01 February 2010
My room is dark and my headphones are snug. Ninja Blade opens before me and I am ready to give this title my undivided attention. A dramatic opening on the drop ship leads to a surprisingly fast quick time sequence (hitting the right button when prompted to let the cinematic action unfold) and then I crash through a skyscraper window and prepare to dispatch some hideous bad guys.
Much sooner than I expect a mini-boss climbs up the side of the building and onto the killing floor. More hack and slash, more button sequences, more bad guys.
I’m into this game only five minutes and I’m already doing a lot more than the typical tutorial and backstory that slows too many games down from the start.
And that’s how it goes with Ninja Blade, a fast and fun game by From Software that successfully brings a variety of gameplay elements to the XBOX 360 with polish and excitement. Having a darkened room and good headphones help — as they would with any game. Immersion is a guarantee with this set up. And the game deserves it. The graphics are crisp and the sound rocks.
It’s easy to compare the gameplay to other titles, so that’s what I’ll do. First you’re given a little God of War with the button timing. Then it’s more Kratos — or Conan, I’ve always thought the Conan slasher was underrated — with the swordplay. A bit of Prince of Persia comes in with some wall runs and jumps and then the sequence repeats. Haters will point to these other games as superior examples for their respective gameplay elements.
But haters always hate. Why there are so many haters in the gaming community is a topic for another column, but I’m not one of them. I’ll take a game on its own terms and its ability to bring a good time to my console.
By Victor Paul Alvarez