Ninja Gaiden - game review
Ninja Gaiden is perfect ... well, maybe almost perfect. Yes, I could start and finish this text and it would be perfectly honest on my part. Fortunately or unfortunately, the reviewer's task is to justify his or her phrases better or worse, so in spite of inborn laziness I will continue.
NG has been written for a long time and probably there were no X'owie (female version is probably iXica) who would not wait for this title. Screens and trailers dosed kindly by Tecmo burned their eyes, and the first question that arose was - is all this really counted in real time? The atmosphere was heated by constantly shifting the release date of the game. When spring finally came and I got it in my sticky hands, everything else ceased to be important. I was wondering if I am able to assess this game objectively, because I have devilish weakness for games where the characters are masked guys in black clothes, but not in the version where they attack with a thundercloth and die extensively (I also exclude the green option with shells on the back), and rather when we can play the role of old ninja warriors. Long to mention ... Shadow Dancer, The Last Ninja or even the first Tenchu is an absolute classic. Ninja Gaiden also belongs to her, but unfortunately the 8-bit version was not lucky to come to Polish homes for a simple reason - the NES console, as well as its super successor, have never gained the level of computer popularity in our country. Created by Team Ninja ninja experts, the latest installment in this series, finally gives us the opportunity to get to know the adventures of Ryu Hayabusa.
X'owie could with Ryu (or rather with his fists or soles of shoes) get to know better when playing Dead or Alive 3. In NG he is the main character, which of course does not mean that there is no more references to the DoA universe. We have similar colors, and some locations clearly reveal the inspiration of those in which DoA fighters fought; Ayane is also a guest star. From the side of the story NG will not disappoint, no ninja fan - we have everything, betrayal, magic swords, clan fights, although generally after each of these words, to paraphrase the advertisement of a certain beer, you can repeat "invalid". The only thing that is really important in NG is - here this expression deserves explicit emphasis and should be spoken out loud and respectfully - threshing. Threshing you have not yet witnessed and you may not experience for a long time. It has probably reached your ears earlier that the PAL version has a somewhat depleted level of brutality, yes, this and that has been cut off and I personally consider this to be extreme discrimination, but may God's hand defend you against abstaining from buying NG for this reason. The lack of several fireworks does not change the picture, which is simply fantastic.
In Ninja Gaiden we do not sneak - there is no need because we shred opponents, thresh, cut, chop - we obviously do not take prisoners. Ryu can do a lot - he can run on the walls like a familiar prince from Persia, roll, climb, swim and above all perform activities related to the butcher's face - throw shurikens, shoot a bow and make a salad using a huge arsenal. For most of the game we use a sword (Dragon Sword), in time we will get a nunchaku, and its wonderful version consisting of two ice axes connected by a chain. There is also a war hammer and numerous varieties of swords, shurikens and arrows - we can all improve it for cash. The developers made sure that nothing disturbs us in hacking - the controls are intuitive and a skillful player after a few hours will develop the tactics of fast, brutal attacks on opponents. Despite the fact that there are always more or many enemies, the best defense is usually an attack. Mindless attack, however, will most often end with the word Game Over, because in NG there is a snag I have not mentioned yet: the game is devilishly demanding. I deliberately did not use the word difficult, because in the case of NG our success and the tactics used really determine the success. The game leaves no margin - it is not possible to slip through the next chapter into a virtual movement - only the biggest tough guys will survive, and after killing the next boss you will really feel like winners. Fortunately, the authors do not torment us all the time and in many places we have the freedom to carelessly break up. The number of blows and combo combinations freely matches the murderous ones and allows you to develop your own, even very advanced, combat tactics. To further increase Ryu's pacifist ability to do good, he was equipped with Ninpo's offensive magic, which we can develop like weapons.
If you can stick to something in NG this is a camera, sometimes we just lose our hero from the screen, after a few hours of game we come to the conclusion that it was intended by the authors - the action in NG is set at such a crazy pace that we will bless the solution chosen by guests from Team Ninja.
Despite the constant rupture, Ninja Gaiden does not tire - and the game is really long because it lasts calmly over 20 hours. Yes, 20 hours of massacre, which is never enough. The game is divided into 16 chapters in a similar way to Devil May Cry, we sometimes come back to places we've already been to. Few titles, however, can boast of such a well-structured game environment - from the ninja fortress, through the village to the magnificent city of Tairon, even for a moment we will not feel bored, and we will be kept in the mental state of many puzzles. In NG, despite the fact that the motif of destruction clearly stands out, there are plenty of adventure elements - sometimes you have to put something somewhere, smash something, shoot something - all this, however, is gracefully balanced and never over-absorbing. As I mentioned in the game, we can improve our arsenal of weapons thanks to the chain of stores by paying with money obtained from pacified enemies. The seller will reward us additionally if we deliver scarabs - artifacts, hidden in different parts of the levels.
Yes, I know, I didn't say a word about the graphics, and that's a sin, because Ninja Gaiden is one of the best-looking Xbox games. What does it mean? Well, that you will not see in NG any fuzzy textures and the game will not get hiccups when a swarm of enemies invades you. The character of Ryu is wonderfully animated, his every move is rendered perfectly - and the eyes fall out of the eye sockets when he begins to grind with a nunchak. The game is played in the third person, but there are cases when we have to look around, then the right analogue can switch to the first person mode (in this mode, however, you can not move). In the first person we also shoot with a bow. The locations are bursting with colors, details, and seemingly unimportant trifles, creating a specific and credible game environment. Most importantly, graphics in NG have a style - admittedly borrowed from DoA3, but it is a style that is immediately recognizable and is slowly becoming the trademark of Team Ninja. The lighting effects are not as prominent as those of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, but incorporated into the game environment make a staggering impression. Our enemies, most often "evil" ninja or various monsters, are refined no worse than Ryu - but bosses make the biggest impression - believe me, such rendered bosses had no game before NG. Pre-rendered interludes are made at a level that does not differ from the achievements of Squaresoft - that is sensational. Also the sound is world-class - steel jaws, explosions, arrows - everything sounds great and realistic, maybe the authors could be tempted to use the possibilities of Dolby Digital a bit more daring. Listening simply gives the impression that the authors have not put so much work into this element of the game as even graphics. With such dynamic action, you are asking for stars and arrows whistling around the room. Music plays a strictly illustrative role and the soundtrack is not particularly memorable, although it must be admitted that it is very diverse. There are many songs and everyone blends in perfectly with the surroundings.
Ninja Gaiden must, absolutely must have every Xbox owner. I recommend it not only to lovers of fight, but definitely to all players - it's just too good and too beautiful to miss it. I would venture to say that it is even better than the excellent Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Ninja Gaiden left a pleasant feeling of satiety (never overeating), and after finishing PoP, I still wanted more. For lucky players who have access to Xbox Live, the game offers the opportunity to participate in the Master Ninja Tournament. In addition, NG supports widescreen screens, PAL60 mode and, as I mentioned before, surround sound for DD5.1 sets.
There are no absolutely perfect games, but there are ones that are almost perfect. Team Ninja and their work have already secured a place at the Olympics among the best of the best.