Metascore
70

Mixed or average reviews - based on 55 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 55
  2. Negative: 3 out of 55
  1. This game, featuring tons of really cool moves, items to use while sneaking about, enemies with their own unique AI and beautiful eye candy, will be a must have for those wanting to be stealth assassins. The game also has some addictive gameplay with a story to entrap the players.
  2. This latest Tenchu is worth the money, but probably won’t hang around long in your collection after you beat it. The graphics and sound are slick and the fluid gameplay and intense kill scenes are very rewarding – just don’t expect a lot from multiplayer features.
  3. A nice blend of "Ninja Gaiden" and "Splinter Cell," and offers a lot of bang for your buck.
  4. "Manhunt" certainly offers a better stealth-kill gameplay model and "Ninja Gaiden" delivers more ninja action than most gamers can handle, but you’re still going to have fun exploring the wonderful levels and stylishly killing countless enemies.
  5. One of my biggest complaints about not only this game but the Tenchu series is that the in-game camera STILL is pretty iffy and proves to make the game more challenging that it already can be.
  6. When useful new features are added to an already excellent title, surely this just makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Go on, swallow your pride and play a damn fine PS2 game on your Xbox. [XBM]
  7. The game is smooth, somewhat linear, but does have challenge with multiple enemies, a good AI and interesting ways to kill your foes.
  8. Offers gamers a great look into the secret and mysterious world of the silent ninja, and players who enjoy the more subtle approach to gameplay will find their patience and use of strategy rather than the sword may pay off nicely.
  9. Activision still has some issues to iron out with this series, but die-hard stealth fans will get a solid challenge and several hours of fun game play.
  10. It's got a good story that changes depending on how you play it, and decent although not perfect control. And it's got online gameplay, which right there is a big reason to play it. But it's got it's weak points. The fact that it's almost a total port of Tenchu 3, from the levels to the graphics, is kind of dissapointing in a way.
  11. 80
    The Xbox enhancements aren't all they could have been. The great majority of Tenchu is still the same as before -- the camera's still tough to wrangle sometimes, guards still forget about your presence six seconds after spotting you, and aiming thrown weapons like shuriken is still a crapshoot.
  12. 80
    Depending on how much time you spend searching each of the 11 single-player maps for hidden items, it should take you a couple of days.
  13. 80
    If you have the patience to work through the same level a few dozen times, you’ll love it.
  14. 78
    Indeed, Return From Darkness is what Wrath of Heaven should have been when it was first released.
  15. A good game with addictive gameplay and brilliant stealth action.
  16. It is obvious that K2 took special care with the story for both characters and creating some nice levels, but they forgot the whole gameplay, camera and dumb AI issues.
  17. Merely a basic port of a PS2 game without any significant tweaks or fixes to its problems, which is uncalled for given the Xbox’s improved capabilities.
  18. 75
    Multiplayer mode is a good addition, but doesn't make up for the fact that the single-player mode has been made worse. This isn't Tenchu's shining moment, which is what it should be. Instead, it's a quirky step into multiplayer.
  19. While not a horrible game; due to camera issues, a problematic story and dated graphics, Tenchu strikes in at average.
  20. The new additions probably aren't enough for owners of the PS2 version to shell out the full asking price again for the Xbox version but for those new to the franchise it offers a decent experience which should keep fans of ninja games happy for a while, despite its flaws.
  21. Though Tenchu does have its fair share of throat slitting and swords-through-the-head, the basic gameplay is more reminiscent of "Metal Gear Solid" than Gaiden's slice and dice routine. Despite the flaws, Tenchu is still a rewarding experience.
  22. The level design and enemy placement at work here are simply brilliant, and if the devil is in the details, Return From Darkness is evil to the core. [May 2004, p.54]
  23. Between the different level variations and the multiplayer features, Tenchu: Return From Darkness has good lasting value.
  24. In all honesty, there's not a single thing about this version that stands out as superior to "Wrath of Heaven" (PS2). [Apr 2004, p.105]
  25. For a game that challenges you to outthink and outmaneuver your opponents, it's a shame that Tenchu's enemy A.I. is so awful and the camera control so twitchy and unyielding. [May 2004, p.83]
  26. 73
    Sure, the AI’s nowhere near present standards. Granted, its graphics engine is severely outdated. And, yeah, it’s not breaking any records in the sound department either. But therein lies its charm. If you’re like me and have been a longtime fan of the series, you’ll find this one as comfortable to slip into as a well-worn, unwashed pair of jeans.
  27. Unfortunately, this ninja dream too often becomes a nightmare of infuriating control issues, camera problems and soul-destroying restart points.
  28. It’s been surpassed in both it’s genre, and it’s subject matter, so once again it seems that Tenchu will stay in the dark world of the cult classic, and have to wait for it’s next instalment to possibly burst it’s way into the minds of more gamers.
  29. 70
    Yeah, the stealth kills are pretty cool, as is the story, but with enemies having an IQ of a raisin, the stealth kills aren’t very satisfying. You just don’t have to work for it in any way.
  30. About average for a stealth-action game.
  31. A mélange of disappointment and elation. The gameplay, graphics, and overall experience all present a grabbag of experiences, some good, some bad.
  32. If you can get past the atrocious camera and shut out the screeching voice acting, there's a pretty neat game waiting for you. Just don't trade in "Ninja Gaiden" to get it, eh?
  33. Even with new levels, added extras and a new multiplayer mode with Xbox Live support, it really doesn’t scrub up and match the polish of some other recent titles.
  34. The music is great, and as in past Tenchu games, manages to mix traditional Japanese instruments with some more modern electronic sounds.
  35. 70
    The open-ended levels seen in the original Tenchu are replaced with mostly linear levels that have artificial bottlenecks, forcing the player to follow specific paths.
  36. Though the visuals may be showing their age, the gameplay in Return From Darkness is just as strong as it was in the PlayStation 2 version, if not stronger thanks to the Xbox-exclusive features.
  37. Not a masterpiece by any means, but good ninja fun.
  38. A lackluster port with average graphics, a poor camera system and stupid AI.
  39. Controls in this game feel clunky. Add a few truly lackluster modes on Xbox Live and you have a game that should, by all rights, be a budget release. [May 2004, p.97]
  40. Unfortunately its graphics, sound effects, AI, and various other things are way below par.
  41. Suffers from the same bad camera angles and shoddy AI prevalent in the original. [June 2004, p.12]
  42. 65
    There isn't a lot that stands out except the obvious online features a good level design, and decent stealth action.
  43. Despite displaying some excellent game play ideas the overall execution and presentation lets the title down. The controls being overly fiddly don’t help matters and the lacklustre combat fails to inspire.
  44. There's a hell of a lot of content, with the three available characters having distinct missions with several enemy layouts. [May 2004, p.89]
  45. Mildly compelling. [May 2004, p.90]
  46. Tenchu isn't a particularly complex beast, and it doesn't take long to get the most out of it, so it's a nice alternative if you're bored of creeping around gloriously detailed locations pretending to fight terrorism. On the other hand, only a few shiny surfaces and high-poly models stand between this and the visual mediocrity of most PS2 titles.
  47. It feels very much like a first attempt, although this is in fact the third in the series.
  48. Easily the easiest game of the series, Tenchu: Return From Darkness may look better and have a few new features but it's a somewhat dumbed-down version of last year's "Wrath of Heaven" (PS2).
  49. While it's more about the art of being a ninja than the hack 'n' slash escapades of Ninja Gaiden, Tenchu is hampered by mediocre graphics, bad camera control and a host of other niggling faults.
  50. Sadly, Tenchu on the Xbox has been out-stealthed by "Splinter Cell," and out-ninja'ed by "Gaiden."
  51. Today, however, against titles that employ both stealth action and Ninja-style tomfoolery to a better and more engaging level, it's a title that would best fit for a rental, rather than a purchase.
  52. Enemies in Return from Darkness are dumb. They're not so bad at visually spotting a character, but when it comes to chasing a spotted ninja down, they suck.
  53. The game is worth at least one run through, but after that the experience relies on inconsistent online gaming where the biggest challenge is finding someone to play with.
  54. 41
    There just wasn’t anything very impressive at all here. Weak visuals, gameplay that runs through its total variety in the scope of an hour or so, and sounds that just don’t seem to be there at all combine to spoil the experience.
  55. 40
    Tenchu just hasn't changed a whole lot since its inception six years ago, and that was hardly acceptable when "Wrath of Heaven" originally came out, last year. It's even less so now.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Apr 26, 2015
    9
    Outstanding game for armchair ninjas that have the patience to enjoy stealth. Many missions and replay value. Hyperactive kids with shortOutstanding game for armchair ninjas that have the patience to enjoy stealth. Many missions and replay value. Hyperactive kids with short attention spans abstain from playing this.

    Graphics: 8
    Sound: 8
    Gameplay: 7
    Value: 9
    Full Review »
  2. CarloL.
    May 4, 2004
    0
    This game sucks so much, i hate how you can't play any of the other missions in the mutlitplayer mode before you finish the missions inThis game sucks so much, i hate how you can't play any of the other missions in the mutlitplayer mode before you finish the missions in story mode. and it seems that even on normal level that the enemies are virtually impossible to beat. i thought i was gonna be renting a bad ass game but was completely disappointed. Full Review »
  3. Casanova
    Mar 15, 2004
    10
    This is a cool game, not better then gaiden but it is good. You see gaiden is fast movement, but Tenchu is how a real ninja suppose to be. This is a cool game, not better then gaiden but it is good. You see gaiden is fast movement, but Tenchu is how a real ninja suppose to be. Live by stealth, die by honor. Full Review »