• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Feb 10, 2004
  • Also On: PC

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 39
  2. Negative: 3 out of 39
Buy On
  1. After spending a fairly short amount of time with the game, I found the controls very smooth, but what really makes this game such a blast to play is the inventive combat system.
  2. It’s got flashy combat, an undeniably well-designed lead character, and a lot of ninja action. It’s just that the further you go, the less fun the game becomes, so you’d do better to rent this one.
  3. Challenging opponents, extended "tate" combos, and difficulty settings for any skill level make for extensive replay value and plenty to like in Nightshade.
  4. I still believe that there'll be a faction of pansy gamers, weaned on infinite continues, save points and GameSharks, that bitch and moan about how hard the game is and fail to appreciate it as a result. That's lame, really, because even if Nightshade doesn't do enough to fix everything that was wrong with Shinobi, it's still easily one of the top action titles on PS2.
  5. PSM Magazine
    Improves on "Shinobi" in every respect, resulting in a fast-paced, pure action game with a fresh feel to its gameplay that's unique in a genre lacking in new ideas. [Apr 2004, p.32]
  6. 80
    The control scheme is sublimely genius, letting you perform midair attacks and dash around foes with poetic ease. The manual camera is still a bit too loose, though, and leaping and running against walls isn’t as reliable as you’d like it to be.
  7. Those who like their games nice and easy shouldn't bother with Nightshade. As for the rest of us, we can heartily appreciate it for its monumental challenge and tight, responsive controls.
  8. This game may not be on par with its predecessor, but it has done a fabulous job of becoming a far more accessible game to a number of different types of gamers, be they newcomers or seasoned veterans.
  9. With an improved control scheme and fluid action, the game fixes the problems plaguing the first title. Unfortunately, the action is broken up by unnecessary and frustrating platform challenges forced upon by linear level design.
  10. This leaves Nightshade’s appeal divided pretty evenly between those who will play at it, improve, and get better, and those who will quickly dismiss it as too hard. For those who stick with it to get high ratings in the stages, there’s a lot of value.
  11. 75
    It does decrease the barrier of entry enough that the average gamer has a better shot at enjoying it. Combine that with superior level design and attractive graphics and my preference for it over "Shinobi" is obvious. It's still chock full of frustration and teeth-gnashing.
  12. Somewhere between Shinobi 1.5 and a full-fledged Shinobi sequel. Nightshade has all of the Shinobi gameplay elements you grew to love two years ago. It also has new moves, a better camera targeting system (better meaning improved – it's still not perfect, and will likely drive you nuts from time to time), and more enemies to kill than you could ever desire.
  13. If you have wimpy thumbs and are averse to difficulty, you probably ought to let this ninja go. But if you consider yourself the hardest of the hardcore, I recommend letting Nightshade kick your ass a little.
  14. netjak
    I can't see anyone wanting to replay this over and over just to unlock Hisui, Hotsuma, and Joe Musashi, so this game is just a rental, if that.
  15. Not only will you curse, but as the game progresses, you’ll get exceedingly violent towards your controller. Bosses are especially tough, often requiring the player to dash in for a quick hit, then dash out for an even quicker retreat.
  16. While Nightshade does have its positives, they are far outweighed by the negatives. The hours of frustration because of the difficulty made me want to pull my hair out times. It’s a shame too because this title had so much potential that it didn’t fulfill.
  17. I typically find any platformers get old fast, but in Nightshade, the designers were wise enough to not subject you to platform hell, so there's just enough to keep the levels interesting.
  18. If you liked "Shinobi" but hated the controller-throwing difficulty of it, then you'll flip over Sega's latest ninja adventure. [Apr 2004, p.100]
  19. The bottom line is, if you liked "Shinobi" then you'll most likely love Nightshade. With more unlockables and selectable difficulty's than it's predecessor (and replay value as well), Nightshade is a good buy.
  20. Yes, the addition of checkpoints eases the frustration, but only a bit. This is a series that can absolutely end up being great, but to get there, it still needs a better scope on varied (and, hopefully, jaw-slackeningly beautiful) level design and for the love of God, Sega, fix that damned camera.
  21. 70
    In the end, aside from having a fetish for hot looking female polygonal characters, there is absolutely nothing that Nightshade offers players that "Shinobi" didn't.
  22. games(TM)
    Most gamers will complete Nightshade within a weekend - it's a fine example of style over substance. But this game is all about its scoring system and it offers plenty of incentives to ensure that you'll be going back for just one more go. [Mar 2004, p.110]
  23. While few titles will ever again brutalize the player as "Shinobi" did, the still relatively high level of difficulty coupled with refinements and improvements to the gameplay should make Nightshade a keeper for fans of the series.
  24. Two words: bottomless pits. That foul design element, which should have been eradicated from gaming's lexicon decades ago, shows up in Nightshade - and with maddening regularity. [Apr 2004, p.88]
  25. A major improvement over the original in many ways, but still lacks in Sound.
  26. Depressingly lackluster. [Mar 2004, p.106]
  27. 60
    Nightshade isn't the sharpest depiction of ninjitsu out there. But we can't say it's entirely demanding of seppuku either. Some will enjoy the mindless mayhem, warts aside.
  28. 60
    The final problem for me is that Nightshade doesn't provide nearly enough of an incentive to rise to the challenge.
  29. An unforgiving experience … but Nightshade still has enough chutzpah to give those weaned on games without saves a stern and nostalgic challenge. Those afraid of tough bosses need not apply. [Mar 2004, p.103]
  30. The camera is atrocious, the graphics are bland, and the voice acting is lousy. The concept is cool, but after two mediocre games, it looks like it’s time for Sega to put down the Shinobi series once and for all.
  31. 60
    Approach this sharp blade with caution, because it's likely to turn on you before mastery comes.
  32. If you have the yearning, however, it may be advisable to seek out another of Sega's recent offerings - the lavishly-presented, highly-atmospheric originality of "Otogi."
  33. Cheat Code Central
    Unless you're a masochist you might want to rent this one just to see if you have the skill or tenacity to make it to the end. It's not for everyone, but it's nothing that a few, choice, cheat codes couldn't tame.
  34. Computer Games Magazine
    There is very little newness here, but the game proves infinitely more playable than its predecessor thanks to reduced difficulty. [Apr 2004, p.8]
  35. Play Magazine
    A little drab, mechanical and laden by an antiquated feel, Nightshade is an on-again off-again sequel to the similarly flawed "Shinobi." [Mar 2004, p.59]
  36. Instant deaths, abetted by a bad camera, put the brakes on the best bits of an otherwise ugly and repetitious game. [Apr 2004, p.121]
  37. In the face of such opposition, Nightshade, a pretty damn poor game when stacked against PS2 contemporaries like "Devil May Cry" or "Castlevania," simply doesn't have a candle to hold.
  38. It's as if Overworks were so proud of their bland, boxy environments that they thought the camera would be put to much better use tracking the grey blocks that constitute 'the world' than actually following the gameplay. If you can actually call it that.
  39. Everything just ends up being so boring and predictable.

Awards & Rankings

#91 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 21
  2. Negative: 2 out of 21
  1. Jan 28, 2013
    A great sequel to Shinobi. Its not AS good, though it is still just as hard. Camera still has issues, but its still fun.
    Gameplay is good.
    A great sequel to Shinobi. Its not AS good, though it is still just as hard. Camera still has issues, but its still fun.
    Gameplay is good.
    Storyline is okay.
    Graphics are AWESOME (and VERY Japanese/Neo-Tokyo-ish).
    Full Review »
  2. Sp!racy
    Sep 11, 2007
    An above average follow-up to Shinobi. Nightshade's visuals and control scheme are tops, however the camera option could of been better. An above average follow-up to Shinobi. Nightshade's visuals and control scheme are tops, however the camera option could of been better. I hate having to readjust every five minutes while leaping from truck to truck in stage 6 and then again in stage 9 and 10. The difficulty ranges from managable to "my god!! what have i done to deserve this!", which isn't so bad if you have patience and above average reflexes. I'm not too keen on the "gotta catch em all" philosophy for unlocking bonus items, but that's another issue altogether. Full Review »
  3. Nancy
    Jul 19, 2005
    It's still a great game but it got overly complicated from its predecessor with so many things you have to find inorder to unlock stuff It's still a great game but it got overly complicated from its predecessor with so many things you have to find inorder to unlock stuff plus getting all the scrolls and health power-ups etc. I would have liked to see it more like Shinobi simple hack and slash ninja action! Full Review »