Overview

For such a popular cultural icon, I’m not entirey sure why we’re not seeing more ninja titles being released on the consoles. In terms of past history of ninja titles there have been numerous great Ninja titles including the Ninja Gaiden series, which has been one of the most popular ninja franchises around and that has been done by its amazing use of both the stealth and action aspects of the Ninja. Tenchu has waited in the wings trying to grasp the hearts of gamers, but has for some reason or another hasn’t been able to full make a name for itself. Now on the Xbox 360, Tenchu Z hopes to be the title to bring the Ninja back on the Xbox 360. How does the game succeed? Read our full review to find out!

Gameplay

I was reading up a few weeks prior to the release of Tenchu Z on the development of the game, and how, like ninjas, the game has remained somewhat under the radar. The fact that the publishers hadn’t hyped on the game at any degree has me worried. With that being said, there are always those hidden gems and there was always a great possibility that Tenchu Z could surprise some.

There is a back-story to Tenchu Z, but it is such a run-of-the-mill Ninja tale that its hard to really get into it. It is the same age old tale that we have heard several times in the past and its really a shame that Tenchu Z didn’t try to expand upon a story that could have been really interesting. Not only that but Tenchu Z has an extremely bland way of telling the story in the game, with some mundane cut scenes and some of the driest lines I have ever heard spoken in a video game.

The gameplay in Tenchu Z continues this sort of mundane feel, as it lacks any sort of originality or enjoyability. The basic premise behind the game is that you can really play this game two ways, either in stealth form (probably the way it was intended) or as just a straight action title. Tenchu Z is broken down into a ton of different missions that all about do the same thing and carry extremely linear paths. You will have missions where you will need to kill a certain enemy, get to a certain point, or even get information out of someone. Regardless, the main idea is that you go from "Point A" to "Point B" and very little to do in between.

There are two major problems that take away from the experience. The camera is the first big issue which you have some control over, but it really manages to work against you. I don’t know why the developers wanted to take such a tight camera into this game, especially when a lot of the game takes place in tight alleyways or corridors. Secondly you would think it would be pretty simple to make sword play exciting, but the way in which this game handles all of the action is just way to simple and as unsatisfying as they come.

In the end, I wish I could sing some praise for Tenchu Z, but for the most part the game is left in complete shambles. This is a title that has a lot of potential; heck it’s a Ninja game, what Ninja game doesn’t have potential? But unfortunately the developers didn’t build upon this idea, and thus we are left with a very unsatisfying experience.

Graphics

The opening cut scene really does a great job of pulling you into the game and making you think that there is a lot of amazing visuals to come from this game. However as you get into the game you will clearly realize that the experience is extremely bland and lacks any sort of detail. The entire game just feels and looks the same from the start to finish, and lacks variety in the environments you roam through. The overall appeal of the visuals is rather simplistic, and definitely leaves a lot to be desired.

Fun Factor

You would think that anytime in a video game you get to play as a Ninja or that you are wielding a sword, you would think that the game would at least have some fun attached to it. Unfortunately in the case of Tenchu Z, the pace of the game is on the slow side, and the actual implementation of the action is extremely bland. It just doesn’t feel like anything was done to create a more interesting experience and instead everything was left kind of standard and that ends up leaving a very short lived experience.

Overall

It’s too bad that a game that allows you to play both as a stealth experience or a action game doesn’t manage to do either of them very well. In the end, Tenchu Z is a title that could have really done so much in terms of creating a beautiful experience that really allows you to grab the feel of a Ninja. Tenchu Z doesn’t manage to do that, but instead leaves you with just one bland experience.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.