Shinobi 3DS: Not As Bad As We Thought
Despite a rough start, Sega managed to hack and slash its way into our hearts...for now.
After playing Shinobi this past June, we felt Sega's game needed more than improvements. Our advice at the time was more like, take off and nuke the entire thing from orbit. It was a disaster, with a simplistic art style that bore no resemblance to the attractive 16-bit Genesis titles, and shoddy combat to boot.
Well, the game still has the same visuals, but a recent demo left us wanting more, a welcome surprise indeed.
Like those original adventures, most of the game takes place from a 2D (in this case, 2.5D) side scrolling perspective, as players infiltrate enemy strongholds and cut evildoers down to size with a trusty katana, throwing weapons and good old ninja magic.
Speaking of magic, Sega gives players access to four right off the bat, each of which does something cool. Fire obliterates most enemies onscreen, Earth auto parries, Lightning makes hero Jiro Musashi immune to damage for up to three hits and Water makes him run faster/jump further.
That said, the game's hardcore in every sense of the word. Sega lets players use magic, but they get once chance per level. On top on of that, using said magic slashes points from their final end level scores. It's all about clearing a stage with the highest total in the shortest amount of time, so there's a nice risk versus reward aspect to things.
On that note, parrying is the key to survival, as the game lacks a block button. At first, this seemed annoying, but eventually, we grew accustomed to deflecting projectiles and sword slashes. In a way, it's a more gratifying experience, since Jiro immediately responds with a powerful counter attack.
There also appears to be a decent number of hidden items, secret rooms and unlockables that'll make longtime fans smile, including music, artwork and even characters. That, combined with more than 60 achievements, gives everyone plenty to shoot for.
As for the visuals, yes, the crude graphics pale in comparison to those sweet looking 2D sprites of old, but Sega pulls off some neat tricks, with objects that crash into the foreground and put the system's 3D features on display.
Ultimately, we no longer hate Shinobi and look forward to its November 15 debut. We just hope the entire package does the series proud. Expect a detailed review next month.