Ninja are the warriors of the night, and I should know. Most ninja cloak themselves in black, in order to blend in with their midnight background. However, Shinobi by Sega features a white-robed ninja, fighting against whatever forces oppose him in his quest. This wonderful remake of an old Sega Genesis title brings a whole new angle to the game that would only be possible on the 3DS. I’ve prepared a small description of this game for you fellow readers. Read on for my thoughts! -Ryan Baxter
The storyline is a bit hard to follow, with the story being told mostly through words of wisdom, which is a bit difficult to follow. The story begins with your sensei handing you a scroll, which begins your journey out into the world. You begin fighting enemies of what appears to be feudal Japan. After painstakingly fighting through these foes, you face several boss enemies, only to find yourself in a slightly futuristic world, facing a world of enemies equipped with firearms and explosives. This switches back and forth with bits of story in between, but in order to understand what’s happening, you really have to pay attention, and there is plenty of work involved in paying attention to this strange new way of portraying a story. If you don’t care about the story, this is a game for you, as focus is taken away from the story and put on other features.
This is not your Japanese grandmother’s game, and if you don’t have a Japanese grandmother, it’s even more so! The point of this little splurge is that this game is not for the casual gamer. In fact, this is a pretty hardcore game. You must hack, slash, throw and block as the lone ninja working through various levels with many enemies that have hidden weaknesses. One thing is for sure: YOU WILL DIE! Thrown at you (in addition to many shuriken, kunai, and other thrown/shot weapons) are many types of gameplay, varying from high-speed car chases in which you are atop the vehicles to the sections in which you are racing to escape enemies and must dodge incoming rocks, trees, and the like. This varied gameplay ensures that there will be a session of difficulty even if you breeze through the main game. Also, it should be noted that some scenes require gyroscopic/motion control, and in these the 3D can become very difficult to view, which those of you who have played the 3DS know about. This can easily be remedied by turning down the 3DS in these sections. Ultimately, if you enjoy FPS’s and similar games, this could be a game that interests you, as well, even though it does not fall into this category. Upon playing, you will find that it shares many qualities with this style of game. Also, the game is not very long. In fact, you could probably beat it in about a day, if you really were to buckle down. There are several levels of challenge, however, and if you want to draw the game out a bit more, you can always switch to a higher difficulty.
The presentation of this game is unlike any game I’ve ever played before, including the original Shinobi. While the gameplay graphics are very similar to the original game, the cut scenes show several pictures that are strung together in a video-like style and, as mentioned before, instead of having characters speak, words of wisdom are dubbed over the pictures. The most interesting part about these scenes is that they are in 2D, rather than the 3D that is possible only through this system. You’d think that a company as old as Sega would realize the worth of using this technology, and it is a mystery as to why they did not. In my opinion, 3D cut scenes, even if just pictures, would have improved the playing experience. Also worthy of note is the music that plays throughout the game. This is simple background music, but it adds a certain feel of awesomeness to the game. It appears to be inspired by old Japanese culture but with a modern twist, much like the game itself. Overall, this game presents itself in a new way, which is very interesting and pleasant although it does take some time to adjust to.
The primary non-storyline feature of this game is the StreetPass mode, which is essentially just a single player challenge mode. In this mode, you can purchase levels with 20 play coins each (2 days of 1000 steps each), and then you pass these levels to each person that you meet via StreetPass. Also, if you want to save your coins, or are reallocating them toward other games, or even if you just despise walking altogether, then you could just hang around highly populated areas until you obtain all of the challenges! A note on the challenges is also needed in this explanation, as the term challenge is very vague and undefined. More specifically, these challenges are each a focus on one aspect of the game, containing combat, jumping, or something similar. The main difference from the main gameplay is that in this side-game, a single hit will kill you instantly, so you have a real test of skill, even after you’ve completed the game in every difficulty mode. This mode definitely adds a lot to the game itself.
About 20 years after Shinobi 3 came out, this title graced our screens and pierced our hearts with each slash of the glimmering blades equipped by this white cloaked master of the night. The complex gameplay keeps you on your toes, and jumping even when you know what’s coming! Certainly not for the faint of heart, completing these trials that seemingly transcend space and time would be a challenge for even the most hardcore gamers. You will not be bored with this game easily, though you will definitely be frustrated. The varied gaming styles adds interest to the game, even after playing through several times. Everything about this game causes memories of the good old, simpler days to pop up, even for new era gamers. This is, surely, a game for any hardcore gamer, old or young. Even if you’ve never played the old Genesis, you have a feeling of simplicity as you die repeatedly, and something strange, between the rage and brokenness of each death, seems to whisper “It’s okay.” If you want a challenge, or just something to kill some time on, and you consider yourself a hardcore gamer, your money is not wasted on this title, especially considering the fact that the game can be bought for around $12 on amazon. This is not a title you don’t want to miss!