Review by SiriusBlackKS
"This one's for the gamers, another diamond in the rough"
There has been an interesting trend in the past couple years of the major game sites being quick to praise mediocore sequels and even quicker to slam other less followed titles. This has led to the chunk of titles accumulating with high fan-base and high user review in the face of coporate disgust. Examples would be cromehounds and shadowrun.
This is another one of those titles.
The reviews from the big companies have been poor, saying that the game lacks variety and that it is possible just to run to the target and kill him without trying to play like a ninja. This is absolutely true, yet they failed to mention this is possible in nearly all other assassination games such as hitman, and that like those genres you will be punished accordingly.
The average cost of a clothing item is 300 g. I ran a mission where I tried to just "run to the boss" as the reviewers said was "so easy". I ran by or outright killed all guards, and then sword fought the boss. When the mission was over I was slapped with a Ninja rank 1 (the lowest) and 47g.
After replaying this mission the way the game was meant to be played and the reviewers obviously did not. I went for stealth kills, stuck to the shadows, and stealth killed the boss netting me a whopping 1,105 g on the exact same difficulty setting and mission. This is because you get rewarded for playing the game right. Just like hitman.
Nearly all of the achievements are related to high stealth play, and they encourage repeating missions and trying different approaches.
In a superb sense this game does not punish you as bad as hitman, where one tiny mistake will strip you of top rank. Instead it grades ALL of your activities and grades you accordingly. A person can attain the top rank of 5 by being detecting even a couple times and with a couple blunders by doing enough other things right.
GAMEPLAY: The gameplay is a superb amount of fun with high replayability. There are over 50 missions, which over 30 can be played co-op or in a hybrid co-op versus mode and both are very fun. Your payment for successful missions carries over from offline to online allowing you the further depth of being able to buy hundreds of ninja costume pieces, items, new movies, and abilities. This allows you to build a very unique player and keeps you coming back for more. On day one without even trying I logged nearly 6 hours which is getting to be a rarity in the madden generation.
GRAPHICS: The graphics are bland, and the there is no other way around it. It has a solid framrate, but the graphics look like an xbox title. The blood looks great, and the reviewers again obviously know zilch about the genre since they call it "poorly drawn" when it is 100% accurate for the style and 70's film style of the game.
SOUND: It is done very well. A 5.1 system will definitely up your scores dramatically since you need to hear all around you at all times, and this games does it well and has a well matched soundtrack.
To sum it up you have a game which is seemless online and offline. Had a large amount of missions, unlockables, and replayability. Even the Ninja village matches the time of day on your xbox! The online play has some current hitching, but is still very playable and a complete blast.
If you like stealth assassination games while this one has a steep learning curve it is still a no-brainer. Saying it is a bad game based on the complaints above is like rating ghost recon 3 out of 10 and then comparing it to halo.
Will the professional reviews refrained from actually playing the game I have done it a lot, and it is a solid 8 out of 10.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/15/07
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