Metascore
71

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 33
  2. Negative: 2 out of 33
Buy On
  1. 74
    A decent tribute to its source material, but fails to capture its best qualities.
  2. This game is hellaciously hard. So much so that I can't even think of the words to describe how difficult Shinobi becomes halfway through. [Dec 2002, p.220]
  3. netjak
    71
    If it looked nicer, and was a bit more player friendly, I'd probably be buying this one. But as it is, it feels like the developers just wanted to make this hard enough so that you couldn't beat it on a rental time span.
  4. Completing Shinobi is not an issue, but doing it with the style deserving of the series certainly is. Achieving those impressive A rankings will keep the dedicated occupied for the foreseeable future. Given the lack of alternative modes and the shortness of the main game, this fact will probably be lost on those who prioritise completion over mastery.
  5. Strictly in terms of gameplay, it's a work of art...Unfortunately, Shinobi stumbles in its level and enemy design. [Dec 2002, p.152]
  6. For today’s player, Shinobi will quite simply be too frustrating to see it through to the end. Sad but true. Making this one for the masochists of yesteryear.
  7. Entertainment Weekly
    67
    Ultimately devolves into the same hack-and-slash tedium seen in the old Sega Genesis games that inspired it. [10 Jan 2003, p.77]
  8. I don't think even the greatest purist will care for the save system.
  9. This otherwise solid game is simply too relentlessly tough on the outside to be worth the journey of frustration to its creamy center.
  10. PSM Magazine
    60
    There are plenty of cool moves, and the lead character is lots of fun to control, but boring level design and highly repetitive gameplay steal a lot of this potential hit's thunder. [Dec 2002, p.40]
  11. Play Magazine
    60
    It's a challenging, fun game, but Shinobi is not what it could, and should, have been. [Dec 2002, p.65]
  12. Cheat Code Central
    60
    It will likely frustrate the hell out of you but only if you let it. Once you get into it, it's hard to stop.
  13. Shinobi is, in a word, average. There are other adjectives I could throw at it, such a repetitive and frustrating, but I think average describes it best.
  14. There's very little need for strategy and the gameplay may grow weary to some, but it does manage to have tons of style, challenge and action to spare.
  15. A severe disappointment. Mediocre visuals and audio relay the game’s imprecise controls. Lacking innovative level design, the game is uninspired and extremely brief.
  16. We are captivated, taken by Hotsuma's grace of movement, the clarity of his sword's simplistic song, the will of the wind that fills his scarf. But far too soon, much like the programmers responsible: we’ll forget.

Awards & Rankings

18
#18 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2002
17
#17 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2002
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 5 out of 41
  1. Mar 3, 2017
    9
    While it certainly isn't the best Shinobi game (that honor goes to Shinobi III), it's in the top five for sure. Personally, I'd rank it as myWhile it certainly isn't the best Shinobi game (that honor goes to Shinobi III), it's in the top five for sure. Personally, I'd rank it as my third favorite. The Shinobi series had been dead for a while, owning to the fact that the Sega Saturn game failed to live up to the standards set by Shinobi III. But in 2003, Sega surprised the world by unleashing a 3D hack and slash platformy action version of Shinobi on the PS2. And man, it's good! Tough as nails as expected of the Shinobi series, with a silly plot, even sillier enemies, and amazingly well done music. It's also pretty cheap to get a copy these days, whether you got physically or digitally for PS3/PS4. Please check it out for some classic arcadey fun! Full Review »
  2. Jan 28, 2013
    10
    HACK AND SLASH GOODNESS! This game did NOT make it to the Dreamcast, however it made up for it by being on the PS2 instead (marking the startHACK AND SLASH GOODNESS! This game did NOT make it to the Dreamcast, however it made up for it by being on the PS2 instead (marking the start of hack n slash games across all other 6th generation consoles). This is now on PSN , so I recommend purchasing it.
    The storyline CAN be a bit slow if you're not too speedy with finishing each level (the story is divided into cut-scenes that are shown AFTER completing a level).
    The camera can be annoying. The game CAN be hard, but REMEMBER that without this game, alot of hack n slashers like Ninja Gaiden / Bayonetta wouldn't exist (Ninja Gaiden: Black Edition even nodded to this game via an unlockable costume).
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 3, 2011
    6
    It's an awesome premise and the gameplay is extremely stylistic, but it's also repetitive and doesn't prove to that much of a challenge. It'sIt's an awesome premise and the gameplay is extremely stylistic, but it's also repetitive and doesn't prove to that much of a challenge. It's not a bad game, but it's not necessarily a good one either. It's fun every now and then, and the story is pretty good, but I would never buy it at it's original price - however it does live up to it's $2 price at Gamestop. The scene work is probably the most (and only) truly impressive quality, yet it is limited by it's horrendous voice acting. Full Review »