E3 2006: Tenchu's Dark Secret
Is Tenchu on its way back to glory?
Tenchu is a game whose reputation has been significantly damaged due to poor sequel after poor sequel. In my eyes, it's essential that developer, From Software, created a Tenchu title that redeems the series' noted missteps. Anyone who's unfamiliar with the series should note that it was one of the first games involving stealth action, and it inspired boatload of games that took cues from its game play. During Tenchu's high point, the game was considered to be quite an innovation, but lately it seems as if the series continues to take steps backward. Sadly, from what I was able to play from the work in progress build of Tenchu: Dark Secret, that trend doesn't seem to be letting up anything soon.
Sure there are over 40 single-player missions packed into the tiny game card, and yes it's true you can venture online to buy, sale, and trade items among strangers and friends alike. My problem with Tenchu: Dark Secret is that it doesn't appear to do anything remarkable or special. The control scheme does virtually nothing to benefit from the touch screen capabilities of the DS, and with a stealth action game like Tenchu, that's sad considering the possibilities. First, let me note that I'm not one of those people campaigning for every game that appears on the DS to be touch screen compatible. Heck, New Super Mario Bros. doesn't need a touch screen to be great, and there are plenty of others who don't, or rarely use the touch screen but still can be deemed great. My beef is with the fact that Tenchu's game play continues to be stale, and sour, and pretty unimaginative.
Now I realize that lots of things can change before this title is released to the public, and truth to be told, I hope I get proven wrong. The original Tenchu, although it hasn't aged very well visually, is still one of my favorite action games of all time. Speaking of visuals, that's another notch in the, "Hmm, I just don't know" category. The textures and environments featured in the E3 demo were all but abysmal, but I'll give From Software the benefit of the doubt that they'll be cleaned up before the game hits store shelves. Unfortunately it seems as if the only Dark Secret that Tenchu's been keeping, is that the series doesn't appear to be getting back to original form anytime soon.