Ninja Blade

By: Tom Senior

Published: February 25, 2010 Posted in: Review
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I’m not sure, but I think I have a pretty good idea of what awaits me after death.

I can see myself ascending into a silvery cloud land populated by an army of busty angel ladies, I will ride the golden escalator to the gates of Heaven. But then, as I step forward to enter paradise, a shadow will fall across my path. Then Jesus will back flip onto a huge cross, dark storm clouds will swirl overhead and he’ll reach back, ready to smite me into a million pieces. Then everything will stop and a message will appear: PRESS [A] TO AVOID JUDGEMENT. Then I’ll miss the button press and be damned to hell and I’ll be forced to play Ninja Blade for ever and ever and ever, Amen.

I have never encountered this many quick time events. Not even in Fahrenheit, which is a game that, from start to finish, consists entirely of quick time events. Not even Fahrenheit can quite compare to the mindbonkingly stupid amount of time this week I have spent being told to press a button by a machine, failing, and then being told to press the same button again

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Whichever controller you’re using, Ninja Blade will ask  for both.

‘Why?’ I thought to myself. ‘Why am I doing this?’ I have become a slave to a stupid machine, obeying its requests without question. My reward? Moving pictures of a man in a ninja costume riding a motorbike up a giant bendy phallus. It’s just not worth it (as exciting as I may have made the ninja vs phallus thing sound, it’s really not worth it, trust me). And yet I persist, partly because the spectacle of it all is almost enough to entertain, and partly because, deep down, I have a soft spot for bad games. Make no mistake, Ninja blade is bad. Don’t buy it.

How bad is it? Well, this is the best thing I can say about Ninja Blade: The rail shooter sections aren’t the worst I’ve ever encountered.

By which I mean there were things to actually shoot at, which puts it on a level well above Enter The Matrix. Nevertheless, they would have been considered filler fifteen years ago, and there are so many of them that I’m convinced the developers must have known that none of their sections could hold up for more than five minutes on their own, so strobed between them in the hope that the sheer madness of it all would bludgeon the player into a docile state of acceptance.

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Your own crotch, apparently.

The combat fares no better. There are about three varieties of enemy, and they’re all equally dumb and completely predictable. The animation is clippy and the character response is slow leaving the action feeling imprecise. There’s no strategy to which move you pick, any button will do. It’s less a combat system and more a machine that makes pretty sparkles. The faster you mash A and Y, the prettier the light show.

In fairness, there’s nothing wrong with a light show. I got one for free every time I headbutted my keyboard in frustration at another failed quick time event, or the emergence of yet another boss, or the appearance of another flock of those damn flying lizards, or Ken’s stupid gormless face as he regarded his iphone, talking crap about the “King Larvae” being the “smart ones” and oh god I’m so angry right now. Witness my angry, angry typing.

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What the Darwin are you talking about?

If the developers had taken the time they spent crafting the ludicrous movies that accompany the quick time events, and invested it in a tight and well made combat system then Ninja Blade might have been redeemed. As it is, it’s an interactive movie interspersed with sloppy combat and rail shooter sections, nailed onto a story born of the fever dreams of a BSE addled bovine. So there it is, my work here is done. Now I’m going to have a nice lie down for a while and – PRESS [SCROLL DOWN] TO COMPLETE REVIEW.



Tom Senior