hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Ninjas

Scent of a woman photo
Scent of a woman

Senran Kagura cell phone charms smell like breasts


Because of course
Apr 23
// Tony Ponce
The marketing of booby ninja school girl brawler series Senran Kagura is simply outrageous. Branded tissue boxes? Facepalm worthy. Themed desserts? Fairly creative. Cell phone charms? Well, that doesn't sound so bad... ... oh...

Review: Super House of Dead Ninjas

Mar 12 // Fraser Brown
Super House of Dead Ninjas (PC)Developer: MegadevPublisher: Adult Swim GamesRelease: February 18, 2013MSRP: $6.99 Nintai Ryoko, the super-charged ninja and title's protagonist, is a woman on a mission. Her goal: to travel to the bottom of a hellish tower, one apparently filled with treasures and the promise of glory. She doesn't want any of that, however; instead, she intends to discover what happened to the one ninja who succeeded before her, the one-armed ninja.  Getting to the bottom is easier said than done, what with it containing a myriad of horrors, from undead warriors, evil spirits, dragon guardians, and crazy monkeys, to traps ranging from floor and ceiling spikes to laser cannons. It's no easy task, but Nintai has a plethora of violent tools at her disposal. She starts of with a basic katana, some shuriken, bombs, and one magic spell, but a vast array of unlockable weapons and tools can be earned for completing all sorts of challenges. Unlocks and upgrades can be picked up at a shop run by a sour old woman. She's dismissive and doesn't think you'll get very far. I didn't like her, and instead of seeking the fate of the one-armed ninja, I really just wanted to show that hag who the boss was. Her and the omnipresent voice that crops up from time to time judging my actions and mocking my many, many failures. At the shop, you can see what needs to be done to unlock any of these items or upgrades, but most of them can really just be earned by playing the game without sparing them a thought. Finding out that I could use grenades or had a new pair of nunchucks that I could snatch after yet another death really softened the blow. Who doesn't like presents? All the cool toys in the world won't make a difference without skill, however, and that's the area where I found myself rather lacking. Dead Ninjas is an insanely fast game, with Nintai being, more often than not, nothing but a blue (or whatever color her ninja robes are, there are several to unlock) streak, speeding across the screen. This speed is a necessity, too, as the game is on a timer, counting down to failure. Pick-ups can be discovered which add more time to the counter, but there's always the feeling that you're running low. Haste inspires recklessness, unfortunately, and that lack of caution spells death. Nintai can sprint past some enemies, slicing and dicing as she goes along, but others have shields, require more than one hit, are covered in spikes, fling projectiles, teleport, or are exceptionally fast, and they require a split-second analysis before tackling -- there's no time for more. So speed becomes dangerous, despite being key.  At first, this led to an agonizing amount of frustration, as Nintai continually got turned into a red smear on the floor of this unwelcoming tower, but I was getting irritated by my own failings, not the design of the game. I got carried away by the delightful 16-bit violence and extreme pace, and would just run into confrontations without a second thought. Practice and experience made me a slightly better ninja. Make no mistake, however, I'm still terrible.  It's all about getting into a rhythm, and when you start to recognize enemies, it takes less than a second to recall the best way to slay them. Continually slaughtering the tower's residents in quick succession builds up Nintai's quickly diminishing rage meter, and when it's activated she becomes an unstoppable force of destruction. Those moments are the game's best, sprinting down the tower as an invincible, deadly whirlwind. And the more enemies you kill while in rage mode, the longer it lasts.  The floor layouts, enemy placements, and item locations are all randomly generated, making each new game after a death a fresh experience. Sure, it means that you won't be memorizing the levels, but it also means you won't have to play through the same section over and over again, which would certainly happen in a game this tricky. Filling out the roster of ghastly enemies are a bunch of rather unfriendly bosses, and a very traditional bunch they are, too. They all come with special abilities, patterns that must be memorized (usually simple ones), and weaknesses that can be exploited. While challenging, most of them have a fairly small amount of health and can be dispatched quite quickly once you figure out how to deal with them. I'm not the most patient of fellows, so I appreciated the fact that these villains didn't outstay their welcome. Die while fighting them, though, and you'll be sent back to the beginning of the section, a hundred floors above them.  Appropriately for a challenging game such as this, Super House of Dead Ninjas sends you into the fray with only minimal instruction. There is, however, a rather novel tutorial in the form of a comic, accessible from the main menu. Contained within are little tips and tricks that the main game doesn't really share with you, and one one occasion it even offered me the key to defeating a boss I'd been struggling with. It's well worth reading, and even rewards players with a new costume. Super House of Dead Ninjas can be played for free on the Adult Swim website, but getting it on Steam nets you an upgraded version. The map editor and player-created dungeons offer up tools for you creative types and a bounty of new levels for those that can't get enough of the main game and its extra, transdimensional tower. It also comes with added items and unlockables, as well as an upgraded soundtrack. The latter is cracking, as well, containing some wonderful oriental-themed chiptunes.  This is one game that I know I'll be playing long after this review is finished with. The instant challenge and frantic pace makes it perfect to just pick up and play for 15 minutes, while the tight controls and potentially limitless number of floors makes it easy to pour hours into. If you're not convinced, then check out the free version and see if it floats your boat. I do have one caveat, however. Whatever you do, don't play this with a keyboard. It's possible, but you'll just be giving yourself another unnecessary and fairly unpleasant challenge. Thankfully, Super House of Dead Ninjas comes with native controller support, and after a few initial hiccups, it seems to work perfectly now.
Dead Ninjas review photo
The tower of a thousand deaths
After climbing down 350 floors of traps, monsters, and ninja ghosts, not to mention the extra levels seemingly without end, I've come to one conclusion: I should never become a ninja. Sure, I should have known that before I e...

Review: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus

Mar 01 // Chris Carter
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Team NinjaPublisher: Tecmo KoeiReleased: February 26, 2013MSRP: $39.99 I'll be blunt -- this version of Sigma 2 is locked at a maximum of 30 frames per second, and at times (especially in the game's AI partner based Tag Mode), it doesn't even reach that. Somehow, Team Ninja managed to regress from the beautiful port of Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus like it has never developed for the Vita before, and I can't explain it. The first Sigma Plus did run at 30 FPS, which sacrificed the integrity of the original a bit, but it ran consistently at 30 FPS -- Sigma 2 ... not so much.During the single-player campaign it mainly happens when there's lots of action on-screen, but in Tag Mode with an AI companion, it's extremely noticeable and borderline unplayable. In a fairly absurd move, I turned off the game's gore, turned up the camera speed, and the framerate improved a little bit, but treating a Vita port of an old release like it's a PC game on a low-end rig is a bit ridiculous. To add insult to injury, the franchise staple option of Japanese audio is mysteriously missing from the game, as is multiplayer in any form. Unlike the PS3 version of Sigma 2, there's no option to play online, or even local co-op for Tag Mode. This feature was quietly removed for no real reason, so be aware of it if you're looking to grab this game to play with friends on the go. I wouldn't go so far as to say co-op is essential to the Ninja Gaiden franchise, but it was a fun ancillary addition in Sigma 2, and it makes no sense to remove it from a supposedly enhanced Vita port. Team Ninja needs to get working on a patch very, very soon to fix the framerate, dual audio, and lack of co-op options, as they're absolutely essential to the experience and cripple this port. Outside of those major problems, however, the game is pretty much the exact same as Sigma 2. It has all of the content, all of the same enemy layouts, and it's still very much a Ninja Gaiden game. Just like Sigma 2, the initial difficulties have been toned down a bit. This is fine by me, considering the barriers to entry for new fans have been lowered, and the higher difficulties still possess a decent challenge. Sigma games are a different experience from the originals, and they've served their purpose just fine. Locales are varied and beautiful looking, and enemy types and boss fights are extremely fun to engage and figure out. Like the original Ninja Gaiden, NG2 offers some of the most iconic and challenging boss fights in an action game to date. All of the controls on the Vita work exactly as intended, with an easy on-screen tap for readying ranged weapons. I had no problem at all getting Ryu to do what I needed to do outside of fighting the framerate. When the game actually ran at its maximum framerate, combat was fast, fluid, and enjoyable just like it's always been. The camera is improved from the first game, but then again I never really had an issue with it in general. In terms of actual new content, there is Ninja Race mode, but it's not very fun. The main issue is that during the "race," you'll have to constantly stop and battle enemies in preset arenas before progressing. Essentially, Ninja Race just functions as a slightly modified Time Attack mode. What Team Ninja could have offered instead is a literal race through arranged portions of the game with few if any holdups, and original content. Instead, it feels like numerous parts of the game were just lazily copied and pasted with a timer thrown in.On top of the technical issues, there's barely anything new that's been added here to justify another purchase. It's a shame, because I really enjoyed the original Ninja Gaiden 2 and Sigma 2. Team Ninja really missed the opportunity to add a killer feature like the ability to replay Time Attack missions with extra characters or enhance Ninja Race, which would have justified a double/triple-dip. With the removal of content like Japanese audio and online co-op, this game doesn't offer enough to truly justify the "Plus" in its name. Team Ninja really needs to get its act together going forward, or the Ninja Gaiden series will be beyond repair.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Vita photo
Sigma 2 Minus
After the extremely sour-tasting Ninja Gaiden III that was, in my mind, a disaster in nearly every way possible, it's a bit hard to trust Team Ninja without Tomonobu Itagaki at the helm. Nonetheless, Team Ninja is still extre...

Ninja Gaiden smartglass photo
Ninja Gaiden smartglass

Ninja Gaiden 3 on 360 will feature Smartglass integration


Syncronize YouTube videos
Mar 01
// Chris Carter
Tecmo Koei has confirmed that in addition to the new content that was added to the Wii U version of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, the Xbox 360 version of the game will be getting Smartglass support. Basically, this version of...
Mark of Ninja Steam sale photo
Mark of Ninja Steam sale

Mark of the Ninja is $4.99 on Steam right now


That's a steal for this underrated game
Mar 01
// Chris Carter
Mark of the Ninja, one of the best games released last year, is now on sale for $4.99 on Steam. If you haven't gotten a chance to play this gem yet, now is the time, as you can spend your entire weekend slinking around and sl...
Dead Ninjas photo
Dead Ninjas

Action-platformer Super House of Dead Ninjas hits Steam


New rooms, weapons, bosses, and custom levels
Feb 18
// Jordan Devore
I can see myself spending a long, long time playing Super House of Dead Ninjas. Originally released as a Flash game playable on [adult swim] games, this 2D action-platformer has since made its way onto Steam with exclusive ne...
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus photo
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus on Vita: New screens, details


Don't be a Hero
Feb 12
// Dale North
The sequel to Vita the Ninja Gaiden franchise launch title is coming later this month. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus drops February 26, complete witha new cast, new features, boss battles and more. Tecmo Koei dumped a bunch of ne...
Razor's Edge on PS3 / 360 photo
Razor's Edge on PS3 / 360

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge outed for PS3 / 360


Well, that was fast
Feb 05
// Tony Ponce
Not even three months since Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge landed, we already have evidence that PS3 and 360 ports of the enhanced Wii U port are on the way. Japanese retailer Rakuten has let slip that Razor's Edge will drop fo...
Ninja Gaiden photo
Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus gets a fancy gameplay trailer


I'm still on the fence
Jan 18
// Chris Carter
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus is on the way, and to celebrate, Tecmo Koei has a new gameplay trailer ready for eye consumption. Of course, that stupid armadillo boss is back, and I can hear the sounds of my controller hitting th...
Ninja Gaiden Z photo
Ninja Gaiden Z

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z development consoles detailed


Set for 360 and PS3
Dec 25
// Chris Carter
Remember Ninja Gaiden Z? That weird spinoff game where the chief goal is to kill the franchise hero Ryu Hayabusa? Although details on planned platforms have been scarce, leading some to believe it was a next-gen project, it s...
 photo

Info dump for Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus on PS Vita


Spin-off of the Senran Kagura series on 3DS
Oct 28
// Tony Ponce
In my my post last week about new Bandai figurines, I very casually mentioned that booby ninja schoolgirl series Senran Kagura was receiving a new installment on PS Vita. It immediately occurred to me that Dtoid never formal...
 photo

An hour of Mark of the Ninja with Nels Anderson


Sep 12
// Rick KingFoom Olson
Last night on Mash Tactics, we had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Nels Anderson, Lead Designer of the amazing stealth platformer, Mark of the Ninja. If you just so happened to miss it live, check out the abov...
 photo

I think Gyoretsu Nageloop has FMV lesbian grenade ninja


Aug 19
// Jonathan Holmes
Gyroetsu Nageloop is a videogame published by Nintendo in Japan for the 3DS eShop. It plays like easily comprehended puzzle game (specifically, like Magnetica) but it's storyline is... well, I'm not really sure what it is. T...
 photo

Senran Kagura-themed desserts... why am I not surprised?


Aug 15
// Tony Ponce
Senran Kagura Burst, the sequel to last year's 3DS ninja booby high school brawler, is scheduled for release in Japan on August 30. Time for one last marketing push, right? Until August 19, you can visit Cafe Euro in Akihabar...
 photo

New Naruto SD game by the makers of Mega Man Zero


Jul 09
// Tony Ponce
I've only been half paying attention to the licensed anime titles coming out of Japan lately. I mean, after hearing about the 1000th Dragon Ball Z iteration, it's quite easy to lose interest. But this new Naruto game for 3DS...
 photo

BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS BUTTS BOOBS


Jun 22
// Tony Ponce
This is the opening movie for Senran Kagura Burst on 3DS. In the words of Jonathan Holmes, "I've never seen something switch from totally awesome to totally stupid so rapidly." It begins with your typical "stare longingly ou...
 photo

E3: Takamuru's Ninja Castle may contain ninjas


Jun 07
// Fraser Brown
In this video from E3 2012, Jonathan Holmes shows off his ninja star-throwing skills in "Takamuru's Ninja Castle," one of the Nintendo Land minigames being used to showcase the Wii U. It looks pretty responsive, and quite a bit of fun. As Holmes said, it's got that Nintendo whimsy. Take a look at the video to see how he fares against these adorable assassins.

E3: Hands-on with Nintendo Land: Takamuru's Ninja Castle

Jun 07 // Chad Concelmo
Takamuru's Ninja Castle uses the WIi U GamePad in arguably the most creative way. By holding the GamePad to the side, players slide their fingers forward on the touch screen to shoot throwing stars on the T.V. screen. It is a smooth, intuitive, very effective mechanic and works perfectly! If you barely move your finger forward, the throwing star will just fall to the ground. You really need to slide your finger as fast as possible, as speed totally matters. In this minigame, the player is tasked with battling off an army of ninjas through different levels. Each ninja has different specialties, with some just jumping around, others throwing stars back at you, and some super-powered ones attacking with bombs and giant swords. Every time you hit a ninja, the multiplier starts. By not missing, you can rack up your score to be ranked on the in-game leaderboard. Get hit by too many projectiles, though, and it is game over. This was easily the most basic of all the minigames in Nintendo Land, but it was still really fun. Aiming and throwing the ninja stars was completely easy and felt really solid. Of all the Wii U games I played, this is the one that "casual" gamers are going to get the most excited about. Similar to the excitement of playing the Wii for the first time, there is something to interacting on the screen and actually "throwing" things from the GamePad to the T.V. screen. It is a clever gimmick and fun to do over and over again as the ninjas start to fill the screen. Of all the Nintendo Land games, this one may end up being the most repetitive, but with a little more variety in the levels, Takamuru's Ninja Castle could turn out to be an addictive little distraction. At the very least, I know my mom is going to love it.
 photo

This is the third in a series to preview all of the games within Nintendo Land for the Wii U. You can check out The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest here and Luigi's Ghost Mansion right here! Ninjas star in some of my favorite g...

 photo

Marvelous truly knows how to market Senran Kagura Burst


Apr 25
// Tony Ponce
Last week, Marvelous revealed Senran Kagura Burst, the sequel the hit 3DS brawler starring school-aged masturbation fodder. And what goes better with horny adolescent fap material if not a box of tissues? On April 28 and 29, ...
 photo

Holy motorboating, Batman! Senran Kagura to get a sequel


Apr 18
// Tony Ponce
Ninja schoolgirl brawler Senran Kagura sold, like, super well in Japan, so while us Westerners wait ever so patiently for a localization announcement, Marvelous is wasting no time pumping out a sequel. Appropriately titled Se...

PAX: Mark of the Ninja is a REAL ninja game

Apr 08 // Tony Ponce
The world of Mark of the Ninja is cast almost entirely in shadow -- the darkness is your friend. Head-on confrontations are the last thing you should ever attempt, because exposure to light weakens your abilities. You have to run across rooftops and crawl through vents, destroying light sources if you feel that they'll give your location away. The game presents all these functions that fans of other stealth games like Tenchu, Thief, or Metal Gear Solid would be intimately familiar with. When an enemy notices you, an alert noise will sound, then you must stay hidden until the timer runs down and the guards resume their normal duties. There are also various objects like vases and closets for you to hide behind or to stuff a corpse into to avoid detection. When you toss your kunai at a gong, a metal grill, a light fixture, etc., it will trigger a sound that is represented visually by an expanding white circle. Any enemy within the sound's radius will be distracted, allowing you to sneak past. Conversely, sprinting and other actions can draw attention towards you. You must be aggressive yet discreet at all times. Though direct combat is not ideal, you possess a limited set of attacks. Preferably, you'll want to sneak up behind an enemy for a swift kill. A button and a direction arrow will appear above enemies' head, and if you fail to execute the combo correctly, their deaths will be noisy and possibly alert nearby foes. On the other hand, sometimes you'll want to make a little noise. If you can kill an enemy in the presence of another enemy via something like an environmental kill, the second guy will freak out and start shooting wildly. You can then use his confusion to your advantage. Mark of the Ninja values players' individual styles and won't demand them to play in a manner they are unaccustomed too. In other words, no Deus Ex: Human Revolution boss fights here. The "boss fights" are the higher profile targets that are protected by numerous guards or concealed deep within a building. The challenge comes in discovering the appropriate means in which to take the target out, not in whittling down a health bar or engaging in a flow-breaking brawl. Klei is intelligently adding all these contextual clues and references to other stealth games to welcome genre fans and newcomers alike, all without making the controls excessively convoluted. You feel like a true ninja, wall-kicking up air vents and grappling across branches with a simple click of the shoulder trigger. A checkpoint is always close by, and the penalty for failure is never so great that you'll feel like you aren't making progress. Mark of the Ninja comes out this summer for XBLA. It's got real ninjas. Ryu Hayabusa can suck it.
 photo

Ninjas may be one of the most popular character tropes in videogames after zombies and robots, but in all honesty, most of them suck at the one thing they are supposed to be good at. Ryu Hayabusa may strut around like a big o...

Preview: Ninja Gaiden 3 is bloody fun

Jan 24 // Dale North
Ninja Gaiden 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Team NinjaPublisher: Tecmo KoeiRelease: March 2012  Series fans will be surprised at how talky Ryu and friends are. It's not to the point where I think he'd ninja off to the mall foodcourt to gossip with his girlfriends, but the chatter ever-present, and markedly different than what fans are used to. In his journey in this early code through London and later Dubai, he flaps his yap in cutscenes, in between battles, and even as he moves through these locales. Sometimes he's talking to himself, others he's chatting with a remote agent via headset, and in one scene he blows off his blue-haired student, Ayane. But, for as talky as he is, know that Ryu hasn't lost that dark killer vibe.  Call me! Some of the talk is directive, helping Ryu set a path through these levels, but most of it is story development, as Team Ninja is focused on telling you a real story this time around. It's a bit too early to know where the story is going, but take comfort in knowing that scenario writer Masato Kato has been brought on board to help with that. You've seen Kato's work in the original Ninja Gaiden, as well as in Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII. I don't mind that Ryu thinks about his killing a bit more now, and that there's a deeper narrative this time around, but I hope they don't make him soft. We love Ninja Gaiden because Ryu is a badass killer. I hope he stays that way. When Ryu isn't running his mouth, he's cutting bitches, and it's...it's glorious! Coming off working on reviews of multiple Japanese role-playing games, playing Ninja Gaiden 3 is like a well-deserved, bloody vacation. Thrashing buttons to jam swords into flesh has never felt so good, and it also looks pretty fantastic with the dark red sprays of blood fountaining up from piles of still-standing victims that should have been dead a long time ago. It only took about three minutes of play for me to find myself laughing maniacally at my ridiculously long-lasting chains of kills. The game's new cinematic kills only served to increase the volume of my laughing as they zoom in on the action and prompt you with what button you should be mashing to make your kills even more gory. The control feels tight and fast, and it seems like Team Ninja has worked hard keep you focused on the action, and not stuck trying to find your bearings. I'm pleased to say that the game's camera gave me very little issue, with only minor hang-ups in really tight quarters like stairwells. The majority of the time I found that the camera was smartly focused on the action, and I never found myself waiting for it, or trying to correct it. Combine this with the game's ability to smoothly transition attacks from one body to the next and you have seamless, satisfying cutting action.  NG3 is more varied and cinematic than other series games. The chains of bloody carnage were broken up with sequences that had me climbing walls with throwing knifes, sliding under speeding trucks, or gliding from rooftops to the ground, dodging missiles on the way down. I loved cutting the legs off a massive robot spider tank to make it explode in the background in that very Japanese way. It's all one ninja against the world, with attacks and fire coming from everywhere, sometimes so much so that Ryu has to duck into an alley to catch a breather. One memorable section had me creeping through endless heavy fog, stepping around laser sights to avoid detection. When found by a stray sight, a heavy percussion-only song kicked up while I dodged incoming missiles and invisible attacks from all directions. Mind you that none of these bits were cutscenes -- all gameplay! The game eased me into the killing with fewer enemies that were just asking to be cut up and juggled, but quickly moved me into situations where I was surrounded on all sides by soldiers, gunmen, guys with swords, other ninja, and even assholes with rocket launchers. In those times I couldn't cut fast enough, which let me know that the developers have not forgot their roots. As always, combat centers being able to quickly attack and watch your back to evade or block at the same time, mixing up the two to make it through bouts of relentless attacks. Feels good, man. Of course, it's not all cutting. Later in the game, escalating the challenge, Ryu gets a crossbow that has the player trying to pick off distant attackers while watching his back. Another new weapon, Ryu's cursed arm, builds up attack power from consecutive kills. When it glows red it can be charged up for an ultimate attack that kills all surrounding enemies in one hit. Finally, ninja magic is a bit different this time around. In the only example the demo provided, kills fill up a Ninpo meter that will let you unleash a flaming dragon into the sky to burn all enemies and fill your lifebar back up at the same time.  For the first time, Team Ninja is thinking about accessibility. Series games have always been difficult, and I'm sure Tecmo Koei realizes that this limited accessibility, so that's probably why they added a new Hero mode to the mix. "Normal" is right in line with what series fans would expect, meaning that it's still pretty difficult -- classic Ninja Gaiden. "Hard" is hilariously difficult, and will likely be a treat for Ninja Gaiden followers. But Hero makes it so that ninjas-in-training can also enjoy the story, with what seems to be assists in blocking, and less agressive enemies. I probably enjoyed myself most on "Normal," but that's not to say that "Hero" didn't provide a strong challenge. I definitely wouldn't call Hero mode dumbed down. One bit the devs still need to work on is the enemy voice work. When you combine the lack of variety of voice bits and their high frequency, you get a funny really voice track. I couldn't stop laughing at the near endless string of exclamations on the battleground: That's the ninja! Ninja! Shit! Back me up! Shit! Shit! Shit! Gimme some backup! Shit! It's still early, but Ninja Gaiden 3 is on the right track. The game is looking great, with a liquid smooth frame rate and some slick lighting. The camera needs more polish in tight areas, but it shows promise in the open ones. It is still too early to make a call on where the story is headed, but there's hints of something interesting brewing with Ryu's cursed arm and his occasional hesitance to kill. Yes, Ryu talks more and now seems to at least give pause before killing some people, but the action fans love is still in there. 
 photo

I was in Tokyo last year for the unveiling of Ninja Gaiden 3 to a select group of press. It certainly looked great, but some in attendance were worried about Team Ninja's changes to the tried-and-true formula. The latest in t...

 photo

Exclusive! Single off Random's Black Materia remix album


Jan 23
// Tony Ponce
The other day, I got an email from rapper Random, asking me if I'd be interested in scoring an exclusive single from his new Final Fantasy VII album Black Materia: The Remixes. My exact response was, "Aw, hells yeah! That wo...
 photo

Shinobido 2 trailer shows the way of the ninja


Jan 14
// Brett Zeidler
On February 22nd, the Vita is going to have a couple titles that feature a master ninja. There is, of course, Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, which features the legendary Ryu Hayabusa, but there's also another ninja stealth title t...
 photo

A LOT of ninjas are in Naruto Ultimate Storm Generations


Dec 22
// Josh Tolentino
A whopping seventy-two of them, in fact, and that's just counting the playable characters. The number swells considerably when you look at support-only characters and move-set variations on the same character (there are s...
 photo

The VGAs are just a few hours away, and we already have our first massive announcement from the show, leaked for your viewing pleasure. According to this trailer spotted on NeoGAF, Metal Gear Solid Rising is now called Metal ...

Hands-on: Ninja Gaiden 3's single and multiplayer modes

Dec 08 // Alessandro Fillari
Ninja Gaiden 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U)Developer: Team NinjaPublisher: Tecmo KoeiRelease: March 2012 (Wii U release date TBD) The single-player demo begins with Ryu and Agent Mizuki, a new ally to the player, making their way to a ruined city in Dubai. While still fairly early in the game, much has happened to Ryu. His cursed arm had absorbed the Dragon Sword and enhanced his fighting capabilities. Without his sword, he is left to find whatever weapon he can get his hands on. Before the start of the stage, Mizuki gives him a new modified bow with lock-on capabilities. From there, the stage starts with Ryu heading into the city, armed only with a bow. Just then, Ryu is ambushed by guards wielding rocket launchers and riding on hoverbikes. The opening of the stage serves as the tutorial for using the bow. While it should be familiar to fans of the previous games, the lock-on mechanic allows Ryu to pull off trickier shots with ease. When you aim down the bow, a reticule appears on the screen and enemies slow down to a crawl for a brief period, which gives you more time to react. Not only does this give you a tactical advantage, but it also allows you to shoot down incoming rockets. After making quick work of the enemies, Ryu is greeted by Ayane, a returning character from the previous games and the Dead or Alive series. During this cutscene, Ayane gives the player a new katana to wield. Now armed, Ryu heads deeper into the ruins. At this point, it becomes clear the shift in the overall tone of the game. With regards to reestablishing the series, the developers want the narrative to be a strong focus. When you enter the city, the game uses cinematic angles to establish the setting, the barren and weathered appearance of the ruins. During these moments of exposition, Ryu's movements slowdown in order to let you survey the environment and for the story to be told. Many of these moments felt like call backs to the Uncharted series, or other like minded narrative focused action-adventure games. Ryu himself has also become more talkative, and not nearly as brooding as he was in the previous games. While this may urk some long time fans, it does give him much more character and a much larger presence in the story. Plus, he's still just as badass as ever. After venturing further into the stage you come across another ambush with more soldiers, which jumps into the first fight with the new sword. Combat is just as fast and fierce as it was in the past. Agility, defense, and decisiveness are still very much the corner stones of the combat, but those aspects of battle are only matched by the sheer cunning of your enemies. The opponents you face still put up a good fight, but Ryu has a few new tricks of his own. Ryu's cursed arm absorbs energy through the carnage and violence of battle, which will build power toward his ultimate attack. Once his arm is glowing red, Ryu will launch into a powerful attack that will send him teleporting around the field and dispatching enemies in a single strike. This move is an evolution of the ultimate technique from the previous games, which required power orbs from fallen enemies for use. The orb mechanic has actually been removed altogether in favor of building up energy to keep players in the moment of battle. The presentation in how Ryu cuts down his enemies is now a larger focus in terms of both narrative and in the feedback of combat. Team Ninja calls this new aspect of the combat "steel on bone". While it gives off the idea that you enter a QTE sequence (which many thought at the TGS demonstration), it's much more of a visual impression. They opted to enhance this visual and cathartic moment in the deaths of the enemies to give players the feeling of cutting into a person, which explains the removal of the decapitation/dismemberment system from the previous games. This small moment in combat felt very satisfying, especially when up against a tough enemy. The Ninpo (ninja magic) has also seen some changes. Instead of having to use items to recharge your Ninpo, Team Ninja has opted to just focus on your performance during fights to recharge your usage. Ninpo magic does much more than dealing damage to enemies as it can heal your wounds as well. This not only gives it a much more strategic use, but it also creates a risk-reward system for it. Should you use it to summon a giant flame dragon to take out a group of enemies, heal your wounds, and finish off the rest on your own? Or should you save it, and let your full Ninpo gauge heal you after battle. It definitely puts an interesting spin on the use of Ninpo, and it made me think more on what I exactly I should be using it for. Throughout the stage, Ryu has to take advantage of his ninja training to traverse the ruined city. Wall running/jumping both make a welcome return, but a new feature shown in the previous demo back at TGS was the Kunai Climb. Using his kunai (ninja daggers), Ryu will be able to climb vertical surfaces to get to his destination. To be honest, I found this feature to be a bit jarring, in couple different ways. While there were on screen indicators to tell you which buttons to press, it was difficult to tell that you have to actively alternate between the trigger/button prompts on screen. Plus, it just feels a bit slow. I mean this is a ninja who can run up walls and possesses enhanced agility that no normal man has. I feel like there could've been a better way to show off vertical traversal, instead of something that just slows the overall pace to a crawl. Scattered throughout the stage is the presence of Ryu's falcon. The falcon serves as the save point for Ninja Gaiden 3, but also serves a narrative focus for the character. Like I mentioned earlier, the narrative is a strong focus, and much of the game has been streamlined in order to tell a tighter, more grounded story. Moreover, checkpoints have been added to keep players having to repeat chunks of story should they fall in battle without saving earlier. Towards the end of the demo, Ryu comes across a new enemy type that focuses on magic and grappling attacks. These guys were easily the toughest enemies that the demo had to offer, and they made a point of showing the player that similar tactics used on enemies from earlier weren't going to cut it this time. The enemies were immune resistant to weak attacks and projectiles, leaving the player to use the strong, heavy attacks to open up their defenses. After finishing the demo, staff members from Team Ninja recommended everyone on hand to try the Hard Mode, which was unveiled for the first time. After giving it a shot, I can honestly say that Team Ninja hasn't skipped out on offering a challenging game. Even on the Normal setting, the difficulty was still pretty fair and offered much resistance. However, the hard mode felt almost entirely different. Not only did they double the enemies thrown at you, but the AI went from manageable to just down right vicious. Moreover, the difficulty of this mode made the much touted presentation of the enemy death sequences fell all the more satisfying. It was quite a surprise to see how certain areas I cleared with ease in the previous setting turned into death traps on hard mode. Fans of the sheer challenge of the previous titles will not be disappointed. Team Ninja also unveiled their brand new multiplayer mode. Their goal was to bring the fast paced action oriented gameplay into the competitive online arena. Described as a "world of ninjas," players will be able to create and customize their own ninja characters, and meet other players to compete in four-versus-four team battles or eight-player free-for-all matches. The concept of the new mode is quite novel indeed. You create your own ninja, level up, and acquire new gear and weapons for him to use. The modes demonstrated were classic multiplayer staples such as team deathmatch and free-for-all mode. Obviously, players will either be placed on teams to compete for kills or go out on their own to end on top. Control wise, your ninja is essentially a weaker version of Ryu Hayabusa, and only possess a limited number of shurikens and arrows. However, they still have access to the same moves, techniques, and Ninpo that Ryu has keeping every player on a level playing field. Unfortunately, the multiplayer mode wasn't without issues. In terms of sheer design, the fast paced nature of the combat did not take into account the structure and pace of multiplayer matches. The one-on-one DNA of the combat didn't seem to jive too well with the mass nature of multiplayer. Not to mention, most matches consisted of players converging to the center of the map and creating this one giant crowded brawl. And no, it didn't look particularly cool at all. It was neat at first, I actually got caught up into a chase with another player on the rooftops that led to me finishing him off with an Izuna Drop on the ground below, but then the tedium and sloppiness sets in after those brief moments of brilliance are gone. What's worse, there were severe technical issues hampering the matches. Not only in terms of lag with connection and frame-rate, but also with lag of the button inputs. There were points where you have to mash buttons to escape from enemy killing blows, but because of the lag it made it almost impossible to escape from. Plus, the "bone on steel" aspect of combat looks very awkward during matches. It looks awesome when you're doing it to an opponent, but when you're watching it happen with different players right it front of you, it looks a bit bizarre seeing two ninjas moving in slow motion during the death animation. Especially when teammates awkwardly try to break it up, which they're not able to do by the way. Perhaps things will turn out better for the multiplayer once the technical and balancing issues will be ironed out, and also when the specifics of the unlocks and depth of customization will become more clear. It's a welcome feature to have with the game, and there's a ton of potential there for growth within the community, but from my experiences with the new gameplay mode, it just felt a bit uninspired. Here's hoping they can get it to work out by the time of release. Overall, I was quite impressed with how the single-player turned. The focus on having a stronger narrative got me a little worried, but I really enjoyed what I got in my hands. I feel that the more grounded I feel that the the removal of the upgrade system, orbs, and static save points will still leave fans a bit worried all the way till release. But as a fan of the series, I can say that the single-player for Ninja Gaiden 3 definitely holds it's own. Team Ninja has set out exactly what they wanted to do in trying to reestablish the series and bring it into a new light. At the same time, they've done much to preserve what many value in the series. Hopefully, they can get certain aspects of multiplayer ironed out before release.
 photo

As a long time fan of the Ninja Gaiden series, I was a bit skeptical when I learned Team Ninja was looking to reestablish the series. After it's last showing at TGS left many confused and a bit worried, me included, the devel...

 photo

Ezio gets all stop-motiony in this fan animation


Nov 20
// Tony Ponce
Stop-motion animation will never die, and the world is a better place because of that! In this wonderfully choreographed video, Ezio from Assassin's Creed goes toe-to-toe with... ummm... uhhhh... the guy from Tenchu? I dunno... maybe? Whatevs, some ninja dude who gets his sh*t ruined. It's all good fun, so no biggie. Assassin's Creed Revelations Fan Tribute: Assassin VS Ninja! [YouTube]
 photo

For real, here's eight minutes of Senran Kagura gameplay


Sep 24
// Tony Ponce
BWA HA HA HA HA HA! Okay, we all had some laughs. Time to get serious. Yes, there is actual gameplay footage of Senran Kagura, only it's all hiding. Like all things on the Internet, secrets aren't kept secret for long. Above...
 photo

Senran Kagura video gets jiggly with it


Sep 24
// Tony Ponce
I'm sure there is a case to be made about upcoming booby ninja high school 3DS game Senran Kagura's being a legitimately solid title with plenty of action to satisfy the needs of the brawler crowd. This video, though? Doesn't make that case. 3DS Senran Kagura Changing Room [YouTube]

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...