Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is a 2014 spin-off of the Ninja Gaiden series developed by Team Ninja, Spark Unlimited, and Comcept and published by Tecmo Koei. The game was produced by Keiji Inafune, who created the titular protagonist Yaiba and provided his character designs. It was released worldwide on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in March 18, 2014 in North America, March 20, 2014 in Australia, and March 21, 2014 in Europe. This was the last game by the Spark Unlimited before closing in May of 2015.
The game follows the exploits of the powerful ninja Yaiba Kamikaze. Yaiba was once part of a clan that tested the abilities of its ninja by putting them up against a highly skilled member; in this case it was Yaiba they had to face. However, after growing weary of his work, Yaiba eventually decides to massacre his own clan and leave the survivors to their deaths. At one point he meets with the franchise mainstay Ryu Hayabusa and decides to challenge him, claiming that he is the weakest foe Yaiba has encountered thus far. During the battle he discovers otherwise as Ryu slices Yaiba's left arm and eye, killing him.
Later, Yaiba is discovered by a mysterious organization known as Forge Industries, led by Alrico del Gonzo, brings him back to life and restores his lost body parts with mechanized duplicates, thus turning him into a cyborg, with a female named Ms. Monday as his navigator. Yaiba learns that a zombie outbreak has begun and that Ryu has been searching for the source of the infection. He decides to work with the Forge Industries that resurrected him in order to exact his revenge against Ryu, agreeing to help put a stop to the spread of zombie infection.
Upon finally encountering Hayabusa again one last time, and managing to defeat him, Yaiba finds out that Forge Industries has been manipulating every event, such as unleashing the zombie outbreaks and using him as a tool and self-destruct bomb to kill him and Hayabusa to further the organization's plan. Yaiba decides instead to sacrifice himself to destroy the bomb and spare Hayabusa's life in order for him to save his disciple, Momiji. Upon his revival by Ms. Monday for the second time, she too defects Forge Industries due to Del Gonzo's attitudes and manipulative nature, having unleashed the zombies for his own purposes of seeking immortality.
Once Yaiba landed in an abandoned, yet zombie infested Forge Industries building, Yaiba finds a portal to what appears to be an Aztec-themed alternate dimension and found the real Del Gonzo, who seems to be in a dying state inside a tube. Though unable to stop Del Gonzo from transforming into the embodiment of the Aztec god of the underworld, Yaiba manages to find a weakspot to make him mortal again. While Del Gonzo tries to escape from Yaiba's wrath, Ms. Monday appears in person and kills Del Gonzo for good. With the portal to the real world closing, Yaiba and Ms. Monday barely escape. In the end, Yaiba and Ms. Monday decide sell the data of curing zombification. Unknown to them, Hayabusa is observing them.
Why It Sucks
- Unlikable protagonist.
- Forced crude humor.
- Poor voice-acting and dialogue, which wastes the talents such as Troy Baker.
- Badly implemented execution moves.
- Awful camera.
- Difficult for the wrong reasons.
- You can only regain health by performing executions.
- Combat system lacks flow and rhythm.
- The console versions are locked to 30 fps.
- Blocks and counters are difficult to time right.
- Many enemies on-screen, which makes it hard to keep up with the action.
- Shallow puzzles.
- Trial-and-error parkour sections.
- You cannot cancel your moves by dodging this makes the combat frustrating since you will not be able to avoid taking damage.
The game received mixed to negative reviews. The PS3 version has a Metacritic score of 43, while the PC and Xbox 360 versions have scores of 49 and 50, respectively.
Most of the criticism was focused on the repetitive gameplay, the difficulty and the level design.
It was included among the 100 worst games of all time by GamesRadar in 2014.