Published on March 19th, 2014 | by IceCube

REVIEW: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Summary: Yaiba is a cyborgy bad-guy who fills-in for the usual Ninja Gaiden protagonist, Ryu, in this third-person, sword-slicin’ blitz. Presented in a brightly colourful cell-shaded style, this game is more of a spin-off than a sequel.

Concept: There’s barely a story behind Yaiba’s character and what we can gather is ridiculous. The gist? He calls out Ryu and fights him, loses an arm and an eye, replaces them with cyborg parts, then goes to Russia to fight zombies. If there’s a reason for these actions it’s skipped over, and you just have to accept that you are attacking these weird zombie things because they are there, and you have a sword. The tedious repetitiveness is broken up with attempts at humorous gags, but it’s so cringeworthy we felt like throwing rotten tomatoes at the screen.

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Graphics: The new cell-shaded, comic book style looks cool and is a clever idea to give this game a separate identity from the regular series. Unfortunately crowded screens, prone camera angles and distant viewpoints often make it impossible to see what’s going on.

Gameplay: There are button-mashing techniques and combos to master, but like all Ninja Gaiden games, the action is so ludicrously fast-paced it’s like dancing in a hardcore electro nightclub in fast-forward. It makes your actions blur into invisible movements, where zombies limbs get cut off but you have no idea why or how – you just pushed a button and it happened. The game becomes gradually too difficult with no outlet to tip the scales for a bit of balance. Some bosses have a ridiculous amount of health, making a battles both a tiresome chore and a complete thumb sprain.

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Sound: Sound is an endless mixture of Yaiba’s “Huh! Hah! Huh!” grunts as he strikes, and the zombies’ “Blargh, Blergh, Blurgh” as they get hit by your strikes. After a while the mute button on your TV remote becomes the most zen-like way to enjoy the game.

Awesomeness: The idea behind Yaiba’s character in a cell-shaded comic book world is good, but the execution of those ideas are just sloppy. The Ninja Gaiden series has failed to receive positive critic response for a very long time, but the franchise rolls on, and despite the quirky new ideas this spin-off is not showing us signs of improvement.


Final Word: Yaiba is a mindless button-masher that looks good but is frustrating to play. It will take plenty of distraction-free dedication to persevere through the repetition and poorly-explained story, but if you like cutting through hordes of undead, there is some fun to be had.

REVIEW: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z IceCube

Score out of 5 bugs


Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing


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