• Publisher: Tecmo
  • Release Date: Mar 25, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
Buy On
  1. 86
    Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword kicks a whole lot of butt on the Nintendo DS. Visually, the game's a stunner, and the action is intense and almost non-stop.
  2. This handheld offshoot of the revered action series provides plenty of fun and satisfying stylus slashing.
  3. I like the combat and the mechanics, and even though the battles get repetitive, it’s frantic and fun enough to occasionally make you forget that fact.
  4. A must-own masterpiece; Tecmo's best since Ninja Gaiden hit the Xbox.
  5. Possibly the best action game ever made for Nintendo DS. Tecmo did an outstanding job with it and most gamers should be more than happy if they decide to pick up the title.
  6. A fun, inventive slide 'n' slash action game that doesn't get everything right, but stays true to the way of the ninja with satisfying combat and beautiful visuals.
  7. Everything is fluid, and the framerate is incredibly solid considering the amount of enemies that can appear on screen at once, and also considering the massive size of each boss you'll encounter.
  8. 80
    As good as Dragon Sword is, the game is over way too soon. Seven or eight hours may seem like a decent length for a portable game, but once you're finished, there's very little incentive to return.
  9. Inevitably, the lack of meat on the bones is Dragon Sword's major failing, coupled with the fact that the combat descends into repetitive scribbling after a short while, lacking the kind of long-term depth that makes the game's parent offerings so revered.
  10. GamePro
    As a standalone DS game, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is an amazing adventure almost at the level of "Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass". [Apr 2008, p.79]
  11. Games Master UK
    Rivals "Zelda" as a technical achievement, but the hardcore credentials have taken a knock. [June 2008, p.73]
  12. 91
    The swordplay feels so fast, fun, and addictive that you'll unfortunately feel tempted to breeze through Ryu's adventure in record time: Don't be surprised if you've lacerated your way to the game's conclusion in five or six hours.
  13. To be fair, Dragon Sword is a blast to play and there’s nothing that really comes close to the same experience on the DS. But when it takes roughly five or six hours to complete a game -- and most of those six hours are spent reliving some of the best moments from the first hour and a half -- something feels a bit off.
  14. It's a short ride, but like any quality roller coaster, it'll rattle your senses and challenge your reflexes. On DS, Dragon Sword has no equal, no fitting comparison, and for that we applaud Team Ninja.
  15. games(TM)
    The immaculate structure and pacing of the game further exemplifies the developer’s intelligence, distilling the essence of the console experience perfectly. [July 2008, p.118]
  16. I truly loved this game. Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword is without a doubt, the best game I have played, probably since Mario Kart, and it is easily the best game I have ever had the privilege to review.
  17. There is a lot of replay value to be found here and the gameplay is both fun and varied. If frantic stylus action is your thing, then don’t miss this game.
  18. Edge Magazine
    Team Ninja's finest, most intelligent game since Ninja Gaiden Black, it leaves high hopes for the imminent 360 sequel. [June 2008, p.92]
  19. 60
    It will also leave a vague air of dissatisfaction with Ninja Gaiden vets. It’s short, parts of it are sweet, but it never really gets firing on all cylinders, even though the hint of a promise for that level of intensity is present the whole time.
  20. Hardcore Gamer
    It's an interesting evolution of the brawler, a neat implementation of DS controls, and a worthy successor to its notorious forefather. [Spring 2008, p.53]
  21. Although Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword isn't the spectacular action game we hoped it would be, it's still a highly polished, hugely enjoyable game.
  22. It’s a shame that Dragon Sword is such an uneven game.
  23. AceGamez
    Fans of Ninja Gaiden or just of great action games in general will find a lot to like here.
  24. Despite its repetitive combat and occasionally cheap save point placement, there’s very little wrong with Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword. It’s stylus control done right, and it’s a beautiful game to boot.
  25. Play Magazine
    It's so beautiful--so far superior visually to anything on the DS--that it's the kind of game that makes it worth buying the system for. [Apr 2008, p.68]
  26. Pelit (Finland)
    One of the best action games made for Nintendo DS. [Sept 2008]
  27. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    As an example of how to forge a modern action game for DS, Dragon Sword has no equal. [Apr 2008, p.80]
  28. Nintendo Power
    At approximately five hours, Dragon Sword is a bit on the short side, but I have a tough time complaining when those five hours are so tight and extremely polished. [Apr 2008, p.84]
  29. A good game, and executed well in terms of in graphics technology, system implementation, and gameplay. If only the main quest was a bit longer and the difficulty balanced throughout, this game would be a classic.
  30. 85
    Minor blemishes of challenge and length on an otherwise sharply crafted blade, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword is nevertheless a solidly designed DS title.
  31. Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword proves to have a sharp edge with good tech and smooth pacing. It also manages to turn the stylus into an effective ninja weapon, making it play like no other game on Nintendo’s little dual screen.
  32. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Except unusual controls this is an ordinary (but definitely not bad) hack’n’slash game. It’s more accessible and easier than episodes for "bigger" consoles, so you can finish it in at most seven hours. [Aug 2008]
  33. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    A flawed but very impressive romp that really puts the DS through its paces. [July 2008, p.78]
  34. If you can get past the first five hours of mindless fun, Dragon Sword is an unparalleled experience on DS.
  35. Nintendo Gamer
    Proves, once again, that the stylus is god's gift to control schemes. Ludicrously well done. [June 2008, p.59]
  36. For the most part the game is full to the brim with new ideas, clever strategic boss encounters and as a result is a breath of fresh air for the genre on the DS.
  37. The entire single player mission will take only seven hours. If there is an outstanding flaw in this title it would be it’s replay value.
  38. The game comes to its conclusion sooner than expected, with only a few unlockables to take advantage of. Nevertheless, here's a handheld game that cuts deep.
  39. While there are quite a few parts in the game that bring down the game in value, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword should remain as the prime example of what a third party can do with the Nintendo DS.
  40. Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is simply a fun game to play.
  41. 85
    While there isn't a whole lot to compare it to, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword is still easily the best action experience on the DS.
  42. DS owners should not miss the opportunity to play this great game.
  43. Dragon Sword has really raised the bar not only for DS action titles, but portable games, period.
  44. When it's all said and done, this game is fun. This is truly a worthy addition to the Ninja Gaiden franchise.
  45. Technically, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword is an extremely impressive achievement, making the absolute most of the hardware on which it plays. No other DS game looks or plays like Dragon Sword.
  46. Despite the lack of Blood the “Ninja-Gaiden-Feeling” could still be carried over to the first mobile installment of the series which makes Dragon Sword as good an investment for fans, as for all other owners of a Nintendo DS with a liking for action games.
  47. To all intents and purposes this is a Ninja Gaiden game through and through but with a new innovative twist to the control method which serves only to quicken the pace and make it in some ways even more enjoyable than previous outings.
  48. 80
    Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is incredibly accessible with nearly flawless controls and difficulty, or lack thereof in the normal difficulty setting.
  49. If you love action games, you can't do much better than Ninja Gaiden on Nintendo’s portable system.
  50. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    Dragon Sword is possibly the most visceral game in the Nintendo portable console. The story mode feels a bit short, but the combat system is very addictive and perfectly fitted to the DS potential. [June 2008]
  51. n-Revolution Magazine UK
    One of the flashiest DS games yet. [Issue#22, p.84]

Awards & Rankings

#30 Most Discussed DS Game of 2008
#11 Most Shared DS Game of 2008
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 3 out of 37
  1. Jan 11, 2012
    This game blew me out of the water and I wish Temco would made a a sequel to this wonderful title.The graphics were just insane and I forgot IThis game blew me out of the water and I wish Temco would made a a sequel to this wonderful title.The graphics were just insane and I forgot I was playing on my Nintendo DS throughout the game.The original Japanese signs for the elements were very good.

    Temco keep up the great work!

    Full Review »
  2. JoeStass
    Sep 17, 2008
    Easily one of the best looking games on the DS, NG:DS does not disappoint in terms of graphic presentation. The control system is nearlyEasily one of the best looking games on the DS, NG:DS does not disappoint in terms of graphic presentation. The control system is nearly flawless and the attacks you'll be completing on screen feel very satisfying when mixed with the sound of the slash. This game easily would have been a must buy and a 10 on the DS... if there was just more to it. Paying $35 for a game you beat in 6 hours is not my idea of fun, no matter how great it looks. Also, while the combat does feel very satisfying the whole game through, it also feels very lacking in depth. In fact, if the game were any longer, you'd probably just grow tired of it. This is definitely one of those games where you'll just want to go in with a few friends and take turns playing it. If you get 3 friends to join you, you can all still beat it in one day! Full Review »
  3. Matt
    Mar 29, 2008
    Actual score: 9.5. This is one of the most polished and graphically stunning games to grace the DS. The touch-based gameplay feels much likeActual score: 9.5. This is one of the most polished and graphically stunning games to grace the DS. The touch-based gameplay feels much like its xbox counterpart, which is impressive to say the least. Most importantly the game is fun without the frustration that I've come to associate with Ninja Gaiden and any other game Tomonobu Itagaki directs. I consider this game to be something like the God of War of the DS: fast-paced (but well-paced.), amazing to look at, and worth replaying the instant you finish. Full Review »