This isn’t my first time playing Ninja Legends. As an Oculus Quest owner, I’ve played just about everything on that mighty little headset, including Ninja Legends. And on the Quest, it’s a fantastic game, even if it is a little on the simpler side. On PSVR, it’s essentially the same game but with fancier graphical features owing to the PS4 hardware. It’s not exactly the same though, and the PSVR version is not the superior one.
Ninja Legends has a simple premise: You’re a ninja and all the other ninjas are bad. Your job is to stay rooted to the spot and take out the attacking ninjas with whatever takes your fancy. Personally, I’m a big fan of the staff – it really does make me feel like a bad arse ninja, or Morgan from The Walking Dead.
The game comes with 18 levels that escalate the challenge as you progress. A variety of enemies keeps things a little fresh as they attack from all sides. Some are easier to kill than others, as some come with extra armour, meaning you’ll need to take a few more swings at them to separate their heads from their bodies. Or their arms. Or their left side from their right. It’s a little graphic with its violence, but it’s not over the top with blood and guts spilling out everywhere, but it’s still one I’d avoid playing around young kids.
The combat itself is actually really good, even if it’s a bit basic. Enemies telegraph their moves and slow down a little before landing their blows, giving you enough time to position yourself for a defending parry. To begin with, it’s really easy, but that’s because the enemies come at you one at a time. As you slash your way through the game’s levels, the enemies take a more gung-ho approach and will attack you several at a time, meaning you’ll have to have your wits about you if you don’t want your health bar to empty, ending the level and forcing you to start it again.
You have more than just your swords – or in my case, the staff – to keep you alive. You have a special meter that fills up as you kill the baddies. It’s split into three stages, with the first giving you one shot with your bow and arrow, the second giving you two, and the third – yes, you guessed it, giving you three.
This is perhaps the weakest aspect of the game – the bow and arrow, or any kind of projectile. On the Oculus Quest, I had no problems spinning around and hitting the bad guys, or targets in the archery-focused base defence mode – but on PSVR it was, for want of a better expression, a ball ache. When you’re just trying to fire forward, it’s manageable, if a little awkward. But when you’re trying to hit anything off to the sides or behind you, you may as well give up. The tracking just can’t deal with the PS Moves being used in any other way than face-on, and that’s just a limitation of the PSVR’s light-based tracking system. I would have thought that the developer would have gone into the game and maybe altered the gameplay a little bit to either add a turning option on the PS Move buttons, negating the need for you to turn your headset and controllers away from the camera, but that isn’t the case. It’s a shame because the core gameplay is good fun – it’s basically Fruit Ninja with real ninjas – but it’s let down by the dodgy tracking when you’re not engaged in melee combat.
[Update: I’ve since been informed that the game actually does have turning, but it’s an option. I didn’t realise this in my original play of the game, and I suffered for it. Still, the score remains the same as I was happy enough with the sword fighting alone, and that aspect of the game is what really makes it a worthy purchase.]
For what it is, it’s still a good game and worth a punt if you’re itching for something new to play on PSVR, but if you have the option to play on Oculus Quest or PCVR, I’d strongly recommend that over the PSVR version.
Ninja Legends PSVR Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
Ninja Legends is good fun on PSVR with some slick melee combat and cartoony gruesomeness. While the combat is fun and the PS Moves are up to the challenge, the game is let down by some poor tracking when it comes to using the bow and arrow. This wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t a couple of game modes based around this feature, but there are.
Avoid the bow and arrows and focus on swinging your katanas, staff, and axe and you’ll have a great time.
- Combat is fun and accessible with a very fair difficulty curve
- The graphics are nice and clean
- I liked the feedback when the PS Move controllers vibrated – a nice touch
- Lots of content with a lengthy story mode, as well as endless mode and more
- The tracking is just not up to standard when it comes to the bow and arrow-specific missions,
making a couple of the game modes borderline unplayable[Update: With turning enabled in the options, this is not as big an issue. The tracking is still wobbly with the bow and arrow, but it’s far more manageable than trying to play without having turning enabled.]
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.