So I picked this one up, despite the very lackluster reviews
(58 on Metacritic). Honestly, this might be the most poorly reviewed game I've ever paid money for. However, I'm an absolute sucker for anything with "stealth" and "ninja" in the title, so I figured I'd give it a shot. A few impressions after about an hour:
- My guess is that most gamers will hate this game. The controls are kinda wonky, the story is lame, the VO work is terrible, the AI sucks (more on that in a sec), the combat system is poor, the character models are blocky, and the graphics aren't that great. So...it's basically exactly like the original Tenchu games
. If you think back, all of these were very justified criticisms leveled at that game as well, but it was still a hell of a lot of fun if you got into the spirit of the game. Same thing applies here. If you focus solely on it's technical merits, you'll be ready to chuck it out within an hour. However, if you give it a little time, are willing to forgive some graphic and AI shortcomings, there is certainly some stealthy ninja fun to be had here.
- My guess is that the biggest difference between Shinobido and Tenchu will be Shinobido's lack of level variety. Tenchu had some fantastic levels, and from what I understand, Shinobido only has a handful of maps, but gives you different objectives for each. This probably won't give it a ton of longevity, but we'll see
- The main complaint I've seen is that the AI is poor. However, I'm personally completely OK with how the AI works. Yes, guards will only pursue you until you break line of sight, then give up. Remember though, the focus of this game is on stealth and the hand-to-hand combat is, frankly, the least fun part of the game. If the AI was super-aggressive and enemies constantly pursued you the minute you were spotted, I think it would suck all the fun out of the game. As is, if you goof up and are seen, you are able to make a quick escape and the AI will reset after a while allowing you to give it another shot. I much prefer this extreme to guards being able to sniff you out at the smallest sound.
- While the overall story is pretty lame, there's an interesting system of accepting missions from different factions. For example: wiping out every guard at a base during an assassination will decrease the military might of that family, while earning you reputation points with another. From what I understand, this may lead to you having to face less enemies in upcoming missions. Stealing the food crates from one group will make their soldiers hungrier, therefore more susceptible to the poison sushi traps you can leave. I haven't dug into it enough to judge this yet, but it's a pretty cool system in theory.
Honestly, I'd recommend that most people wait for this one to hit the bargin bin (or the trading forum, when I'm done with it
). However, for those like me who were diehard fans of the original Tenchu series, this will give you at least a few hours of stealthy nostalgic entertainment. Makes me with they'd port over some of the Tenchu games though. Would love to give those another try.