Monday, May 28, 2007

Tenchu Is Back! Wait... Where Did Everyone Go? Anyone Care?

Tenchu Z, the next title in the Japanese-developed stealth-action franchise is soon to be released. Published by Microsoft Game Studios and developed by From Software, this could be another attempt by Microsoft to try to get the Eastern market interested in the Xbox 360. However, save for a few Xbox-exclusive hits with Japanese flavor (The cult-classic Phantom Dust on the original Xbox, for example), Microsoft’s attempts to get the Japanese market to plunk down the cash for their systems have failed.

It’s not to see why, either. Although some of the Japanese games published by them were decent, titles like Blinx: The Time Sweeper aren’t exactly what most would consider system sellers (let’s also forget about half-baked released like Whacked! and the ill-fated Kakuto Chojin, shall we?). Titles like Blue Dragon, which recently helped move some 360’s from Japanese shelves are a step in the right direction, but are people really excited about a new Tenchu?

While I’m actually moderately eager to play it (I have fond memories of the original game back on the Playstation), the Tenchu games haven’t exactly made great strides to modernize themselves. Although this may have been acceptable for the last two generations, now that we’re in the next-gen people aren’t going to overlook many of the problems the series has had in the past, such as the dim-witted A.I. and clunky controls. Sadly, it seems as if the developers have not bothered fixing these problems, because a Japanese demo was recently found on Xbox Live Marketplace and it has been garnering much criticism for problems that the series should have fixed long ago.

To add injury to insult, the Tenchu series has been receiving worse and worse reviews every title, with last year’s DS-exclusive title Tenchu: Dark Secret earning an abominable 39.2% average from GameRankings. Well, Tenchu Z will be hitting U.S. shores shortly (June 12th, to be exact), and while I hope it turns out decent I have my doubts. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of how the Tenchu games have been rated through the years (look at how the ratings have progressively slid downhill)

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins - 83%

Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins - 79%

Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven - 79%

Tenchu: Return From Darkness - 70%

Tenchu: Fatal Shadows - 60%

Tenchu: Dark Secret - 39%

Ratings are based off of GameRankings. The source for the Tenchu ratings can be found here

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At 7:24 PM, Blogger The Elderly said...

I always wanted to get into tenchu, but moments into any demo i played i was hopelessy lost and ended up feeling completely inept, not great introduction for an all out purchase... i agree the series hasn't seen much development, but that by that screenshot the graphics have got a massive overhall

At 10:27 AM, Blogger gnome said...

Always wanted to get into Tenchu too, even though I was pretty sure it was something featuring whips and oils...

Great write up

At 6:23 PM, Blogger DEITRIX said...

I'm getting this game..! Keeping my fingers crossed... . .. .. still crossed...

I used to play the shite outta' Tenchu.

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hands down, Tenchu is the greatest Ninja game of all time. It is agreed that there were problems with the AI and the graphix, but beyond that, Tenchu was flawless.

I enjoy the cold and hard precision that Tenchu offers, considering the killing of enemies. If I were surrounded, I could toss a smoke bomb, run up and somersault from a wall and escape. In finding all the nooks and crannies on can hide in and sneak through, one begins to actually "THINK" like a ninja, and not just hack'n'slash your way through an entire game with some cartoon looking character.

This game is a ninja simulator, the first of its' kind, and has earned a well respected place in my heart. Graphic and AI problems aside, I love this game.

At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Riko said...

I played Tenchu: WOH so much I loved it, even when I got Tesshu (whom I hate. Hes ugly, and pathetic), but I love the rest. I really liked that they had one male and one female.

So far in Z, I think the graphics are alot better. The gameplay is amazing. Just the right amount of challenge, and plenty of secret ways to do things. The only thing I have a problem with, is the way the female ninjas look. They.. well, look fatty. Just a bit. I really liked how Ayame was skinny and thin, agile, and easy to hide. (Even though so far Ive been playing as the Male ninja, my partner is female, and I dont like the way she looks). Id have loved to be abl eto change her clothes, but Im only 32% into the game..


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