|Game Name:||Shinobido: Tales of the Ninja|
Shinobido: Tales of the Ninja is a Action video game published by Spike released on February 9, 2007 for the PlayStation Portable.
Review by Switchblade1080:
Shinobido: Tales of the Ninja is one of those unloved and unknown games you can find on the PSP. If you’re looking for a great Ninja game, this isn’t it but its wide variety of playable characters (Even the nameless guards are playable), huge amount of missions and stages, and even ad-hoc multiplayer (that I haven’t played) make it a worthy download when you have nothing else to think about.
Graphics: The graphics of this game are okay at best. Its nothing you’ve seen before in many late-PSX titles like Tenchu. One one hand, the Character models look pretty detailed and smooth (though saying its better than those in Dissidia is really pushing it). On the other hand, the levels look a little too unexciting at best. Hell, even “Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins” for the PS1 had better level graphics than this game because for the most part the levels in this one is mostly sand, wooden houses, grass, some half-assed cliffs, and a few stone architectures…like the stairs. They all look like they’re made by a level editor of sorts, but the level design is mostly well done. In short; they aren’t eye catching but they do the job…not perfectly but at least it does work well.
Sound: The sound effects of this game are “meh” at best AND worst. I mean, basic sounding slashes and explosions and stuff…there’s nothing to be REALLY excited about. But on the other hand they do the job fine for what its trying to be. The voice acting is actually pretty decent and even funny at times; it kind of makes me chuckle when the Ichijo Samurai (That black/white samurai dude with a headband) all sound like Betty from Kung Pow (ngyeeaaahhhh :p) but it does have some serious ones (like the named bosses and samurai chiefs). If it annoys you it won’t stick around anyway. The music is awesome, it has that old feeling you hear in the old Tenchu games; its intense and even dramatic (especially the assassination mission theme).
Gameplay: Oh boy…where do I begin?? The game is pretty fun and very colorful to say the least, each playable character and even playable non-player character have a good variety of moves. And the playstyle dramatically changes based on the character you play as. For example; Ninjas like Goh (that black ninja dude) can instantly kill unaware opponents with “Chimatsuri Sappo” from any location and even midair, also they can dash their way to an assassination target or to safety. Ranged characters like Gunmen mooks are a little more strategic…they can attack and even kill enemies with ease from afar, but they’re slow to move and are very indeed screwed when surrounded at close range. Warriors have an excellent variety of moves; some even rivaling ninjas themselves, but they have no instant kill moves (at least, when ascending warrior isn’t their unlockable move.) and struggle at climbing ledges and rooftops. making them a little easier to spot when the enemy is even slightly aware of them. And those are by no means the only character archetypes you play as…you can also unlock “Yojimbo”: mercenary samurai who manage to have an instant kill move (and have a variety of dangerous moves worthy of named characters in their own right), Taraba Ninja who are loud and heavily armored “ninja” who can take a beating with their bucketheaded armor and even have a lot of ranged gunpowder attacks like artillery cannons….IN A NINJA GAME.
As much as the variety of playstyles sound welcome, there are indeed flaws. First of all, controlling the camera is cumbersome. You have to switch to a first person view and move the analog stick because the d-pad is where your items are ready to be used. The lock-on is a MAJOR pain in the ass..you can’t switch targets with it and you have to get closer to a specific enemy to lock on to them, this especially gets insane when you can also lock-on to your NPC allies…much more so when said ally is a VIP on a mission.
Replayability: This is indeed the game’s few truly redeeming factors, at first you can only play as Goh. Dispatching enemies left and right with your ninja skillz. But it isn’t until the 3rd unlock (A Samurai mook) that the game truly opened its potential. You see; as you play through the game and its missions, more and more characters are eventually unlocked (luckily you don’t need any bullshit A+++ ranks or a certain annoying condition either). Because this game has 36 characters!! Most of them different types of Samurai, Nameless rival ninja mooks, and even A NINJA BEAR!! Each giving a lot of opportunity in even the same mission. Unfortunately brute force isn’t going to give you much reward as opposed to stealthily doing so (It IS a ninja game first and foremost). It also has 80 missions!! Well…I can hear you now saying its probably all repetitive with the occasional badass moment yes…but at least the same type of mission gets harder in terms of placement and level design. Though bear in mind that it probably won’t be 80 different levels.
Overall: Its definitely a flawed game, and its far from perfect. But I personally love it, and I’m sure there are better games out there. But if you are at least a little patient and are used to playing shitty games…then its definitely something that can at least be played in short bursts. Its a decent game for what it deliberately tries to do, but other than the variety of playable NPCs to choose from…don’t expect any more than what it offers.
Warning: This game does not have autosave…so you have to save it on your own.
One more thing; Sometimes the game renders more enemies than its chosen clock speed can handle…you can overclock it but it gobbles the battery power.