa by diving out of a plane. From there the action doesn’t really let up as you chop up your enemies and do lots of ninja stuff you’d expect. Think of this game as a cross between God of War, Ninja Gaiden and Prince of Persia.
Let’s begin with the combat. Attacks are performed with basic button combos and you have three swords to choose from. There’s the standard katana, some speedy dual swords with wires attached which you can use to grapple across large gaps and a big heavy sword for smashing through shields and some enemies’ armoured shells. You also have a shuriken you can throw to harm enemies or to put out flames. As long as you choose the right weapon for the right bad guy, combat’s just a case of mashing buttons and avoiding attacks with normal enemies, and learning patterns and targeting weak spots of bosses using your ‘ninja vision’.
And you’d better like quick time events because this game’s got tonnes of them. Cut scenes are punctuated with a close-up of Ken’s eye which warns you you’ll have to press a button and then you’re into some very cool over-the-top action sequences which there are plenty of. In fact, there’s almost too much of it. Luckily, if you do miss a button you don’t die – the action just rewinds a bit Prince of Persia-style to give you another go in an instant. You can also run along and up walls like the Prince as well.
As you progress you can also upgrade your weapons with blood crystals from downed enemies which provides an element of growth as you hammer though. There’s no online play but you can unlock some silly costumes to play though in if that’s your kind of thing.
Ninja Blade is very derivative but it is great fun whilst it lasts and is certainly great to look at when Ken’s doing all his quick time event stuff. It gets 7 out of 10.
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