Silent But Deadly

Haven't you ever wanted to be a ninja, to be able to sneak silently up on foes and demolish them in a quick even stroke? Maybe you want to be able to climb up on buildings, run alongside a wall of a building and then jump to another wall, or cling to a ceiling as an unsuspecting foe below has no idea? If so, Tenchu-Z for the Xbox 360 is the game for you. Taking advantage of your ninja abilities you will jump, climb, crawl, roll and then slice your way to overall victory.

You are able to create your own ninja, choosing a male or female and choose between a variety of different clothing and other looks, as the game goes on, more options become available. Also, you are able to choose the various skill levels of your ninja, choose to be stronger so your swordfighting abilities are better, or opt to be more agile and move faster or give yourself some more vitality so your health is higher and you can carry more items. The choices are yours and can be constantly changed throughout the game.

The story of the game is that you are a ninja who lives in a small region known as Goda, the nearby Ogawaru nation is looking to attack your people soon and it is your responsibility to do everything possible to slow them down and hurt them. Overall, the story is merely adequate, it neither adds too much to the game nor slows it down. The game gives you the story before each new level which is fine because at the same time it loads the level, finished giving you the background for the mission, the game is ready to go with no further load times.

Using the Ki meter, which alerts you to when enemies are nearby, or are alerted to your presence in some manner will help you stay hidden and let you know when foes are close. The key to Tenchu-Z is stealth, run-and-gunners can certainly choose to play that manner but will find the game significantly more difficult. Besides, what is more fun than sneaking up slowly on some unsuspecting goon, doing a double somersault flip off a roof, landing noiselessly and then destroying said goon with a quick, silent strike of a katana.

A sword is not the only weapon available to ninjas though. A variety of items, from shurikens (ninja stars), blowguns and smoke bombs, to poison cookies and fireworks all can be used to aid you in your quest for stealth and to stop the Ogawaru.

Over 50 different missions, with a variety of different goals give you the chance to hone your skills and become truly undetectable. The biggest downside of the game is that while there are so many missions, there are not as many different boards. This makes the game a little repetitive because the same 10 levels keep popping up. The main difference as the game advances is the location where the game starts you and the amount of enemies on any given level. As you go through the game, each board becomes teeming with foes and the difficulty level gets ratcheted with detection always more possible. That's where strategy plays into the game, picking up and hiding enemies is always a helpful tool, although be careful not to be spotted while doing so.


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