Ninja Blade

Bit of a rip-off? Well, maybe. But of what, exactly?

Take two parts Ninja Gaiden, lame leather fetish and all, garnish with lashings of Devil May Cry, leave to fester until early 2009, and you have the latest action title from Japanese developers From Software, the familiarly-titled Ninja Blade. While strongly reminiscent of Dante’s demon-slashing adventures, throw in the monsters from Dead Space (which, obviously, were right out of The Thing anyway), and the ‘humans mutating, taking over the city’ plot of Resident Evil and every zombie movie ever.

Tokyo is infected with a terrifying sniffle that turns its inhabitants into rubber-limbed, flesh-addicted flying/running/scything monsters, and you are the razor-festooned greaser ninja soldier Ken (as opposed to Gaiden’s Ryu, suitably) Ogawa. As part of a highly-trained team of crack ninjas, your chance of fighting the infestation was always slim, but once the team is dramatically betrayed by one of their own (y’know, like in every other game plot we’ve seen of late), pervy Kenneth is out on his ass.

To be fair, the footage we’ve seen proves he’s a bit of an agile bastard, and From Software brag that every fight you face will make you pause to consider the best tactics, the right combination of weapon and skill to make short work of the veined freak you have to kill. Two of his best skills will be Ninja Vision (which basically highlights vulnerable spots on your enemy and points you to the next on-rails checkpoint, but heightens the damage you incur as you use it), and Todome Attack, which is a finishing move, guiding you right to the monster’s heart. There will also be many quick-time event moments – you like those, don’t you? Pressing buttons when told to?

The developers boast that they’ve directly mapped their in-game Tokyo from real life, with closer realism than ever before, but right now it’s looking… sorry to say it… just like Ninja Gaiden 2.5. However, the fans will lap it up for that very fact – Ninja Blade will scratch an itch for undiscerning leather fetishists everywhere come the new year.

Dec 3, 2008

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