Ninja Gaiden is a game that succeeds on almost every level.

User Rating: 9.6 | Ninja Gaiden XBOX
Ninja Gaiden is by far one of the best purchases that you can make on any system. It has a sort of quality that shines through and makes it an experience like no other. The game is reminiscent of other action/adventure games on the market today, but it has many unique features that make it more than worth your time. The game focuses on the exploits of young ninja Ryu Hayabusa as he sets off to destroy the army of the evil Vigoor Empire. The entire story is divided into separate "chapters" which split the game up into several different parts. You usually begin a chapter by heading to a new area and end it by defeating a boss character. However, there are some chapters that are longer than others, and certain areas are divided up into more than one chapter. It may seem at times as though different chapters drag on for too long, and other times they may seem to be surprisingly short. This can be a rather annoying occurrence, and sometimes it does seem as though you're not making as much progress simply because of the uneven lengths of certain chapters. The gameplay itself is the best part of the entire game. Combat and movement are all wonderfully executed here, and you'll quickly learn how to control Ryu and navigate with ease. Fighting enemies is done without any specific aiming system. You will be able to fire most projectiles directly at an enemy if you face them, but this isn't always the best way to fight. Instead, you usually need to get closer to them and attack with one of the different melee weapons that are spread throughout the game. To defeat enemies, you can perform various attack combinations that are triggered by combining sequences of button presses. You can also block enemy attacks, perform various aerial attacks against your enemies, and even learn magical spells to defeat your foes. Learning to properly coordinate your attacks and your defensive maneuvers is extremely important to combat in this game, and you'll probably spend a great deal of time in this game just learning how to properly combat every enemy in each situation that you come across. Moving about the game's environments is a very fun experience. Ryu has a number of sneaky ninja maneuvers that allow him to pass by different obstacles in the game with ease. He can run up walls, hang from ledges, and even bounce off of enemy’s heads. The game does usually tend to focus more on fighting than on obstacles, but you still need to use these moves in key areas of the game. They're all fairly easy to learn, and once you pick up on how to use them, they all become second nature. These moves do occasionally become ness carry in combat, but you’ll usually just want to leave most of them to navigating the different environments. There is a fairly wide variety of enemies in this game, but sadly enough certain enemies appear over and over again. This occurs a lot towards the second half of the game, and it tends to make things seem a bit repetitive. It would have been nice if they had included a few more enemies in some parts to spice things up a bit, but as it stands, the different enemies are still a lot of fun to fight against no matter how many times they show up. The one thing you may notice about this game more than anything is the difficulty level. Even on the "normal" setting, this game is a huge challenge. Eventually you will learn to get better at it as you pick up more experience and teach Ryu new moves. However, you'll need to use these new skills more often as the game gets progressively tougher and tougher until the end. The difficulty level isn't so bad that it will turn everyone away from the game, but it's still one of the most challenging action games that you‘ll ever come across. The game's graphics are another one of it's best features. They all have a beautiful, yet realistic look to them. Every character and setting is highly detailed and animates in a clear and smooth fashion. There are also some pre-rendered cutscenes which take the game's graphics to almost unheard of levels of quality, but these don't occur all that often. Still, they're a lot of fun to look at when they do happen. This all gives the game a very exciting and lifelike feel to it while still allowing everything to feel sort of like a fantasy. The game's camera, on the other hand, is a nightmare. It can be a lot of trouble to keep the camera focused directly on Ryu. Given the speed at which the game moves, this can be a pain at times, especially during combat. Sometimes after a very fast attack Ryu can be left almost entirely off the screen, leaving you disoriented and unable to properly time your movements. Also, the camera may become a problem during jumping sections. You usually have to focus the camera directly behind you to get the best angle on a jump, but often times the game doesn't want to let you make this happen. You can instantly center the camera behind Ryu by pressing the right trigger button, but this doesn’t usually work in the thick of combat or when Ryu is already in the air. This all makes the camera one of the biggest problems that the game has, and it's almost impossible to go through it without having a run-in with some sort of camera problem. The game's sound is also quite excellent. Most of the music sounds like it was performed with actual instruments, and it all works very well. The game's sound effects all sound clear and exciting, and help to make the game come to life. Also, there is a large amount of voice acting in this game. Every single one of the cutscenes in this game includes voices for every character, and there are no subtitles. The voice work is all very well done, and it all manages to enhance each of the character's personalities. Overall, sound is another one of the game's strongest points, and it really helps to bring everything else together. To conclude, Ninja Gaiden is a game that you absolutely must buy if you own an XBOX. It might even be worth picking up the system for. It may be a bit more difficult than most games, but that doesn't stop it from being a wonderful experience. You owe it to yourself to pick this one up.