The Ninja Blade trailer promised improbable and impossible over-the-top action going from swinging between buildings to surfing a missile in mid-air. In other words an abundance of acrobatics, but does the trailer really show what the game is all about or are we going to be playing yet another Ninja Gaiden 2 clone?
In Ninja Blade you’ll be taking on the role of Ken Ogawa, a modern-day ninja who’s part of an elite squad called to life to stop the spreading of a new, dangerous kind of parasite. The source of the infection is located in central Tokyo where the disease is spreading rapidly. Both people and animals are mutating into ugly, bloodthirsty monstrosities of all shapes and sizes. Think about Fragland-member Speed while trying to imagine the horrific sight of such a monster! It’s up to you and your companions to settle things and stop these beasts in their tracks.
Although the story doesn’t offer a lot of depth which renders it quite hard to get dragged along with this tale called Ninja Blade, there are still a number of things, like the exaggerated action and aero/acrobatics promised in the trailer and the immensely rapid succession of high velocity fights with the necessary amount of visual effects , will keep you busy for a couple of hours. The game doesn’t give you a moments rest. It sends you from one combat situation to another and about every cut-scene is loaded with Quick-Time Events where you’ll have to press the right button in the right time which requires you to remain focused on the screen during the entire game.
What strikes me with astonishment is the fact that these Quick-Time Events, which we know from games like God of War 2 and Heavenly Sword, are listed as a unique feature to this game. Like that wasn’t bad enough, these QTE’s return far too often (I didn’t exaggerate when saying about every cut scene was loaded with them) which starts to get very irritating after a couple of times. The good thing though, is that you can easily retry when pushing the wrong button.
Luckily there are other aspects in Ninja Blade which offer enough variation like the arsenal of weapons and the different moves you can execute. Three swords (a normal katana, a set of smaller swords for the quick attacks and a massive blade for the distribution of your average heavy blows) and a small amount of magical powers offer enough firepower and possibilities to take on the army of Speed’s, euh, zombie-thingies and solve simple puzzles. Also, if you ever find yourself in the situation where you have no clue of where to go next, there’s always Ninja Vision to help you a bit. It shows you the right path to follow by painting certain objects in the beautiful environments with a blue color. It tells you which wall you can run, which wall to crack, … Apart from showing you where to go next, it also slows down everything in your surroundings which doesn’t only make it useful in combat, but it also allows you to overcome certain obstacles with greater ease as you maintain your normal speed.
Ninja Blade is everything but a bad game, but it’s nothing innovating either. On about every aspect we can say it’s “average” except when the overdone action and extreme spectacle comes into play because that’s where Ninja Blade tends to rule them all. It’s a fun game to play, but the weak storyline and the no-more-than-average and not really original gameplay aren’t really inviting you for a re-run either.