NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Do you ever get that feeling, the one where your rival just needs to die, and if you have to take orders from some flamboyant CEO as you travel through wastelands to get to him, so be it?

Apparently Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z does, and it’s here to help anyone with the same feeling scratch that itch. Click on the link to read our full review of the game.

NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
Systems: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], XBox 360, PC
Developer: Spark Unlimited
Publisher: Tecmo KOEI
Release: March 18, 2014
MSRP: $59.99 USD (Steam)

The story sees us on the adventure of Yaiba Kamikaze, rival of longtime Ninja Gaiden protagonist Ryu Hayabusa. Not half the ninja that Ryu is, Yaiba is executed in the game’s first cutscene, only to be resurrected in Russia by Del Gonzo, the head of a giant corporation, and his assistant, Ms. Monday. All this happens in the midst of a biochemical hazard incident, with both the Russian military and a smattering of zombies called “stiffs” on Yaiba’s tail as he pursues Hayabusa for revenge.

The cel-shaded graphics fit the more goofy tone of this entry in the series very well, with enemies glowing a bright neon starkly contrasting against the more flatly colored backgrounds. Environments are chaotically pleasing with buildings torn to jagged rubble, and enemy designs, specifically the bosses and mini-bosses, look just as crazy as they should. Never in my life did I think I’d be fighting a giant mutated two-headed baby.

Even learning the enemy tells is fun, such as the zombie clown who wields a pair of meat cleavers called “Sidesplitter.” Prior to performing his unblockable attack, he’ll send up a bunch of balloons and screech out the tune of “Pop goes the Weasel.” Graphics, sound, and gameplay seamlessly work together and reward the attentive player.

NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Speaking of gameplay, Ninja Gaiden games are known for their difficulty, and Yaiba’s adventure is no different. Usually in a beat-em-up game I can get away with hit-and-run tactics, but this time around I had to dig in and learn the counter system to stand a chance. Luckily, Yaiba has more than just his combo trees at his disposal. Different enemy types can be used as weapons against one another, with fire, electricity, and bile affecting one another with unique interactions. Most of the time these are harvested from elemental mini-bosses through a simple button-mash quicktime event, and that’s as far as the title takes QTE’s in gameplay. I’m glad to say they never became grating as I played. Health is recovered through enemy executions which can be chained together, and makes you feel like a badass when Yaiba continually unleashes a string of brutal finishers.

In between roomfuls of slaughter, there are unique and challenging platforming sections where Yaiba must jump, swing, and wallrun his way through, often while avoiding traps and hazards. It definitely feels like the way a ninja would travel an apocalyptic wasteland. Between the visual flair and some of the more kooky gameplay moments, I have to say it’s a shame Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z didn’t come out on Next-Gen consoles. There were many points in the game I would’ve loved to hit the share button.

NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Sound design becomes part of the gameplay as well, more often helping me keep the bad guys off my back than even the visual cues did. Once I timed my counters to what I heard from certain enemy types, I became much harder to kill. The electrical mini-boss, the Zombride, also provides some unique flavor as she screams out “My wedding!” among other phrases while trying to kill you. Yaiba, Ms. Monday, and Del Gonzo all play off one another well to bring the tongue-in-cheek humor full circle, and the music is mostly high-octane guitar tracks with the main theme carrying a strong cool factor to set the stage.

What isn’t as cool is the camera. I often had to switch between the two options of wide shot and close up to be able to see what was going on as the location dictated, which is buried in the pause menu. Rather than having to break up the flow of the action as a matter of necessity, the camera either shouldv’e been more dynamic, or should’ve been tied to a button toggle. Also, the screen going into the now industry standard black-and-white when Yaiba is near death doesn’t help in a game that relies so heavily on its color palate of neons to make enemies distinct from the environment. Coupled with the elimination of lines that is a by-product of cel-shading, I definitely owed more than a few deaths to the screen simply blurring out. I’d also say that the story, what I mainly enjoy in a game, is really nothing to write home about, lacking focus as Yaiba mucks about running errands for Del Gonzo more than he does telling him to piss off so he can pursue his own goals. A few more quips of Yaiba’s bad attitude would’ve served the game well.

NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

All told, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z took me around ten to twelve hours to beat, with some hidden items to go back for such as story fragments, health upgrades, and elemental resistances which are a must on higher difficulties. Fans of the older sidescrolling Ninja Gaiden games will enjoy the Arcade mode unlocked when the game is completed, evoking the SNES era with health that won’t regenerate, limited continues, and the text paying homage to “All your base are belong to us” with its own bad translation. Also on offer is an Arena mode, which will serve as a true test of skill for Ninja Gaiden fans, with the rank of “Legend” standing as a lofty but attainable goal for the most determined.

For my first foray into the Ninja Gaiden world, Yaiba has been a fun and worthwhile adventure. Without question it’s one of the hardest games I’ve played, but it’s also been fair in that feeling of rewarding triumph. Anyone who’s never played Ninja Gaiden before couldn’t go wrong with a rental, if only to knock their trophy count up by a few notches, and those who enjoyed Ninja Gaiden Sigma will likely find plenty to dig into.

Game 3.5/5

NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Sadly, most of the NSFW content is in the jokes rather than the visuals, such as a zombie driving a bus into a giant pair of legs outside of a lingerie store. However, Ms. Monday provides a good bit of eye candy, and in fact does have a very NSFW moment with Yaiba that I don’t want to spoil. Whether you’re into redheads, sexy scientists, or nerd girls in general, she can tick off all your boxes. Between her low-cut top, short skirt, and thigh-high heels, I could see some sexy fan art of her in the future. However, without an in-game art gallery, I’m stuck without even so much as a pin-up.

Hotness 2/5

– Brad Cowan aka “Devilsugar”

NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

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6 Responses to “NSFW Gamer Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z”

  1. Eric says:

    I’m glad you liked the game. Almost everyone else has been hating on it so much, but I thought it was fun.
    What’s that “Arena mode” you mentioned though?

  2. DevilSugar says:

    It’s more-or-less similar to “Challenge of the Gods” in God of War, but closer to a survive x number of waves type of game. It’s fairly similar to the last bit of mission 6 where it felt like a boss rush mode. And yeah, I saw a lot of hate for it because it’s a little off kilter, but that’s what drew me in more than anything.

  3. Eric says:

    This might be a stupid question, but where do you select thst Arena mode from then? I played through the story twice and played some of Ninja Gaiden Z/Arcade mode, but I never noticed an arena mode I could select. 😮

  4. DevilSugar says:

    That monstrous Arcade mode has to be beaten first. I was taken back to the Battletoads/ Double Dragon days by that thing. But the unlocks are progressive.

  5. Eric says:

    Ahhh…no wonder I haven’t seen it. I’ve only gotten partway through stage 3 of Arcade Mode. Darn. OK, thanks. :)

  6. DevilSugar says:

    Welcome, and GOOD LUCK!