The newest installment of the Ninja Gaiden series is a combination of Cyborg Ninjas, Zombies and Hack and Slash gameplay. To any person, those three things combined should sound like the recipe to endless fun, too bad that Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z couldn’t manage to pull it off correctly.
Unlike any previous Ninja Gaiden game, players take control of a Ninja/Cyborg named Yaiba who is apparently out to kill the original protagonist of the series, Ryu Hayabusa. The gameplay revolves around killing endless waves of zombies and then moving on to the next area, then completely redoing it again.
The game tries a new take on the formula of the original Ninja Gaiden series by using animated cell shaded graphics and a light hearted, mindless and humorous setting so while the gameplay elements of Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z have much to improve on, there are certainly some fun times along the way such as the very well done cutscenes which actually managed to get a laugh or two out of me.
Alongside the humor, the game is great to look at. The cell shaded graphics and fighting animations are all done superbly and they do a great job of taking your mind off the otherwise tedious and uninteresting combat mechanics.
Getting onto the actual gameplay of the game, it is definitely fun in the initial stages when all you have to do is button mash your way through the waves of helpless and mindless zombies who just run at you and die before they get to do anything useful but sadly this only lasts for a few hours. As the game goes on, the combat gets tedious and repetitive, you feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again by clearing waves of zombies in an area, going forward to the next area and then doing it again.
The game is also completely imbalanced at certain points because at one point you’re easily slicing your way through the waves of enemies without breaking a sweat then suddenly you’re matched up against a brutal and unforgiving monster and you’re doing nothing but chipping away extremely tiny blocks of his health after countless attacks against him.
While yes, the Ninja Gaiden series is known for its high difficulty and learning curve, it was rewarding and it was fair in its ways. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z manages to stay difficult but by no means fair because simply shoving absurdly difficult to kill enemies in your face is anything but fair.
In conclusion, while the light hearted setting of the game is great and its cute cell shaded graphics are definitely a treat to look at. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z ultimately fails to execute the core aspects of the game properly and is at best an “okay” game.
Definitely a new approach to the series5
Graphics score 8
Gameplay score 5
Difficulty score 4
Freshness score 9
Replayability score 2