Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
Buy On
  1. The best stealth game and ninja game on the market today. This is my choice for 2003's Game Of The Year. [Grade = A+]
  2. If you’re the kind of guy who likes to chop his prey into Sizzlean before he gets a whiff of your bad man musk, then the ninjas of Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven are right up your dojo.
  3. The perfect example of how to update a classic game without losing the spark of sheer enjoyment that made it great in the first place. This is the first must-buy game of 2003.
  4. A real beauty in gameplay, graphics and sound. I cannot imagine any Tenchu fan out there not being overjoyed with the overall experience this game has to offer.
  5. Game Informer
    The ninja game the world has been waiting for. It fights with honor, but still handily slays the competition. [Apr 2003, p.80]
  6. Spectacular kill sequences, a cool plot, cooler weapons and great levels all contribute to make this game the best of the Tenchu series, and one of the best first-person stealth games on the market.
  7. The main thrust of the gameplay is thoroughly mesmerizing, and there's a bundle of replay value here too. Despite glitches, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven is ace.
  8. Perhaps the most puzzling thing of all is what happens when an enemy gets really, really confused. Most commonly you'll see them walk into a wall or some other barrier.
  9. A solid storyline, the inclusion of co-op play and plenty of unlockable items and abilities go a long way in extending the life of this game. However, the contradictory AI and sometimes abysmal camera angles can complicate the gaming experience.
  10. Even without the open-ended level design, it was every bit as absorbing as the first game was at its very best and then some. And because of its mission-based structure that allows for quick access to all unlocked levels, it became a very hard game to put down.
  11. 85
    The combat engine is solid, the new moves are great, and the stealth-reward system is an excellent, tried-and-true technique that works perfectly here.
  12. Does a marvelous job of bringing the tension and suspense of being a silent device of death to the PS2.
  13. 83
    Gone are cumbersome mechanics like hiding bodies and sheathing swords to run faster; back are gruesome one-hit kills, fun grappling hooks and those lovely poisoned rice balls.
  14. Not only lives up to its predecessors' own high standards, but also to the generally high standards of this popular style of gaming.
  15. While the PS2-level graphics make the game prettier than its PSone predecessors, the basics of gameplay remain essentially unchanged since the debut of the first title.
  16. Although its plot didn’t captivate me, its exciting gameplay did. Gameplay is covert, yet exciting and had my heart beating rapidly each time I crept up on an enemy for a stealth kill.
  17. Cheat Code Central
    The story is confusing and as far as I'm concerned you might as well forget trying to figure out the whole picture. Just concentrate on completing your current mission and everything will take care of itself.
  18. And oh my brothers, does the red, red krovvy flow real horrorshow under Tenchu's ultraviolence. That's A Clockwork Orange speak for "there's a lot of blood, too."
  19. Play Magazine
    The game's core mechanisms, a mixture of platforming, grappling, sliding along walls, creeping in the shadows, and hand-to-hand combat, are tuned to near-perfection. [Apr 2003, p.54]
  20. GMR Magazine
    The framerate is also speedy-slick, and your ninjas feel and move as light as a feather. [Apr 2003, p.69]
  21. This is all fairly familiar, but the key thing is that it's new content, there are new challenges, it all looks spectacular and it'll last you for ages.
  22. 80
    May not be the perfect ninja sim, but it's a ton of fun, and that's far more important than some minor flaws.
  23. Good graphics, solid controls, decent sound (including purposefully-campy English dialogue) and mucho replayability (especially from its two-player mode) make Wrath of Heaven the best Tenchu game of the trilogy.
  24. Substitute the words Mildly Frustrating and Ninja into the title of the old Geto Boyz song "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta" and you’ve roughly got a statement of Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven.
  25. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    If nothing else, Wrath of Heaven succeeds where it absolutely must - executing stealth-kills as a ninja is simply exhilarating, and the animations rock. [Apr 2003, p.118]
  26. 70
    The control is satisfyingly tight and responsive, and the stealth kills (spookily augmented by the controller's vibration function) are right on that clinical line between gratifying and, well, a bit disturbing.
  27. The graphics aren't particularly innovative and the sound effects are merely a step up from mediocre. However, Wrath of Heaven succeeds where it counts - in providing an enjoyable experience with plenty of replayability.
  28. 70
    You'll play through the same environments in each campaign, and despite multiple enemy layouts, that lack of level variety lessens the replay value.
  29. PSM Magazine
    An uninspired co-operative mode, frustrating camera, and incompetent AI prevent it from achieving videogame Zen. [Apr 2003, p.26]
  30. Tenchu's disjointed mission structure, temperamental camera and disappointing enemy AI will leave new gamers looking for something a bit more polished and sophisticated.
  31. GameNow
    Ultimately entertaining but also jarringly frustrating. [Apr 2003, p.49]
  32. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    Rather than fixing what was broken, they just offer tips, which themselves are faulty... Wrath has "rush job" written all over it. [Apr 2003, p.92]
  33. The needy camera and the almost forced replaying of the levels frustrated me. I also wish the manual (no item descriptions) and the tutorial (all text) weren't so atrocious.

Awards & Rankings

#53 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 62
  2. Negative: 2 out of 62
  1. Sep 14, 2019
    As a whole, is the best game in the Tenchu franchise, but with the same problems as its predecessors, either with respect to the camera andAs a whole, is the best game in the Tenchu franchise, but with the same problems as its predecessors, either with respect to the camera and the very stupid AI of the enemies in it; Other point against it, is the fact that during the whole main game plot, of all the cool characters in this game, only Ayame, Rikimaru and Tesshu Fujioka are playable! Full Review »
  2. DavidN.
    Oct 30, 2003
    This game iz DA BOMB the steath kills the graphics n EVERYTHING!!!!!!any ways i never played the first one but the first time i played thisThis game iz DA BOMB the steath kills the graphics n EVERYTHING!!!!!!any ways i never played the first one but the first time i played this game i loved it!!!!!!!!!then i played the second one and it didnt make any sense cause rikimaru had his full eye so i guess they screwed up on that one.the only game series as good as this is the MGS series n the dynasty warriors series thos ones r tight. so in the end this game iz tight so im totaly buyin the fourth one!!!!!!!!!!! Full Review »
  3. Mar 7, 2021
    Wrath of Heaven is a tremendous leap forward for the Tenchu franchise. While the original Tenchu was pioneering, it had so many flaws thatWrath of Heaven is a tremendous leap forward for the Tenchu franchise. While the original Tenchu was pioneering, it had so many flaws that didn't quite stood the test of time. Specifically the jank controls, the unpolished combat system and the somewhat simple storyline.

    Wrath of Heaven improved on these aspects and then some; the controls are intuitive, responsive, fast and tight. The combat system is enjoyable and rewarding. The storyline though choppy is interesting, made sense and drives the game forward.

    It's not perfect though; 80% of the special skills are useless and while the addition of 3 separate characters to play is most welcome; the gameplay is rather short and a little too forgiving if I'm to be honest. In the original Tenchu, the targets where difficult to stealth kill, while in WOH, they seem too easy.

    Regardless, this is a fine game that has stood the test of time and will please anyone in 2020 and beyond who wants to pick it up. Recommended.
    Full Review »