Enter The Ninja, Baby. Hands On Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z opens with a duel between NInja Gaiden lead Ryu Hayabusa and Yaiba who takes a swig of sake before the fight. Yaiba makes a cocky comments, but Ryu gets the last laugh when he slices Yaiba’s left arm off. A fountain of high contrast blood bursts out of Yaiba and the demo began after his cybernetic transformation.
Yaiba says he’s "a ninja, baby" after a bloodlust fueled rage. True, but he’s a different kind of ninja than Ryu Hayabusa. Yaiba’s basic attack is a one button sword combo. His cybernetic arm gives him a rocket punch attack. The enemies in Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z are appropriately brainless, which is different from other Ninja Gaiden games. You will run into groups and zombies and Yaiba can cut through them in seconds. If a zombie has a B button icon flashing over its head you can do a quick execution move. Yaiba can also use zombies or better put parts of zombies as weapons. If you grab a large zombie you can rip off a zombie’s arms to make nunchucks or turn a regular sized zombie into a Meat Slapper which is like a whip with a zombie on the end.
An employee from Comcept explained that they wanted to make zombies tools in Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. In one of the game’s puzzles, Yaiba has to grab a zombie from a dumpster and throw it into a bulldozer. Instinctively, the zombie turns the bulldozer on and starts driving. Another zombie walks right in front of the bulldozer and the driving zombie waves its hand in an attempt to warn the zombie in the way. The doomed zombie doesn’t get the message and is crushed with an explosion of blood by the zombie in the bulldozer. Later in the same level, Yaiba throws a zombie into a truck that drives right between a giant pair of legs on the roof of a sex shop. Yeah, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z doesn’t take itself seriously. The gore is over the top too. When you trigger Bloodlust, a rage meter like power, Yaiba does his impression of Ryu’s ultimate attack and kills zombies with one hit.
When you aren’t killing zombies, you’re leaping from buildings. The demo also had bits of platforming elements where Yaiba ran up a wall and vaulted off it towards another building. While you’re in mid-air, Yaiba has to smash a wall to move forward. A girl with red pigtails (who Comcept staff said still hasn’t been named) acts as Yaiba’s navigator. She gives you objectives, but you still need to figure out how to get there. That’s where Cyber Vision comes in handy. Yaiba’s robotic eye highlights where to go next and which walls you can run up.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z also has an elemental weapon system. In the demo, Yaiba can use fire by turning a flaming zombie into a weapon. Comcept explained there are other elements and players will be able to combine elements to create other effects. The game is 30% complete, so Spark Unlimited, Team Ninja, and Comcept have some way to go before it comes out in 2014 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. At least from what I played, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z has responsive and fluid controls like other Team Ninja games. However, Yaiba is more of a straight hack and slash game than the modern Ninja Gaiden titles which have a tougher enemies and a stylish flair to them.