Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Video Games: Ninja Gaiden DS

About two weeks ago I finished 120 hours of playing Disgaea DS. After that much turn-based strategy gaming, I thought it was time to move to something a little more action oriented: Ninja Gaiden DS. I've had the game waiting in the wings since last summer, but since I was enjoying Disgaea it never made the cut.

The game turned out to be about what I was expecting, a ninja fighting game. It had an interesting control scheme that was totally stylus based with only a block button, and the DS held vertically. You tapped the screen to move or shot a ranged weapon, slashed the screen to attack, and did combinations of slashes to pull off special moves.

The gameplay had lots of fighting enemies and a few magic-based puzzles. Unfortunately the DS limited the number of enemies on the screen, so you typically were fighting two or three enemies and when you killed one a new one spawned to replace it. There were about 20 enemies or perhaps slightly more, most that were somewhat indistinguishable or different looking guys who did exactly the same thing that some previous enemy did.

The game was definitely a Ninja Gaiden game of the new fighting-game variety that has been the norm since Ninja Gaiden on the XBox. It was reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden 2 on XBox 360 but without the depth of weapon variety, and unique strategies required for various enemy types.

My biggest complaint with the game is the fact that I am writing a review after only a couple weeks, and 6.5 hours of game playing. That's short by any standard, and while the game was very polished, it didn't really feel like a good value. Especially after I just spent 120 hours playing the game right before it. No admittedly there are more difficulty levels that I could play through, but there are no new levels or enemies, just less forgiving damage systems. That's not quite enough to make me particularly want to play through it again.

I don't want to sound like I didn't enjoy the game, it was indeed fun, but it was also short. I definitely was hoping for a longer game with more variety. Unfortunately that wasn't to be, so it is back to strategy games with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.

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