If you're anything like me, you'll have a serious love-hate relationship with Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven. When it works, it works incredibly wellyou can't top dropping in on an evil ninja and executing a stealth kill. Beyond a cool animation sequence, it's extremely satisfying. But for every moment of virile exhilaration you get from pulling off a series of stealth kills (ironically, more so as Ayame, the female character), you have to deal with a lot of shoddiness for much of the game.
The worst part? It almost seems like the developers knew they could have improved things to make Wrath compete with the Metal Gear Solids of the world. But rather than fixing what's broken, they just offer tips, which themselves are faulty.
"Consult map when lost," says Wrath. Great. So, are you saying this game was designed to make you get lost? I don't doubt it, as I spent far too much time going around in circlesand the map rarely helped.
"Enemies will become alert when they spot dead bodies," the game advises. Um, so why can't I hide said bodies like in MGS? Oh, I know! It's because they forget about the body in just a few seconds...only to rediscover the corpse moments later. Even when they do spot you, enemies don't bother catching you past a certain rangethey almost always lose you if you zipline straight up, even if they watch you do so.
"Hunt for Ninja Rebirth items" I'm told, as these are supposed to make things easier by creating restart points from where I died. Great, but what if I fall into a huge, gaping pit that the horrendous camera doesn't reveal until I'm on my way down? Guess I'll just have to remember its location the next time I come across itin about 20 minutes, after I replay the section up to that point. In some levels, that means I get a boss fight to start the mission. Joy! That's where a lousy combat engine really comes in handy.
The game makes a halfhearted attempt at a story, but the plot is mostly described through narration rather than acted out, making it boring and a little confusing. A multiplayer mode is also tacked on, but "tacked on" is about all I can say about it. Wrath has "rush job" written all over it.