Tenchu Z

Tenchu Z Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360

Ninja stealth set in ancient Japan

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3Out of 10
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Tenchu seems well past its best
Tenchu seems well past its best

Tenchu seems well past its best

Back when 3D adventure games were still relatively revolutionary, stealth games weren't just innovative, but extremely fashionable. Thanks to Metal Gear Solid nearly every third-person action game to this day features at least a few moments of sneaking along walls and learning enemy guards' movement patterns.

But long before stealth had been milked dry, there was Tenchu, a PSone adventure set in the mystical world of feudal Japan. Rather than exploring the role of the Ninja through the bloodshed and bravado heavily featured in martial arts movies, Tenchu instead focussed on the Eastern assassins as silent and deadly creatures who move only in the shadows.

The result was a game packed with tension, drama and atmosphere, all of which are lacking terribly from the dreadful Tenchu Z. The pretence of a next-gen Tenchu is an enticing one, so it is a real shame that the latest in the series is such a poor quality game.

The first part of the game that is striking is the visual style. A tired and lazy front end acts as an ineffective buffer to the in-game graphics, which shock with their low quality. While glossy and shiny on the surface, every character is lacking in detail, and is completely devoid of both quality textures and believable movement. The levels - which are sparse, banal and unchanging - are no better, and at best the whole game has the look of a middling quality PlayStation 2 release, coated in a hastily applied layer of varnish.

It's one of the poorest looking 360 titles

It's one of the poorest looking 360 titles

The gameplay is no better, and completely undermines the concept of stealth as nail biting and exciting. Waiting in the shadows for your moment to pounce seems too much like a game of luck, and a limited combat system means that other than the stealth kills, most of the offensive moves feel clumsy and clunky.

The HUD has some very tidy elements, such as the light meter, that lets you gauge the worth of your current hiding place, and a counter that lets you keep a covert eye on the distance to your nearest enemy, but they are nothing fans of stealth won't have seen elsewhere.

Sadly the action is continually repetitive and constantly marred by the potency of the game's weak points, which plague you from beginning to end. On occasion the more considered stealth kills, which might see you striking your katana sword through a lightweight screen into the silhouette of an unwitting foe, can be thrilling, but those moments are all too rare.

A sloppy co-operative mode adds little to the overall experience, and a laughably restrictive customisation mode is the final nail in the coffin for this dreadful game. If you're a die-hard Tenchu fan, or happen to have never played a 3D stealth game before, there might be something here for you, but otherwise steer well clear.

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User Comments

chirag2's Avatar


i don't know why review's so bad. isn't it meant to be dark, helloooo ninja here! the only bad things i could think of was the blood. thats the only repition. i mean the graphics seem sick, i mean really good. and the way you can go from roof to roof. collect items. i haven't played the other tenchu's but this is definetely good. im also a fan of halo, and i'd say this is at least in the same league as halo. so 3/10? heck no. try 8/10. its a good game.
Posted 14:16 on 02 September 2009
Cal's Avatar
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Bits of the game are awsome and its not one of those games you complete in a few hours. shame that it wasnt a bit more realistic and the graphics havent been updated from the previouse tenchu
Posted 19:10 on 27 May 2008
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Posted 15:18 on 15 March 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Tenchu Z
Out of 10
Tenchu Z
  • Occasionally stealth kills can excite
  • Repetitive and dull gameplay
  • Bland and ugly to look at
  • Painfully restrictive and awkward
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/06/2007
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: K2
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Stealth
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 2,398 16
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