In months leading to the launch of the Playstation Vita, one of my most anticipated games was Shinobido 2. I love Assassin’s Creed’s concept as well as Ninja Gaiden Sigma, so the thought of having a free roaming ninja stealth game is mouth watering. Alas, Shinobido 2 is not the game I thought or wanted it to be.
Graphically, the game looks like development was started on PSP and ported to the Vita. The draw distance is mediocre, and the environments are bland. The character models are decent, but the game as a whole is not a shining example of the graphical output of the Vita.
There is a story to the game, but it is not very interesting and the seemingly half assed cut scenes leave a lot to be desired. The voice overs are OK, but the script is very bad. It sounds as if someone wrote the story and then changed all the nouns to Japanese sounding words. It’s borderline offensive, if you ask me. To make things worse, the game’s story based missions are few and far between, as the game will give you a choice of four or five missions to choose from, and one will be story based. Once you complete certain number of these missions, the story ones will disappear, leaving you with filler missions to complete, until the story can continue. There are different mission types like assassination, rescue, obliteration, etc. Obliteration is my favorite mode, because you have to kill every enemy in the map. Other than that, missions are pretty straight forward.
Luckily, the core of this game, which is the stealth killing, is solid. Even though there are about 3 animations for the executions, assassinating an unsuspecting guard from the top of a building, then disappearing undetected never gets old.
There are a few different enemies to battle with, even a few grizzly bears, but all in all, you will kill about 5000 of the same character, which can get boring. The game does throw in some extra goodies for you to experiment with, like ninja stars, explosive traps, and distractions (all of which can be shared via the Near function), and these do help to mix things up. However, you will only need these tools on the harder bosses.
I enjoyed my time with Shinobido 2 and the core gameplay of the game is well done, which is the most important aspect. I only wish that the whole package was more cohesive and polished.