When you hear “ninja” or “zombie” in relation to a video game, you probably immediately make a subconscious association with cliched plots and overused scenarios. And while it’s true that ninjas and zombies as a plot device have been pretty much exhausted nowadays, Ninja Blade combines the two in a rather original mix, showing gamers that there’s still a lot of potential in those ideas, if done right.
The game’s story takes place in the modern world, with an outbreak of a strange, unknown virus causing mutations in those affected by it. Researchers have made attempts to isolate the outbreak and contain the infected ones, but their attempts have failed as it became clear that the virus slowly takes over the body of its host, and drives them into an aggressive fit of rage, killing everyone in their path. Governments all around the world have been doing their best to hide the incident from the public, but as the game’s events begin to unfold, it becomes clear that it’s gone way out of their reach.
You play the role of a modern-day ninja named Ken Ogawa, who’s been tasked with eliminating the threat by terminating all of the infected and putting an end to the source of the virus. The game is played a bit differently than your traditional action, as the fighting is based more on scripted scenes than freeform movement – the result is that while you don’t have such a fine degree of control over your character’s moves, the fights look spectacular and flow very well. There’s also a wide variety of ways for you to approach every situation, so you won’t feel limited by the combat style in the slightest.
Graphics and System Requirements
The combat has been animated very extensively – various famous game designers “donated” some of their ideas for the fight choreography. The main character himself has undergone a long process of creation, according to the game developers – they’ve been working close with Microsoft (who’ve got access to an impressive database of user impressions and desires) to create a character as likable as possible by the mass public; he not only looks lifelike (despite the theme of the game), but also feels like a real human being in his behavior and reactions.
You won’t need that good of a computer to play Ninja Blade though – you’ll be fine with a 3.2 GHz Pentium 4, 1 GB of RAM and at least a GeForce 8300 GS (or its ATi equivalent, the Radeon 9250). The game comes with lots of detail customization options that can make it accessible on even lower-end hardware, though we really advise you to play it on the maximum detail levels – only that way you can truly enjoy the amount of artistic effort thrown in.
One thing we didn’t enjoy very much were the long loading times – or rather, not so much their length but frequency. The game kept stopping to load new data all the time, and this really chopped up the gameplay badly.
If you’ve been craving for a game with a zombie theme but couldn’t find any due to all of the developers’ striving for “originality” nowadays, Ninja Blade will make a refreshing addition to your collection.