I really want to give this game a high score and I really couldn't wait to get it, it being the first 3DS game I bought, right after getting a 3DS, but I can't.
That being said, I must admit to two things: first of all, I expected this game to be Shinobi III-2, but it is rather Revenge of Shinobi 1,5 3D + Slash Attacks, Free Useless Parry Mechanic Included. Second of all, I don't likeI really want to give this game a high score and I really couldn't wait to get it, it being the first 3DS game I bought, right after getting a 3DS, but I can't.
That being said, I must admit to two things: first of all, I expected this game to be Shinobi III-2, but it is rather Revenge of Shinobi 1,5 3D + Slash Attacks, Free Useless Parry Mechanic Included. Second of all, I don't like this way of directing, because personally I think is wrong and it boxes the player. I'll elaborate further.
My first and main problem with this game: it didn't make me feel like a ninja. I can't help but compare it with Shinobi III, which is one of my most favored games of all time, but for good reason - in Shinobi 3, if you die, you die because you are not ninja enough. That's it. In Shinobi 3DS you die whenever you don't play the game however the director wanted you to play it - and it has nothing to do with any of the previous games at all (though it's most reminiscent of Revenge of Shinobi, as stated above, but only in the way of Revenge being somewhat slower than the others). In this case - I say "Don't brake what isn't broken", though I'm not a fan of this practice. Inovation is one thing, breaking a franchise - another.
That being said, the game doesn't look that great either. The graphics are all pixelated (though it's an early 3DS game, I can't help but feel it was being made for the DS, then they suddeny just added some 3D to charge more), some parts of the game look really well and have actually inspired designs, others are generic and forgetable, but let's not push ourselves - The Shinobi series isn't known for benchmark designs. The 3D effects on the 3DS have their moments, but overall - not worth the headache.
One thing that did make a really positive impression on me was the OST. It got me really pumped at times and I overall enjoyed it, I'd even buy it. Probably the high point of the game.
The story in this game aims too high and falls flat. It's told through cheaply done cutscenes, some of which look really awesome and stylish, and others - bland and unfinished. The plot tries to introduce us to characters we don't care about, and ultimately - to characters that it doesn't need at all. In the end it wants to make this game's story a "revelation" to the series, but it just ends up looking overglorified. Overall - this segment prooves that this game was very rushed and needed a lot more work.
Although I trust that is the case, I must hand it to the people for putting some polish in - loads of unlockables - weapons, costumes, also challanges and even some history for the other games. Good stuff, really.
And I come back to the gameplay. As I have stated in my introduction, I don't like the overall direction this game went - it tried to change the gameplay for no reason, ending up overcomplicating it, it made it slow and somehow managed to ruin the platforming, making it very unprecise. My biggest complaint is that a Musashi - a Shinobi, a ninja, can't run. There is even a segment in the game in which the game tells you "RUN" as if you have any option of such, only for it to mean "Be careful not to execute every following move perfectly or you will die" - not equal to run! My other main complaint is the Parry mechanic, which sometimes looks cool and sounds like a good idea, but ends up being annoying, because the developers want you to use it badly, and if you don't - you die. In Shinobi 3, again, you have options - to plow through enemies, running and dive-kicking, or to be slow and patient, or to mix the two. In this game, you must parry certain attacks, or there is no getting through the game. Even the last boss is nothing more than a parry fest mixed in with a waiting game. Which brings me to my conclusion - this game isn't challanging. In just a few minutes it has you - the player, boxed in it's own world, playing by it's own rules, and if you don't like them - you can't play together anymore. It doesn't challange your skills, your creativity or your ninja reflexes - everything is blatantly obvious, especially the boss fights, which sound awesome as ideas, but end up being boring, because they are way too easy. Main point: this game doesn't make you feel like a ninja.
Sure, there is lots of replay value if you happen to like this particular way of gameplay, but if you don't - you simply go to the 3DS e-shop and download Shinobi III 3D, because it's cheaper and better. You need just a slightly better soundtrack to boot. I can think of a thousand different ways to make this game better, but the sad fact is that this game, combined with the two PS2 games, are the three main reasons the Shinobi franchise is probably dead forever now, and I'm very sad about that, because Joe Musashi's place isn't in Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed, it's as "... a man running in the darkness - he will be a shadow. He will be a Shinobi.".… Expand