Review by xcamel24

Reviewed: 04/02/07

Master Ninja will leave you crying.

If anyone here has read my top 10 list of video game revivals, you would have seen the original Ninja Gaiden for Xbox atop that chart. The game was so successful that they released it again, fixing a few bugs, adding more content, and adding a whole slew of missions and difficulties. All that aside- if you haven't played the original Ninja Gaiden- and you are an Xbox/Xbox 360 owner, this game is probably calling your name. And even if you have played Ninja Gaiden- Ninja Gaiden Black is so affordable now that you'll have no choice but to buy it.

Game play: 9/10

If you've played difficult action games before, you will be at home here. Ninja Gaiden Black is a whole slew of action gaming, segmented into chapters. At the end of each chapter, you'll get a rating on how you did based on your speed and efficiency throughout the chapter. Ninja Gaiden Black does a nice mix of fast paced action game play with puzzle solving and exploration. You are told what to do- but not necessarily how to do it, so it isn't all completely straight forward. All that aside, the game's focus is action right? And it does that well. If you have played Devil May Cry (any iteration) before, you may be confused a bit getting used to the controls. This game controls much more similarly to God of War than it does Devil May Cry. You have two attack buttons, a weak and strong attack, and then you have a projectile weapon button, a guard button, and a jump button. The Controls are very good, and there is no reason not to like them. If you're used to Devil May Cry, you may want to unlearn those tactics because Ninja Gaiden is a whole different ball game.

Graphics: 10/10

For the Xbox, they are amazing. Many Wii titles don't look this good yet, and even then they don't have the high quality FMV's that this game has. This game is truly incredible in terms of graphics, everything is detailed and all the areas you go through are incredibly well done. Ryu, the Ninja himself, looks pretty darn good as well. The characters are nicely detailed as well, and all the cuttings and slashing effects are great. You get to decapitate enemies as well, and there is a lot of blood...did I mention this game isn't for kids?

Story: 7/10

Basically, you are a Ninja, and you are living your normal ninja life, until one day, big bad fiend guy shows up at your village, and steals the guarded weapon of the village, the Dark Dragon Blade- which is so dark and powerful, that no one in the village ever dared use it. However, the big bad fiend guy (his name is Doku) decides to take it for himself, and for whatever reason travel to the city of Vigoor. So you go there to take out your revenge on him, and anyone else that gets in your way. A lot of the story doesn't make sense, and towards the end it becomes more confusing. Either way, the story isn't that great, so don't come here expecting an epic. But it has enough twists and turns and characters to keep the plot rolling at a constant pace and keep the game rolling along.

Re-play: 10/10

If you wanted re-play value, you came to the right place. Ninja Gaiden Black has 5 difficulties, and a ranking system. Getting the rank "master ninja" on every level on the highest difficulty won't be easy, rest assured. Also, there is a huge selectable amount of missions in mission mode to complete- and some of those missions allow you to use some of the fabled weapons, like the Dark Dragon Blade itself. The Missions also have difficulties to choose from, which makes them even harder. There is also downloadable content from Xbox Live, and an old arcade unlockable.

Sound/Music: 8/10

Most of the music in this game is pretty solid, however not all of it is perfect, there are few tracks that are monotonous and boring, but for the most part they are pretty rock solid. The battle themes usually fit the scenario, and the over world musics are usually fitting in the right place as well. All of the sounds are great, from gunfire to the sound of your sword cutting zombies, to the screams of your character, to the well done voice acting cast for FMV's, this game has a pretty solid musical score.

Difficulty/Controls: 10/10

Did I mention this game is hard? As in even the easiest mode is really freakin hard? That was one of the biggest flaws of Ninja Gaiden, the game was just too hard for most people to pick it up and play it. In this game, they've added an easier mode for those who are action game challenged, and from my perspective after playing both, to me it seems like enemies drop health more frequently in NGB as opposed to the original. The game is very rewarding despite being difficult, and with the new easier mode it makes it more gamer friendly, so that even my younger brother could manage the task of beating this game. The controls work so good, and the game is so challenging, that it makes you want to keep trying after repeatedly getting owned by bosses. Oh I should also mention- if you've played the original Ninja Gaiden, you may be frustrated where with a few of the levels, like Chapter 3, for instance, if you died at the boss you had to retrace your steps quite a ways. Well there are 3 new save points in Ninja Gaiden Black, so that you don't have to back track as far when losing to a boss. This makes life a little less frustrating.

Conclusion: 9/10

I would recommend Ninja Gaiden Black to anyone who liked the original Ninja Gaiden on Xbox, anyone who likes action games, anyone looking for a challenge, and anyone who likes Devil May Cry, God of War, or the PS2 Castlevania games. I would NOT recommend this to children middle school age or under, there is plenty of suggestive themes and plenty of decapitation and plenty of blood. If you have an Xbox or an Xbox 360 (yes, its backwards compatible), then you should probably at least give this game a try.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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