Ninja Gaiden is back and this time on the PS3, in glorious HD. But is it worth parting with your cash to embark on this ninja epic? We grab our shuriken and find out.
First up, it is useful to know that this is actually a remake of the 2004 Xbox game Ninja Gaiden Black, but now benefiting from all the glory of Sony’s next-gen console. Played in full HD, the graphics are glorious, supporting the face-paced combat action and a fully immersive 3D environment. The first-person view allows you to survey your environment, but often you’ll not have the chance before your enemy is upon you. It does look stunning, but it is firmly aiming for that Japanese animated, rather than cinematic, look, and you’ll notice that some of the bad guys have muscles that don’t even attempt to look realistic.
Movement is one of the real winners in Gaiden – you can jump, flip and roll all over the place and when these moves are incorporated into combat you realise what some directors are trying to achieve with their movies. The combat itself is critical – although this is a platform-esque game, if you can’t fight, you can’t progress. You need to master the combat system to keep yourself alive. That said, Gaiden is fiendishly difficult from the outset, so you need to expect to die.
Unfortunately you will find that your “Continue” takes you back a bit, so you’ll probably have to repeat a number of steps to get back to where you where, which can be frustrating. Unless you are really going to play this a lot, if soon becomes irritating, as you repeatedly make your way back to fight the end of level boss.
There are puzzles along the way, but more often than not, you’ve solved it before you knew it was a puzzle – or you’ll miss something and find yourself back and searching for a missing key. This is not really what the game is about, and the same can be said about the plot, in reality, this is about slashing and hacking. This is a glorious amount of blood too, but it seems to vanish once you leave and re-enter as room. Shame, as this could be really gory!
As to making a buying decision, you need to be a real gamer before embarking on this epic. If you have the time to learn the system and the patience to become a master, then it comes highly recommended. If, however, you prefer something that you can dip in and out of then you’ll not get much satisfaction from Gaiden because it is a tough slog.