Ninja Blade Screenshot

Dangerously close to RPG overload, I'm proud to say that I put it in high gear and pushed through to the end of Divinity II the other day. I didn't complete the game with 100% (which would actually be an enormously huge amount of content to get through) but I did earn the last few levels I needed to put myself past the insta-death threshold during the final battle and credits rolled. (Look for the full review soon.)

In the meantime, I decided to go in a completely different direction for the last few days prior to Mass Effect 2's release (WOO!) and start getting caught up on my action titles. The first one in the queue was FromSoft's Ninja Blade, and it's a hell of a thing.

Although I've heard some people call it a "poor man's Ninja Gaiden", that's an awfully dismissive and lazy way of describing it. (Especially since Ninja Gaiden SUCKS.) From where I'm standing, Blade is a much more approachable and exciting experience than anything Itagaki's ever turned out, and I will take Ken Ogawa over Ryu Hayabusa any day.

The game takes place in a parasite-infested Japan where evil worms have violated the citizenry and turned them all into various sorts of growling, drippy mutants. Following a bizarre sort of logic, the only force capable of cleansing the country are a group of super-ninjas who take on the biggest and baddest creatures roaming loose. Suffice it to say, this game is not trying to shed light on the human condition or bring any serious issues to the table… it's all about completely insane, extreme balls-out action and unbelievably over-the-top set pieces that explode with adrenaline.

The graphics are fantastic, the action controls well, there's lots of variety and the game also sports lots of little touches that help push it over the top for me… things like being able to completely customize the colors of the main character's costume, the slo-mo flip as he leaps out of a wall-run, and the way From has implemented Quick-Time Events (QTEs) in order to deliver some of the most absurdly awesome action sequences I've ever seen.

Although some may be put off by the number of QTEs, any game that lets me ride a motorcycle in freefall, jump it off of airborne cars and crash it into a flying school bus in order to incinerate the inside of a worm the size of a skyscraper can include as many QTEs as it wants to. I'm not done with Ninja Blade yet, but so far it's a massive, smoking, shuriken-throwing thumbs-up.

Just a couple other quick notes before I sign out for the evening… I got the chance to spend a few minutes with Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes on DS, and from what little I saw, I definitely wanted to see more. I would have, in fact, except that the wife also liked it and immediately laid claim… also, Dark Void was released this week. It's definitely been one of the titles I've been most looking forward to, so the amount of negative reviews it's gotten has been pretty disheartening.

As one of the people I follow on Twitter quipped this morning, hopefully this will be another Bionic Commando situation: most reviewers seem to hate it, but the ones who really know what's up recognize that it's a quality title, and well worth the attention. We hope, anyway…

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway has been gaming since the days when arcades were everywhere and the Atari 2600 was cutting edge. So, like... A while.

Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.

Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.

Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway
Brad Gallaway

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21 Comments on "Ninja Blade is pretty sharp"

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ZippyDSMlee
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6 years 8 months ago
[quote=Brad Gallaway][quote=ZippyDSMlee]Before I start….wheres my next gen shadow tower and Kings filed damnit>?!?!?!?!?!!?[/quote] Your next-gen Shadow Tower/King’s Field is called Demon’s Souls and it’s awesome. = ) [/quote] You mean ass cam bastard child……. >> I want my classic wonky FP adventure games damnnit….western stuff has de-evolved to shoulder’n’azz cam crap…… *sigh* [quote] Not sure who you’re asking, but I haven’t played Bayonetta yet. No official opinion on that one at this time. ; ) [/quote] Oh I thought you said you hated the demo,might have been someone else πŸ˜› Well its a DMC clone but its not that bad.… Read more »
Brad Gallaway
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Brad Gallaway
6 years 8 months ago
[quote=ZippyDSMlee]Before I start….wheres my next gen shadow tower and Kings filed damnit>?!?!?!?!?!!?[/quote] Your next-gen Shadow Tower/King’s Field is called Demon’s Souls and it’s awesome. = ) [quote=ZippyDSMlee]Ok so you like this over the top game but not the one with female lead?[/quote] Not sure who you’re asking, but I haven’t played Bayonetta yet. No official opinion on that one at this time. ; ) [quote=ZippyDSMlee]Mmmmmm Soylent commando was not necessarily bad, the story was and some of the level layout was… the gimmick old school weapons didnt work so well either… I’d rather it be a more polished FPS set… Read more »
ZippyDSMlee
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6 years 8 months ago
Before I start….wheres my next gen shadow tower and Kings filed damnit>?!?!?!?!?!!? Ok so you like this over the top game but not the one with female lead? Whatever…… it dose look better than Ninja Gaiden tho….NG was ok but it took itself to seriously story wise and not enough game wise…. Mmmmmm Soylent commando was not necessarily bad, the story was and some of the level layout was… the gimmick old school weapons didnt work so well either… I’d rather it be a more polished FPS set in 3rd P than a wonky action shooter with limited exploration…. like… Read more »
ckzatwork
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ckzatwork
6 years 8 months ago

Funny you say that, Trent, because I remember being like 5 hours into the game and thinking that I should go back and start it on normal mode. I got this habit of starting everything on hard because I find recent games to be too easy. I guess some titles fall apart on harder modes, while others show their best at maximum difficulties, Dead Space on impossible mode being a good example.

Trent Fingland
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Trent Fingland
6 years 8 months ago

If you’re considering commando mode, don’t. I loved the game so much that I got all the trophies, and commando mode transformed the game into a gimpy, horrendously difficult Gears of War wannabe.

I honestly felt that the game performed the best on Normal mode. It seems like it was very tightly calibrated to that specific difficulty, which would explain why it falls apart to varying degrees on the harder modes.

ckzatwork
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ckzatwork
6 years 8 months ago

I just finished Bionic Commando and it ends with a sequence of QTEs. They’re fine, though.

I think the grappling mechanic works ok, I just found the game to be unbalanced. For 30 minutes of spectacular action sequences the player has to put up with 3 or more hours of tedious repetition. I played it on hard and those last checkpoints are a pain. I can’t imagine it on Commando mode.

Cybrmynd
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Cybrmynd
6 years 8 months ago
[quote=RandomRob]Bionic Commando I don’t think had bad controls. I found them very tight and workable, once I got the hang of them. There was just something majorly counter-intuitive about letting go of the grab button, falling for a sec, then hitting it again.. my brain and fingers just didn’t ‘get it’ until I did it successfully a few times, and then the gameplay became very absorbing, and satisfying.[/quote] I kinda agree with the point you made about ‘getting it’, it’s just for me I never quite ‘got it’, despite successfully pulling off swings. It could just have been the PS3… Read more »
RandomRob
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RandomRob
6 years 8 months ago

Bionic Commando I don’t think had bad controls. I found them very tight and workable, once I got the hang of them. There was just something majorly counter-intuitive about letting go of the grab button, falling for a sec, then hitting it again.. my brain and fingers just didn’t ‘get it’ until I did it successfully a few times, and then the gameplay became very absorbing, and satisfying.

Cybrmynd
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Cybrmynd
6 years 8 months ago
I played the demo to Dark Void, and while enjoyable, I found the controls to be lacking in playability. I found myself crashing a hell of a lot. Most gamers (especially at gamecritics) note that some games are not meant to be instantly playable, I find it hard to fall into the role of a character you are given if I can barely work the controls. It also reminds me of Bionic Commando, mainly for that same reason. Maybe its because I played the PS3 version of both games, I don’t know. I like the concept of both the games… Read more »
abfackeln
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abfackeln
6 years 8 months ago
I just wanted to clarify my stance on QTEs. I don’t like QTEs, but my experience with God of War wasn’t killed by them because I saw them coming. In a way QTEs fit in GoW okay. At least for me. I can think of plenty of ways to make the gameplay in GoW better without QTEs and still keep the game as entertaining as it is. When Shenmue came out QTE was something new and I give that game props for trying a lot of new concepts. The experience wasn’t killed by QTEs in Shenmue either. In Ninja Blade… Read more »
ccesarano
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6 years 8 months ago
So I haven’t checked by this site in a while, and this certainly caught my eye because “Poor Man’s Ninja Gaiden” is precisely how I described it. I already went into detail myself as to why I feel that way, but I’ll summarize here since I myself recently pushed through this game. The main sword is practically worthless in comparison to the twin falcon knives. Even then, you have to wait until any weapon is an upgrade or two up for the real fun to unlock. It takes until roughly half the game until you are the combo-factory that you… Read more »
abfackeln
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abfackeln
6 years 8 months ago

More so with Ninja Blade. I don’t mind them in God of War or Shenmue.

I watched the video review of Ninja Blade on GameTraliers.com* again and all of the pain of playing Ninja Blade came back to me.

*gave it a 5.9/10

Brad Gallaway
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Brad Gallaway
6 years 8 months ago

CKZ> heh, we’re not allowed to use ‘fun’ as justification for an actual review, but this was a crosspost from my personal blog and just an impressions piece anyway, so I figured i’d let it slide this once. πŸ˜‰

Abfack> so do you have an issue with QTEs in general, or was it Ninja Blade’s specifically that you didn’t like?

abffackeln
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abffackeln
6 years 8 months ago

I’ll give it another shot.

The QTE were just idiotic in this game.

It didn’t play nearly as well as Ninja Gaiden, but I know were you stand on that. πŸ˜›

Oh, I know that there are worse games out there. I was speaking for games that I have played.

I was kind of looking forward to this game, so I my expectations were a bit high.

lun4tic
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lun4tic
6 years 8 months ago

I didn’t enjoy this game at all, but I’ve been a Ninja Gaiden fan since Tecmo took over. Thank you for insulting my tastes.

ckzatwork
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ckzatwork
6 years 8 months ago

I thought reviewers were not allowed to write f-u-n here. πŸ™‚ From your impressions, it sounds a lot like Bayonetta, and Abfack hated the demo. So, I get why he didn’t like it. It’s a matter of mood and taste. Or being a From Software fanboy. Muahahaha! Just kidding, Brad, really. Eurogammer liked the game a lot http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/ninja-blade-review

peeled currently
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peeled currently
6 years 8 months ago

I thought reviewers were not allowed to write f-u-n- here. πŸ™‚ From your impressions, it sounds a lot like Bayonetta, and abfack hated the demo, for instance. It’s all about mood and taste.

Brad Gallaway
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Brad Gallaway
6 years 8 months ago

Abfack> One of the *worst*?? Seriously? What’s not to love about this game? Great graphics, cool moves, fun, over-the-top premise, completely INSANE large-scale fatalities and action setpieces… this is a win-win-win. As long as you’re down with the ‘playable action movie’ structure, this thing is bad-ass all-around, except maybe for the main character’s gimpy facemask.

THAT could go.

the rest is just solid, unadulterated F-U-N.

Matthew K
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6 years 8 months ago
[quote=abfackeln]Ninja Blade is one of the worst games I played in this console generation. [/quote] Hence Brad’s comparison to Bionic Commando! Just kidding. πŸ˜‰ I haven’t played either game, but something in me really empathizes with people who are willing to stake a claim in what they consider is an underrated game. God knows we all get that feeling about a game from time to time. I remember playing games like One and Project Overkill on the Playstation, seeing them get slammed by critics (although One mysteriously has a 75% rating on GameRankings… odd), and thinking, “Jeez. I thought this… Read more »
abfackeln
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abfackeln
6 years 8 months ago

Ninja Blade is one of the worst games I played in this console generation.

Matthew K
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6 years 8 months ago

Just curious, but are you playing through the 360 or PC version?

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