Fans of Sega’s old flagship series will have fond memories of a particular title released almost twenty years ago in Shinobi. The series received a 3D makeover when it was released on Sony’s PlayStation 2 in 2004 and was sharpened and improved with its sequel in 2004: Nightshade. Fans of the Shinobi series and casual gamers alike were rewarded with a stylish and challenging experience.
Even though Ninja’s are known in large part of their abilities in stealth, neither game focuses on that particular element of a Ninja’s repertoire. Instead, you’ll be faced with scores and scores of deadly demonic enemies that are just beginning to be ripped apart through the use of your weapons and ninjutsu magic. The games controls are exceptional and can make combat rewarding as it is challenging.
Those who’re expecting a simple hack-n-slash through the park should think again, as Shinobi is noted for its difficulty. Aside from the relentless combat the game play is mixed up with stages that will pit you against hordes of enemies while dashing from skyscraper to skyscraper. Also, the game encourages constant-combat with your sword being capable of draining your health if not fed properly.
In Nightshade, Shinobi’s sequel, one of the most frustrating parts of the game is rectified with addition of checkpoints in each level. Rather than having to deal with a slight mistake that caused you death at the end of a twenty minute stage, you’ll be able to restart from a checkpoint, though not on par with God of War’s checkpoint system which was amazingly forgiving, it is still a welcomed addition to the game.
Nightshade is a true sequel in that takes what was successful with the original title and improves on the game play elements. The game, although not as challenging in the aspects of its predecessor, it still remarkably challenging with its boss fights. Nightshade is both longer and has much more unlockables, adding replay value to a genre that otherwise suffers from short campaigns and lack of replay value. As with its predecessor, the game rewards skill and precision with its combat system, though you’ll have an easier time with normal enemies rather than the death squads tossed your way in the original game.
Though they suffer from flaws that prevented them from being classic title both of the latest titles within the Shinobi series are extremely challenging, playable and worthwhile games. The also won’t hurt your wallet if you’re looking to fill out the rest of your PlayStation 2 collection before completely moving on to the next generation of gaming. Keep an eye out for Shinobi and Nightshade, two underrated action games for the PlayStation 2.