Bearing about as much resemblance to Ninja Gaiden as a Lada does to a Rolls-Royce, Yaiba is so poor, so ill-thought out and implemented, that it falls flat almost as soon as you've sat down with it.
Taking its cue from the Grindhouse craze that stopped being relevant or interesting shortly before it had even started, Ninja Gaiden Z jettisons Ryu Hayabusa as the lead in favour of pitting the eponymous Yaiba against hordes of undead.
Sadly, the refined combat the series is known for has been abandoned along with any attempt at interesting art direction. Instead of a timing-based countering system, here you're mostly cutting through waves of shambling undead using identical, repetitive combos which hit with an impact that feels like you're waving a flag rather than a sword.
There's little challenge, above and beyond cheap enemies somehow sneaking in counter or stun moves, and on the whole combat is akin to a whole room of people talking over each other. There's a lot of noise, but no-one really knows what is going on. Team Ninja has, essentially, taken away anything that made the series so successful in the first-place. No bad thing if these elements are replaced with strong alternates, but they haven't been - they're all so poor.
Throw in a restrictive camera that seems to be preoccupied with focusing on Yaiba rather than his enemies, uninteresting bosses and outright misogyny and you've got a game that's good for very little.
It's not Ninja Gaiden. It's not what anyone was hoping for. It's not worth your time.
Version Tested: PS3. Played for 3 hours.
3 / 10
- Some of the counter kills are interesting.
- Not Ninja Gaiden. At all.
- Uninspired art direction. Well, direction in general.
- Terrible camera makes boring combat even worse.