Screens: The streets run red in Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Yaiba_key-visual_1000When a franchise loses its way it reaches a crossroad. It can either go back to its roots in an attempt to reclaim its former glory or risk something completely different. While not technically a sequel, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is a bold change in direction and one that could pay off big time.

Heartless bastard!

Heartless bastard!

It’s amazing the impact a striking art direction can have. Borderlands went from hyper realistic to cel-shading and it really stands out from the crowd. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z’s hyperactive abstract style is reminiscent of comic book artist Jae Lee’s early work and is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Kinetic energy seems captured in every frame threatening to erupt as each brutal strike and debilitating blow reaches its bloody conclusion. It’s mesmerising, haunting, gruesome and intoxicating all at the same time.

Don't mind me, I'm just hangin'

Don’t mind me, I’m just chillin’

This dramatic change in direction make s a whole lot more sense when you take into account industry legend Keiji Inafune is leading the charge as the game’s producer.

Having contributed to some of Capcom’s leading franchises, including Resident Evil, Onimusha and Dead Rising, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is the perfect combination of his previous efforts operating in glorious blood-soaked harmony.

Slide, slide, slippedy slide!

Safe!

At this point there’s not a lot to tell as far as the lead’s motivation is concerned. The Tokyo Game Show trailer (embedded below) revealed little. You’ve been resurrected, modified, rebuilt as a stronger, faster more deadly version of yourself.

All you remember is the unfortunate son of a bitch who killed you, a shuriken throwing ninjitsu force of nature named Ryu Hayabusa. Best of luck with that pal.

Other than the fact that zombies are running (or ambling) rampant and they need to be undeaded there’s very little else to report, and do you know what? I don’t give a fuck. I’m already in! I’m assuming it will get all ninja and shit with some righteous and presumably bloody retribution.

By taking my life you have offended my honour.Prepare to die!

By taking my life you have offended my honour.Prepare to die!

If developer Team Ninja is willing to take this much of a departure and gamble heavily on the visual elements I’ll more than happily back its play. I simply can’t wait to see what insanity follows through to the gameplay. Fasten your seat belt, this is going to be one wild and crazy ride!

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Dave Kozicki

Shotgun Samurai

Video game reviewer, presenter and enthusiast. Film and TV-aholic. Pop culture geek. T-shirt and sneaker addict. All around nice guy and one hell of a sexy beast. Writer for Official PlayStation Magazine AU, AusGamers, Hyper Magazine and Australian Penthouse.