No matter how hard Team Ninja boss Yosuke Hayashi pushes Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 after revealing a next-gen title is in the works, a new, and true-to-the-series Ninja Gaiden game is something fans of the series deserve.
“Please look forward to this ridiculous ‘zombie x ninja’ game,” Hayashi said in an interview with Dengeki Online. Is it going to be that bad? Probably not. There’s an admirable chance the game is going to be decent at least. Gameplay footage has so far indicated the intense, fast-paced action the hack n’ slash series is known for is there. The added “please,” however from Hayashi is a clear sign that fans who played Ninja Gaiden games of the past are in for something quite different. This is old news however, and the promise of a next-gen title coming from Team Ninja is exciting.
Ninja Gaiden on the original Xbox was arguably the best, certainly one of the best, games on that console. A long story mode, which offered some minimal exploration, was complemented with a steady frame rate and gorgeous, gore-tastic visuals. It pushed the system to new levels of technical superiority, and established an audience who reveled in the game’s hardcore difficulty.
The transition to the Xbox 360 and PS3 was admirable, but not exactly a meaningful leap forward. Ninja Gaiden Sigma, which came out on the PS3, was an excellent remake of the original Xbox counterpart. Ninja Gaiden 2, which initially released on the Xbox 360, was insanely fun, but once again, didn’t take that leap forward from the original Xbox, simply offering us shinier visuals, and more weapons to choose from. Without a doubt, it was a game worth purchasing, and it was a solid exclusive action game for the Xbox 360 at the time. (The PS3 got an expanded version of the game a few months later). There was also Ninja Gaiden 3, which received an emphatic ‘meh’ from most consumers.
A true, next-gen Ninja Gaiden experience on the PlayStation 4 is a must. Aside from a graphical upgrade – something the series really needs – a game with multiple objectives, a bigger world, and a vast array of weapons are aspects of Ninja Gaiden that could be greatly expanded on the PS4. Team Ninja should look at what made Ninja Gaiden on the original Xbox great, like the intertwined game world, which cleverly weaved the Vigoor empire together, and combine that with the ridiculous action Ninja Gaiden 2 offered. Throw in a story that at least makes partial sense and allows Ryu, or some badass ninja who doesn’t talk too much, take on a bunch of tough-as-nails bosses.