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Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z Review

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z has generated a lot of controversy for fans of the series since its unveiling, with Ninja Gaiden purists complaining due to the fact the game deviates considerably from the series template. Despite these changes to the formula however, this spin-off title is well worth your cash.

Ninja Gaiden Z gets off to an unusual start. You play a ninja named Yaiba Kamikaze, who literally dies at the start of the game in the first cutscene, having been killed by Ryu Hayabusa (the hero from the mainline series). Next, you find out a mysterious company has brought you back to life in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Throughout the game you will be contacted by Miss Monday, a saucy little number who will help you out throughout your adventure, as well as making snarky comments about Kamikaze. The anime-style cutscenes are amazing, and easily some of the best that I have seen in a long time. Not all of them are fully animated however; a few of these sequences use a comic book style panel look, which also fits with the theme that it is trying to push. This might annoy a lot of fans, but personally I really loved visuals as well as its over-the-top enemies and humorous names -- referring to the zombies as 'stiffs' definitely received a few chuckles from my end.

Yabai's story mode is seven chapters long, and no matter how frustrated you may get at the game's difficulty, you'll keep playing as it's fundamentally an addictive game -- a staple quality of the Ninja Gaiden series. The locations are pretty varied, starting in the city and heading towards a sewer. They are rather generic locations for the most part, but due to the vibrant art style , you won't get too bored of them as they look pretty damn spectacular. Yaiba also looks very detailed and stylish, with fluid animations that look stunning in motion, though the amount of combos in the game are quite limited. However, as you unlock more from leveling up in the game you will find enough variety for taking out the zombie menace. You gain experience points by killing zombies and also at the end of chapter you will also gain bonus experience points based on how well you did in the chapter. These points are used to upgrade skills and unlock new combos throughout the campaign.

Later on in the game, some of the zombies require certain strategies to take out, such as the bride zombies, which requires you to use your nunchucks at a range to take down her shield. As you play through the game you will unlock new weapons by doing execution moves on the zombies, from the electric whip to a rocket launcher. This isn't overkill though, as you'll need these weapons for certain enemy types, though they do become more useful if you plan ahead with them.