Review by Miko00014

"Tenchu Z: A must for fans of the games and ninjas alike"

The Tenchu series has a fairly cult following not being as publicized as say, Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, but if your interested in this title because you like ninjas you probably don't care because those games don't revolve around ninjas. This newest installment in the Tenchu series breaks the mold by placing you as a ninja in the Azuma clan under Rikamaru, the male hero of past games. As you progress you can customize your shinobi with hundreds of different clothes sets, and dozens of different abilities only a ninja could perform.

Game play 9/10: Now, your probably asking: Well can I slice through a guy with my sword and see a huge gush of blood splatter out? The answer is yes, but not how Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja gaiden does it. As you probably know this is a stealth game and you kill people without being noticed by others. The stealth kills in this game are very cool looking at first and there are about a dozen different ones depending on the situation, However if you choose you can fight them with an all right fighting interface that cannot be used to kill every single enemy. One of the key things is you taking your ninja through missions and earning gold. Gold can be used to make your ninja more deadly with skills ranging from making rice balls that can heal you to unbelievable ones like charging up energy in your blade and unleashing a devastating strike, to ones you would expect like running on walls and clinging to ceilings. Gold is also used to alter your ninja's appearance. You will gain access to different masks, shirts, helmets, hair styles, and accessories. You can even have another sword(Which you can't use), and an assault rifle (you still can't use it) on your back. The main stays of the game are of course, Coop over Xbox live and the 50 different missions you can do. Now there is not a whole lot to the variety in the missions but they are different enough where you should stay entertained through at least the 2nd play through of missions. There are not many different objectives but the layout of enemies and targets are always different. The objectives: are killing a certain target, Collecting bombs so they don't blow up a village, rescuing prisoners, reaching a certain point, and slaughtering the whole level (not civilians you sick, sick person). Now the coop. As of the release date, the online is both good and bad. Yes it does allow 4 players but most of the time 4 people don't stay together for very long. In game there is some fairly annoying lag that might turn people off. A lot of the time some people even lag out during the loading screen. During play people might get out of your choke holds teleport Etc. But this usually only happens with 4 people. Playing with 1 or 2 other people is still pretty entertaining. But sometimes there are mic problems where you won't hear other people but this isn't really a problem it's just rather annoying. If you play with a couple friends who play the game right and immerse yourself as ninja you should have a good time anyways. Of course if you don't have friends that play this you might have a tough time. Playing with random people can get frustrating as some people purposely run through alerting everyone and causing all hell to break loose. But don't let this deter you. If you do find friends who play the game right it is more fun, and with the different ways you can play, you could make the game more fun by limiting your abilities. The 50 missions should keep you playing for a while just so that you can unlock all of the different abilities and skills available, and getting the achievements, a few of which unlock things not available by any other means.

Graphics 7/10: Now you probably hear a lot of people bashing the graphics. The graphics, while not anywhere near say Gears of War, are certainly not playstation quality. The graphics look more like a 360 game then a ps2 game at the least. They could have done better had they a bigger budget, but we can't very well help that. One thing you will notice is when you kill someone blood will gush out to make you feel more deadly. This does get a little repetitive after a while and the blood isn't the greatest looking but it still looks alright. The few CGI movies they have do look really well and immerse you when they do occur. The environments range from good to alright, but there are only a few different types as there are forests, villages and even a battlefield you can go on, but there are only about 10 or so different areas and you will notice this after about the 25th mission and this makes the game a little repetitive. The enemy placement however helps make the game seem different through every level.

Story 6/10: The story is you are a ninja of the Azuma clan and Rikamaru, Hero from past games gives you your missions. Mostly you deal with making sure that the country Ogawara does not invade a smaller neighboring country, Goda. Throughout the game you will be known by others as the shadows of Goda, striking silently against targets ranging from gamblers to drug dealers, to foreigners from Europe that sell guns to Ogawara. Cut scenes don't appear often and your partner doesn't do much of anything and you don't really get how they are connected to your character. Most of the important events only occur during key missions that you must complete to unlock other missions. You don't see many characters more than once so you don't really feel anything for anyone besides yourself and perhaps Rikamaru, as he is your master.

Sound 7/10: The music does a good job of immersing you in the time the game takes place. The music is generally peaceful though it gets more upbeat and exciting if you get noticed. The sound effects aren't really anything to brag about, but are alright. You'll notice little things like animals barking or roaring, your own footsteps, and the footsteps of enemies. The people in the game only speak in Japanese with subtitles. Some people might not like this but others will find this helps give the game atmosphere.

Overall I give this game an 8/10. If you have friends, and play the game as a true shinobi you should be at the least moderately entertained. If not this game is probably not for you but you should at least give this game a rental to see at least what it has to offer. This game does many things good, many things that they could have done better. But if you like stealth games, true ninja (not like Ninja Gaiden), and a game that has some very good depth and customization then this game probably is for you.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/03/07

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