Everything old is new again.
Ryu Hayabusa may have served as chief ninja in Tecmo Koei’s Ninja Gaiden series for more than 25 years now, but the upcoming Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z has newcomer Yaiba Kamikaze at the forefront. However, that’s not the only change this upcoming hack-and-slash game has in store for the series: here are 10 major changes Team NINJA has in store:
1. Keiji Inafune, best known for his work on Mega Man and Dead Rising, is on board as the director of Ninja Gaiden Z. Some may see his arrival as a radical departure from previous director Tomonobu Itagaki’s work, but Inafune’s pristine track record has earned him his self-titled nickname “INAFKING.”
2. Of course, a new director brings a new style. Unlike the (semi)-realistic trappings of previous entries, Ninja Gaiden Z channels a look that is equal parts comic and manga. Those itching to see more of the art before its release can check out Dark Horse’s line of comics.
3. If the cybernetic arm and zombies of Ninja Gaiden Z’s trailers didn’t clue you in, the story mode has dropped the overly serious pretenses of the original for something far more outlandish. The dialog exchanges between Yaiba and the buxom beauty Miss Monday are no doubt a taste of things to come.
4. Feel like the previous Ninja Gaiden games were too tough to handle? Ninja Gaiden Z’s experience and upgrade system caters to those craving a more lenient difficulty curve. Those itching to complete a no-death perfect run need not fear — the challenge and complexity is still there in the optional Ninja Gaiden Z mode.
5. Those who hoped to Izuna Drop their way to victory are in for a rude awakening — Yaiba Kamikaze is packing a whole new set of moves in Ninja Gaiden Z. With his handy-dandy cybernetic arm, his moveset would be right at home in a PlatinumGames’ Anarchy Reigns (he can even transform it into a chainsaw!).
6. New weaponry also calls for new enemies. Supernatural creatures are still the name of the game, but expect to see a lot more of the undead this time around. Of course, the undead can be weaponized as well.
7. Did you know Ninja Gaiden’s roots can be traced back to the NES? It’s true! As a callout to these days gone by, NGZ Mode offers pixelated graphics, side-scrolling action, and more retro touches.
8. Those who bought Team Ninja’s Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate will receive a nice little Yaiba bonus as well, as DLC costumes for both Ryu Hayabusa and Momiji will be coming out in the near horizon.
9. Ryu Hayabusa might not be the main character of Ninja Gaiden Z, but that does not mean he is completely out of the picture. The leader of the Hayabusa Clan will serve as a rival to Yaiba Kamikaze throughout the games’ story mode. Ninpo versus cyber fists. Old versus new. Who will win?
10. COMCEPT’s (and Kickstarter darling) Mighty No. 9 makes a cameo! (in costume form)
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Steam on March 18, 2014.