First Look: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

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With the current trend of Japanese games adding a zombie-based spinoff to their series, Ninja Gaiden has done that with its latest installment. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z combines classic Ninja Gaiden gameplay with zombies in a cell-shaded third-person combat game. The story of the game is that a new protagonist Yaiba Kamikaze, recently resurrected from the dead and seeks revenges against Ryu Hayabusa –  Ninja Gaiden’s main protagonist.

I was fortunate to play a PS3 demo at PAX Australia. The demo begun with a cell-shaded cinematic with a human Yaiba fighting Ryu Hayabusa in a dense jungle setting; providing the background of Yaiba’s revenge. The demo’s gam
eplay was set two weeks after the fight and a new mechanized Yaiba Kamikaze investigating something when a zombie apocalypse occurs. The game featured an overlay screen as ‘Cyber Vision’, that during the demo became a waypoint navigator in case the player got lost during the demo. The combat controls are simple – X to dash, Square for primary attack, Triangle for secondary attack, and O for grab/execute. The primary attack focuses on Yaiba’s main weapon – his katana; while the secondary attack focuses on weapons picked up during the game.

When fighting through one of many zombie hordes, you are given an option during combat to initial an execute – a comedic cinematic attack. In rare cases, players are able to use fallen zombie pieces as a secondary weapons. In the demo, two zombie-based secondary weapons were used: Meat Spinner – a sword-equise weapons, and Nunchuck; all can be chained to combo for heavy damage.

The game featured some comedic scene such overcoming a blocked path. In order to progress in the level, players must grab and throw a zombie into a steam roller triggering a cinematic and a crossable path.

Final impression: an enjoyable game with some mild humor.

The game will launch early next year on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.