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Ninja: End of Honor
Score: 4.5 / 10
Red Ninja: End of Honor tries hard to be a
good stealthy action game but it falls shorts – and way too short to
resemble anything close to fun.
Playing as the well-endowed Kurenai, a ninja driven by revenge for the
murder of her father (surprisingly not out for revenge against the
costume designer that game her the ridiculous outfit). That’s pretty
much it in terms of story development – 95% of the game is spent dishing
out bloody violence to anyone that gets in her way.
And of that 95% you’ll spend a great deal of time battling the
horrendously twitchy camera that does a great job positioning itself at
the worst possible angles. Think of other ninja games like Otogi 2 or
Ninja Gaiden. Neither had perfect cameras but
in comparison to Red Ninja… let me put it
like this. Red Ninja is a sloppy drunk trying to tap dance; Otogi 2 is a
pair of ballroom dancers, dazzling us with the choreography, timing and
not-so-subtle sexual tension. But the in-game camera isn’t the only
strike against Red Ninja – there are at least two others that make
playing a chore or too easy.
The first is that Kurenai’s main weapon,
the tetsugen, which is basically a dagger on the end of a long string.
It makes dispatching enemies a very quick and simple procedure
(sometimes cutting them in half to boot). It has two upgrades which make
life even easier and opens up the ability to swing from some objects.
Kurenai can wall-run but actually mastering the technique is night
impossible. Wall-running is one of those moves that has become a
required aspect of any third-person action game – Prince of Persia,
Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden, it goes on – so when it’s not done well it really
shows. Besides the sensible way of dispatching enemies either by
hammering on the A-button or winging the tetsugen, Kurenai can also
“seduce” enemies, which basically works to lure over a lone guard so he
can be killed with a swift slash. Kurensai is a sexy character in
videogame terms so it’s a shame there aren’t more seduction animation.
(Disappointingly, there’s no Mardi Gras move.)
The presentation side is – as they say in the game reviewing biz –
serviceable. Although Red Ninja is okay to look at on its own, it pales
when put alongside Ninja Gaiden or Otogi 2. Also, because of the camera
I never got the feeling of “being” in the space – it was always Kurenai
and the immediate surroundings. What voice acting and muse there is also
average, at best.
How can anyone justify dropping $50 on a ninja game with a broken
camera, un uber weapon that makes most of the game a cakewalk, some
twitchy control and only a so-so presentation? I certainly can’t.