I like QTEs, I really do, but From Software’s Ninja Blade for the Xbox 360 overdoses on these in nearly every scene from the demo.
The demo had been out in Japan for awhile and the English version just came out a few days ago on Live so I pulled it down to see what it was like. It definitely has some style to the main character and the visuals look great, but something about its over-the-top approach feels decidedly “me too” at this point following all of the zap-bang awesomeness that DMC4 and Ninja Gaiden II have delivered. The melee combat was pretty straightforward, button mashing stuff, but it was unexciting in seeing my character slash away with what seemed to be generic moves against enemy monsters whose only surprise was that they sometimes get back up. It comes with everything you’d expect a game like this to have: flashy hero, ninja swords, running down the side of a building (that was actually pretty neat), and little else. The awful dialogue didn’t help, either, and I can guess that the obnoxious ninja that jumped out of the plane first is going to get into the hero’s face at some point. It’s just that certain.
From the start, you’re introduced to some heavy QTE action…something that doesn’t let up. Every time the main character does something cinematic, the player has to punch in a series of button presses and stick motions in order for him to succeed. If you fail, it rewinds to a preset start for you to try again. Now, it’s not that hard to get through, but it already feels repetitive enough to be annoying. It felt as if the game were 20% player-driven action and 80% Simon Says. Even the boss wasn’t that exciting, a giant spider whose predictable attacks gave it a less than impressive debut.
My verdict after the demo? Not buying it. I like From Software’s stuff, but this just feels as if they were told to push out a ninja game because Dante and Ryu made stylish ass kickery seem so easy.