Friday, 20 September 2013

Retrospective: Shinobi (3DS)

While there is some notable news for today from the Tokyo Games Show, I though Id publish this post first seen as Id almost completed it yesterday but ended up leaving it at work. Ill have a bumper post for you in a few hours or so! So relax and have a read of a quick retrospective. So what am I looking at this morning? Its Shinobi for the 3DS! *The logo says Shinobi 3D which was the titles name in Japan. Here its just Shinobi.
Well, I can't tell you anythin about the story. It deosn't seem to have much of one and a quick trip to Wikipedia, which usually yeilds a result for posting here, is blank. Not even Wikipedia has anything for Shinobi's story. So deos that mean there isn't one!? Of course not. Its just not that cohesive of a narrative to be of much note. From what Ive gathered so far you've been transported through time to the future and you fight things. Sure the game has anime cutscenes but literally nothing much is explained. Like its 8 & 16-bit brothers from yesteryear, its gameplay first. The speck of a story pretty much just exists to give some kind of purpose to the changing of the scenery for the levels. Its ridiculously old-school in this regard and it deosn't end there either....
The gamplay is just as old-school as the lack of story. At its heart its a 2D side-scroller. On that note I think I should also mention something else. Like its bretheren, Its insanely difficult. To the point where you will either end up crying in the corner or bald from tearing your hair out. This game cetrainly deosn't hold your hand or pull any punches. I had to drop down to beginner. Funnily enough Im not ashamed to admit that either because Im sure EVERYONE has done the same thing after trying the game for the first time. Once your used to the game after a level or 2, a jump back up to Normal is recommened. Beginner on Shinobi is like Medium/Hard on other games though as it still shows no mercy at times. So how deos it actually play? For anyone familiar with Shinobi III on the Mega Drive will feel right at home. It plays very similar with levels consisting of combat, platforming and boss segments. The game is punishing in regards to its platform segments. You really do have to get to grips with the new grappling hook and the double jump technique fast or you will become incredibly frustrated as the game gets hard fast, and excruciatingly so. Finely tuned ninja reflexes are a must. The combat can also be equally unforgiving at times. Mastering of the parry is key or you will flounder within moments of starting. Shurikens are also available and you have an infinite amount of them. Great? Sure, but only 5 can be thrown at once and then you have to wait for those to restock. Managing your Shuriken stock & getting to grips with the parry are key to survival. More than once in a level you may come across sub-boss or even full on boss characters. On higher difficulties, death here sends you all the way back to the beginning. You wouldn't want that to happen as levels can take 20+ minutes to complete so quickly learning the boss's attacks are key. In between levels or during them there are points where you will be riding various vehicles, obviously thrown in to mix things up a little. While by no means do these ruin the game in any way, They serve no prupose and the game could have been done without them just as easy.

 During the level points are awarded for most actions. At the end these points are tallied up and you recieve a grade. Ok, so whats so good about that? The better the grade, the more chance you have of unlocking achievements! Unlocking acievements bags you extra content like challenge stages & costumes. Other content can also be unlocked using the coins you earn on your 3DS. I doubt anyone will feel short changed at the amount of content the game is packing
Graphically there isn't much to say. At times, to me, it seems to look like a DS game. It seems to have probably started development as one before switching to the 3DS as I cant really explain why it deos any other way. Framerate is smooth though and some of the effects work is quite nice. The 3D is somewhat average. At times it looks good, at others its not even noticeable. For the most part there is noticeable depth between the background scenery and the foreground and the depth deos help at times with the platforming segments. Overall it looks ok as long as the camera deosn't zoom in too much as the PSone graphics could put you off. But who playes retro styled games in the hope of seeing stunning graphics anyway?
Personally, I quite like Shinobi on the 3DS. Its probably been my most played 3DS game since I picked up the handheld a few weeks ago. For £5 its a steal. Sure the game keeps kickin my arse, and yes Ive shed some tears of frustration (especially since going back up to Medium) but its a damn fine retro game. Griptonite have done a fine job of keeping the game close to its roots. While I enjoyed the Shinobi game on Ps2 for what it was, this game is far more of a Shinobi game. If your a fan of the ol' SEGA consoles and you loved the Shinobi series, this will make you weep with joy (& frustration)

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