games / Previews

E3 2013: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z (PS3) Preview

June 19, 2013 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

So with Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z you have something really different and new from the folks of Team Ninja and for the Ninja Gaiden series as a whole. This game was co-developed by Team Ninja and Spark Unlimited. Instead of Ryu Hayabusa, it instead focuses on a new antihero character being introduced to the franchise in Yaiba. Yaiba is a ninja but he’s basically the polar opposite of Hayabusa. He’s rude, boorish, openly perverted, and he enjoys killing. The demo opens up with a cut sequence in which Yaiba, enjoying some sake, meets Ryu Hayabusa in a forest. Yaiba wants to kill Hayabusa for some reason and the two engage in combat. After they clash with their swords, Hayabusa unleashes a powerful attack and Yaiba’s sword breaks and he realizes Ryu got him and most of his upper torso was sliced off. Two weeks later, Yaiba is back and rebuilt as a cyborg. His attitude hasn’t changed though, and he’s on a mission of vengeance to get Ryu Hayabusa.

So a mysterious organization has resurrected Yaiba. For what reasons, we do not know. However, he’s on a mission now to stop a zombie plague in order to quell a revenge. Unlike previous entries in the franchise, this game is a lot quirkier and has a bigger emphasis on humor and comedy. Yaiba himself is a bit of an odd duck. The game itself is fun. The controls are good for a hack and slash game. The zombies you fight are a bit odd and comedic as well. The levels are very linear and straightforward, and the gameplay actually reminds me a lot more of the original Ninja Gaiden arcade game that preceded the console version. Camera controls on the PS3 version were erratic and wonky. The camera would frequently go all over the place where it was hard to see the action. I think this could’ve been a glitch or bug issue since I noticed the camera was a lot more fixed and stable in the Xbox 360 demo.

The graphic and visual style of the game is unique to the franchise as well. The designs and character models look very cel-shaded. There’s a lot of shading and shadows everywhere. This gives the game a more manga/comic book style which I think works for setting and story. After you fight through several hordes, Yaiba blows up a sex shop and then panties start raining from the sky. Yaiba’s panty party is then broken up by a zombie carrying a lantern and wearing a Japanese monk type of uniform. After you defeat him, you can utilize his head as a weapon, a sort of rocket launcher, to beat the remaining horde. Right before the demo ends, Yaiba encounters a giant two-headed baby-Zombie who rolls in on a car, and this is where the demo cuts off. Besides his sword, Yaiba can also use his bionic arm to do a rocket punch, and he can even convert zombie limbs into a pair of zombie nunchucks which is fun.

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is due out in 2014 on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

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Jeffrey Harris
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