The action, the weapons, the boss battles - Ninja Blade's got it all!

Since I first saw the trailer for Ninja Blade, I was immediately intrigued. The smooth, stylish cinematics and epic creatures alone were enough to make me squeal like a school girl.

To my delight, the game was everything I was expecting and then some. With each level, I became more and more hooked on this epic, action filled slice of ninja pie.

Ninja Blade: Ninja Medley

The year is 2015 and an infection is sweeping through the streets of Tokyo.

Carried by insidious creatures known as Alpha Worms, the infestation is threatening to overtake the city's inhabitants, transforming everything from helicopters to humans into grotesque abominations.

Members of the elite ninja task force GUIDE (it stands for Global United Infestation Detection Elimination) are sent in to deal with the mess. You step into the silent but deadly shoes of operative Ken Ogawa, a badass GUIDE assassin with powers galore as he hacks and slashes his way through the monsters running wild in the streets.

Along the way, you'll battle some ridiculous bosses, acquire some insane powers and get served a delicious stew of betrayal and intrigue.

Gameplay-wise, Ninja Blade combines the best elements of every action game you've ever loved into one homogeneous blend of deliciousness.

The parasitic infestation storyline was obviously "inspired" by Resident Evil, the fighting system pays "homage" to Devil May Cry, and the sheer size of the bosses evokes thoughts of Shadow of the Colossus.

The interactive cut-scenes with their quick-time events also bring to mind God of War. Yes, it's not exactly original but rather than slap together a poor imitation, the developers took these already established concepts and did them justice.

NEXT PAGE: know thine enemy

The action, the weapons, the boss battles - Ninja Blade's got it all!

Ninja Blade: Know Thy Enemy

The action in Ninja Blade literally bursts at you from all angles, brought to you by a horde of memorable enemy types. Most of them have insect-like features and shamble along like disheveled, sloppy zombies.

The low-level zombies are split into three types and range from heavily armored tanks to mutated beasts that spit out explosives from their arm. However, it's the boss battles that really put this game on the map. There is a wide selection of bosses and they're all the size of small skyscrapers; these immense beasts are ridiculously fun to battle even though they can be quite frustrating at times.

There are organically shaped bosses like a Hydra, Stalker Larva, and explosive Blast Mites but the devious Alpha Worms aren't above taking over mechanical objects like trains and choppers.

To deal with all the assorted creeps, you're given a slick variety of weapons to use. Now, in most games, you find the one weapon that kicks the most ass and you stick with it. In God of War, for instance, I mostly used the chain whips even though there were other weapons lying around.

Well, Ninja Blade forces you to use every single item in your arsenal - that's a good thing, trust me. You have three blades: the Stonerender, Oni-Slayer, and the Twin Blades. The Stonerender, a personal favourite, is a heavy blade that breaks walls and heavy armor.

The Twin Blades which double as grappling wires are good for taking care of pesky fliers such as bats and bees. The third blade is the Oni-Slayer which is a happy medium and the key to nearing the end of the infestation.

Ninja Blade: Throw In The Towel

You also have access to a shuriken for long-distance pwnage but it isn't a run-of-the-mill ninja star. You can imbue it with wind, fire, and electricity powers to spice things up. When wind mode is activated, you can put out fires and throw enemies around to clear space for yourself.

It also breaks walls so that you can use the Twin Blades wires to bridge large gaps. The fire mode is pretty straightforward - you toss it at enemies to light them up with flames. The electricity mode is definitely my favourite because you can electrocute enemies and slap them around as they fry.

All of your weapons are upgradeable as well. You can unlock new abilities and increase the amount of damage you dish out by using blood crystals that you collect during your battles. The upgrades even extend to the overall look and theme of the game menus-they get progressively more badass as you power-up. You can also play dress-up with your character by unlocking new outfits and emblems to deck out your ninja gear.

NEXT PAGE: throw in the towel

The action, the weapons, the boss battles - Ninja Blade's got it all!

Ninja Blade: This Ain't A Scene

And then there are the Todome powers, which are basically outrageous, over-the-top finishing moves. These moves are triggered when you beat an enemy down to a certain point; a prompt will appear over their head and if you activate the Todome correctly, you'll be treated to a mini-finishing move that is as satisfying as it is over the top. Best of all, every swords has their own Todome moves and it's a lot of fun to try them all out.

Todome events also occur during the interactive cut-scenes; here, you'll have to complete a series of timed button presses in order to initiate the move. My favourite involved flying through the sky in a motorcycle - conveniently vomited out by a boss creature - and navigating it through a maze of airborne cars and debris.

No two Todome events are the same and they're ridiculously satisfying; it's obvious that the developers really put a lot of thought and imagination into them.

Ninja Blade: A Package Deal

But as great as the action is, it's the subtle touches that push the game over the top. The exquisite sound effects are satisfying and really bring depth to the action.

You'll definitely want to up the volume so you can hear things like glass shattering under your feet or your sword ringing off stone walls. The way enemies burst into sparks upon death never loses its luster either. Even the ability to deflect enemy shots right back in their ugly faces looks and feels amazing.

NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict

Ninja Blade: Specs

  • Microsoft Xbox 360
  • Microsoft Xbox 360

OUR VERDICT

Ninja Blade is a game full of awesome moments. It's not incredibly deep and it won't redefine the genre but it's a kick-ass title that will please action junkies looking for an adrenaline kick. It does a great job of making you feel like the star of a blockbuster action flick. It's easily one of the best action games I've ever played on the Xbox 360. Now, go play it or I'll hunt you down and Todome your ass back to fifth grade.

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