Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z – Review
Follow Genre: Hack 'n Slash, Arcade
Developer: Team Ninja, Spark Unlimited, Comcept
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Platform: PC, 360, PS3

Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z – Review

Site Score
Good: Humor, Fun ideas
Bad: Ideas are not followed through, Short, Limited
User Score
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.6/10 (5 votes cast)

The Ninja Gaiden franchise has been around since the late eighties and have always been titles people were looking out for. Whilst not every game was known under the name of Ninja Gaiden, most of them were outstanding pieces of quality. Today a new spin-off has reached the market, namely Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z, which brings a very arcade-ish twist to the franchise that might not be liked by everyone. Oh did I mention zombies too?



The game starts off with the scene where you, Yaiba, gets killed by his nemesis, and the star of the Ninja Gaiden franchise, Ryu Hayabusa. Luckily for Yaiba his eternal slumber was quickly interrupted, seeing he returned as one of the living dead. Whilst not being a real zombie, he isn’t really a complete human anymore either.

Having a second chance at life does not mean all will fare well for our villain. Nonetheless, Yaiba will do his best to get back a Ryu for taking his life and thus the hunt begins. Of course to make the ride a tad bumpier, the world seems to be covered with zombies. Everybody knows you can’t go wrong with zombies in the mix.

Whilst the story is a fairly hilarious twist on the original Ninja Gaiden franchise, the plot is often a tad too thin to fully enjoy it. You’ll get your story parts during the missions itself and most of the cinematics will happen at the end of these missions. These are brought to you in a fun way that make up for the lacking plot.

It’s worth mentioning that the developers did their best to present you a Ninja Gaiden game with a lot of humor inserted in it. Be prepared to enjoy a lot of cheesy conversations, fun one liners and a fair amount of clichés.



Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z opted for a cell shaded style of graphics, which go well with the comic-book-like atmosphere the game presents you with. All characters look as if a typical comic book is happening on your television.

Overall the world is fairly detailed but also very static. There are hardly any objects that can be altered or destroyed, except for the enemies or a few destroyable items that are used again and again.

Same can be said for the enemies, whilst these look fun and original in a decent amount of aspects, they are recycled more than your local waste processing facility. This will give the impression that graphics are a tad less decent, than they might actually be.


Let’s start of by saying that the main theme of the game is awfully catchy. Not only is it catchy it starts to get the mood going, the mood to slaughter hordes of zombies that is.

Whilst most of the music is not that noticeable the voice-acting in this Ninja Gaiden spin-off is quite superb. The voices perfectly fit their roles and the dialogues are fairly smooth. Whilst not that much more can be said about this category, we’ll just state there were no overall complaints in the sound department.



Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z is an arcade version of the hack ‘n genre we are used to nowadays. Everything is very straightforward but also quite limited when it comes to the overall gameplay depth. Sadly even these limited ideas aren’t always the best the genre has to offer.

The game consists out of seven missions, each varying from 10-50 minutes, thus making it a very short game. In these missions you’ll have to kill all of your zombified enemies, navigate yourself through several jumping scenes and solve a few fairly simple puzzles by using zombies as throwable objects.

All of the above ideas are fun but sometimes feel as if the game could have been a tad more than what it currently is. The fighting is very arcade-ish and will sometimes give you the impression that the Duracell bunny made love with the God of War franchise and they had a little zombie baby called Yaiba. (This means the gameplay is actually very fast, but it would have been quite unoriginal to say it with such simple terms.) Whilst the combat is very easy to get used to, the combo’s are fairly bland and you’ll soon catch yourself going for a button bashing tactic instead of trying to pull of specific combo’s.

Extra weapons can be found by fighting mini bosses in the game and robbing them of a limb or two to use as a special weapon. These weapons are often only good for a few hits, but they can help you at more difficult times. You can also use weaker zombies as a weapon to inflict a bit more damage.

To strengthen your abilities, you have a skill tree, in which you are able to choose 25 ‘skills’ for you to unlock. These skills often involve unlocking new combo’s, passive abilities or several weapon upgrades. The game also spreads collectibles in the levels for you to find that unlock passive upgrades such as health or just fun collectibles that give you extra story parts for you to read.


Throughout the game there are a lot of ‘jumping quick time events’. These jumping scenes are an important part of Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z and are often either very fun or fairly frustrating. During these scenes you’ll either have to use three different commands, namely jump, swing and attack. The game will always slow down a bit when you need to use one of the last two of these commands. In the earlier missions these sequences are fairly simple to get through but later on, you’ll need to spend a lot of attention towards your timing, because more and more obstacles will get in your way. Luckily the missions are filled with a lot of checkpoints in case any mishaps happen.

Puzzles in the game are often quite simple but also a fun combination of using the right zombie for the job. The game will have several spawning points where there are zombies you can pick up for these puzzles and you’ll either have to throw them against object to either create passages or activate certain objects.

Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z has a lot of difficulty options and thus a fair amount of replay value. After completing the game it’s more about playing the game over and over to beat the higher difficulties and/or improving your scores. Be warned though, with the fairly simple combat system, harder difficulties might prove frustrating after a while.


This game is more a score attack game than an actual part of the Ninja Gaiden franchise. If you see it as such you’ll probably enjoy yourself a tad more than you’d actually expect. Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z is filled with a lot of fun ideas but the execution of them isn’t always up to par with what we’re used to of the genre. If you’re looking for some short, brainless (zombies!) fun, you’ll have fun with this game, if you’re looking for more, we reckon this game might not be your cup of tea.

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Rating: 7.6/10 (5 votes cast)
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Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z - Review, 7.6 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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