There was a day a couple months ago when I knew something different was going on the world of Xbox. I knew this because when I got up in the morning I could smell the stink of thousands of Halo fanboy’s crapping in their pants. Why this day? Why were they all so scared? And then it hit me. Ninja Gaiden had just come out and totally blown all their fanboy minds. The Xbox Community asked for a Halo killer and Team Ninja Delivered.
Graphics: NVIDIA/ATI who? That is the question you will be asking after seeing the amazing graphics in this game. Simply put these are the best textures and pixels to ever grace a console. They rival the top of the line graphics we are seeing in games like Far Cry and Painkiller. The best part about Ninja Gaiden is that not every level blows you away. Simple city streets are kept that way, simple. But when a 3 story Demon rises up out of the gound to take your head off you will be in awe of just how awesome it looks. And just wait till the last level when you get to the Tower of XXXX. You will be amazed by the eyeball room and the what I can only call, the fetus room. The graphics are simply off the hook. And that is not even considering the CGI movies, which are better than anything I have seen on the big screen when it comes to CGI.
Controls/Game play: When I played the Demo I was really worried about the way the camera interfaced with Ryu, but once I sat down and played the game I was completely at ease. The camera is very easy to pan about and also adjust itself great. There was probably only 3 times in 20 hours plus of game time that I had any problems with the camera.
The buttons are nicely laid out. All your jumps and attacks are really at your fingertips.
To go along with this, this game is really all about combos and stringing together multiple hits to really annihilate your enemies. But don’t think for a second this is a simple button masher. If you can’t pull off some of the advanced moves like XXXX, and XXXXX, you really aren’t going to make it very far. I should of talked about this in the Graphics part, but the spells that you pull off in this game are amazing looking, and quite easy to do. My favorite is the XXXX. This is where bolts of electricity fill Ryu and then burst out of him destroying his enemies.
The only downside of game play is some of the levels are highly frustrating, they either have swarms of enemies heading your way or on the last level a lame timed escape from
a cavern or you will plummet to your doom. Another gripe I had towards the end of the game was the “ghost fish” that swarm 10 at time and suck the life out of you. However there are easy ways around them. I have heard some people complain that the bosses are too hard. Well that is true but that is what makes them awesome. Don’t you remember the classic boss battles from Contra, Castlevania and MegaMan. Today’s video games have bosses that are too easy. So Team Ninja went old school and brought back the classic boss battles from the late 80’s and early 90’s. And I for one am glad they did!
Well I will be honest with you. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on the whole time. The gist of what I got was that Ryu was part of a Ninja Clan that had kept and defended the Dark Dragon Blade for 1,000 of years and then one day it was stolen by the Demon Doku, who wanted to bring to the Vigooran Emperor. The whole subplot involving the Demon Slayer and her sister were a little confusing to me. And what exactly is a Fiend and what exactly is there role in the Ninja Gaiden story? Other things that confused me is did Ryu die after act one? If so, who resurrected him? Also what time period did this take place in? Sometimes the only weapons would be from feudal Japan and other you would see full loaded shock-troopers with nigh vision goggles? Oh wait it’s just a videogame I think I am asking too many questions. However I did appreciate the surprise ending. Play the game and let me know if you saw that one coming or not….
Verdict :: 8/10
Overall Verdict:: 9/10
Overall I would say that Prince of Persia was my Game of the Year for 2003 and so far Ninja Gaiden is my Game of the Year for 2004. A absolute blast to play and return to old school boss battles makes this a winner for me. Last of all let me say that I am not a Ninja Gaiden fanboy. Just because I like to go around telling people that the correct pronunciation of Ryu is Ree-U not the American pronunciation of Riii-u that doesn’t make me a fanboy I swear! Anyway….go out and pick this game up today if you haven’t already………and try no to flame me too much