|System: Xbox 360, PS3*, PC|
|Dev: Team Ninja, Spark Unlimited, Comcept|
|Pub: Tecmo Koei|
|Release: March 18, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language|
Ninja Gaiden Z also has this interesting elemental interaction system which has its high and low points. Sometimes, you’ll need to throw zombies into electrical transformers, or use a flame spewing zombies explosion to blow up a cracked wall. That’s actually kind of cool, and puts a violent spin on the Zelda-esque tradition of using item Y to surpass obstacle Z. Unfortunately, it’s in battle that these interactions become problematic, as firestorms erupt out of nowhere, explosions knock you around like a sandbag, and all sorts of hazards pop in with no warning. In the best case scenario, these hazards tear apart your enemies without you having to do any work… which is boring. In the worst case scenario, these hazards kill you, which is frustrating.
The fixed camera is also problematic. You’ll frequently find yourself beating up on enemies that are off screen. Other times, you’ll find that enemies themselves hide Yaiba from the camera. At this point you are fighting blind and all you can really do is button mash.
Finally, the game’s tendency to beset you with hordes of zombies simply doesn’t work in its favor. The technology for these huge zombie fights just isn’t there. The game frequently slows down, even with a few zombies on screen. At higher difficulties, the game can slow to a crawl. This is inexcusable in a Ninja Gaiden game, where you are supposed to feel like a lightning fast murder machine.
Frankly, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is a game that wasn’t really needed. We never needed a dark and gritty take on an already dark and gritty franchise. Honestly, you could have made this a Mad World sequel, or even its own IP and it would probably come across better than being marketed as a Ninja Gaiden game. Its vulgar attitude just doesn’t mesh with the franchise and its shallow gameplay is disappointing to anyone who devoted hours of their life to mastering a Ninja Gaiden hard run. At points, mowing down mob after mob of zombies is enjoyable, but more often than not it’s frustrating. It’s not the worst action game on the market right now, but it’s certainly not a must own title, especially if you are a Ninja Gaiden fan.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: March 18, 2014