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on July 21, 2007
I have played all the Tenchu games.
The two shining moments of the franchise are when it was originally released (Tenchu Stealth Assassins) and when it first appeared on the PS2 (Tench Wrath of Heaven).

Pros:
- The graphics and motion capture are improved.
- There is a greater degree of customizability.
- For a Tenchu fan, the fact that Tenchu lives on the next-gen platform is a plus.

Cons:

- Some reviewers have said that the game is repetitive. Others have countered by saying that a game like God of War or Metal Gear Solid is repetitive. The reason Tenchu Z feels so much more repetitive is because there is excessive reuse of locales, whereas in God of War for example, the locales are different with each new level. There is no reason for this, other than lack of time or, more likely budget- because if you look at every other Tenchu game, there has never been a repeated locale in a story thread. In this game you play through the same village, castle, whatever several times. After the 2nd time you've just about had enough.

- One of the things that made the original Tenchu game so interesting and challenging was that the enemies' ninjas would also hang out on the roofs. In this game, staying on the roof and crouching generally means that no one can reach you. None of the characters seem to climb them, even low roofs.

- There is no notion of a boss after each level. This is sad because the boss was yet another element that made the other Tenchus interesting.

As a fan I am glad that Tenchu lives on in the next-gen platform. But I feel somewhat cheated by Tenchu Z's lack of content as compared to previous Tenchus.
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on June 13, 2007
Im a fan of the whole Tenchu series, Ive been there since the 1st release day of the original on PSX. I originally picked it up not really knowing what to expect, especially since it didnt have much attention from the critics. It became an instant favorite. Its never been huge with critics despite is innovative and groundbreaking gameplay- it was the first stealth based game, But I guess thats how ninjas roll, incredible and unnoticed... the way they strive to be.
Ive played all the Tenchus many many many times through. I can honestly say without a single doubt this is the best. The Tenchu group has removed alot of the old pestering issues and this time around its very slick.

For those of you who have never played tenchu its a stealth based game, and not a tom clancy limited controll sneaking around in a linear dark corridor stealth game - you play the role of a ninja. Tenchu Z by far has blown the world of steath based gaming (as it usually does), scent, sight, and sound are the elements involved. you stand on a roof and if Your shadow is cast where the enemy can see he will notice if you move. You get too bloody the enemy can smell you.. the dogs can always smell you. As your moving around you have a sound gauge as to exactly how loud you are, which is sensitive to the surroudings. In other words u step in water splish splash, you walk on leaves crInch crunch, you walk on loose boards creak creak, you run fast you hear pitter patter and so on. all of these things are balanced well with swift control of character, usefull items, and special abilities.

As with the prior games every stage is replayable. Staying unseen will always yeild the best results and points. Points are now transfered into money. Tenchu Z has added a character customization which to say the least is......impressive. Hundreds of items, accessories, hairstyles and clothing that has been sectioned to each body part.

One thing im RELISHING in is theyve gone and remade some of the original levels. newer snazzy and fun!

As far as the traditional scoring goes id say it does pretty well.

Graphics- yes its on the 360 ... doesnt look fall out of your chair drooling like mad eyes bleeding great, but its waaaaay better than PS2 graphics.

Sound- this one is a no brainer its a comprehensive stealth game, sound effects are like another set of eyes- tenchu has never lacked in this area. music during movies n scenes are well done crisp and fitting. durign gameplay music is simplified and quiet so u can concentrate on you surroudings. When a fight breaks out its fast paced and again.. fitting. As it should be.

Gameplay-Tenchu Z has patched up some older serious fighting problems with new moves and slicker controls.. that is, if your so bad at being sneaky you get stuck in a fight. Otherwise, controls are smooth and easy to get down. Multiple styles of stealth kills and creative options in doing so. Camera is fully controllable even in weird corners n such...Again this is another vital thing in a stealth game - sight.

Replay Value- Well now... all 50 some levels are replayable with different difficulties, random hidden items, custom character ceation and advancement,unlockable skills, items, abilities, and clothing. System link with a few friends and lets not forget it all can go online as well... it will keep you busy for quite some time.

So if I could sum it up in one word.. itd be as I said in my title wow....*bows*
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VINE VOICEon June 18, 2007
Ok I'll cut right to the chase and address some of the gripes people seem to be having about this game, then give my review.

1)The missions are too repetetive??: Ok people, you're a NINJA and you KILL people or gather intelligence. BUT, no matter what the primary objective is... you are going to have to kill lots of people! What is wrong with that? What kind of missions do YOU people think should be in here? Maybe a gathering firewood mission or steal money to give to the poor?

2)The AI sucks?? Ok, the AI might not be the greatest (like MOST games) but you have to put the time factor into perspective. In REAL life, if a guard sees you and you run, you'd stay gone for an hour or a day or week, THEN come back to complete the mission. Obviously the developers were smart in realizing people want things not quite that realistic so they sped things up a bit to where the guards forget about you after a minute or so. I see no problem with that, under the circumstances.

So, my review is very positive. I've only done the first mission so far, BUT I've done it like four times and done things differently EVERY time. That is the magic of this game. There are so many options open to you. You can hide in bushes, water, on top of buildings, UNDER buildings, and you can constantly buy new equipment and items to help you out on missions. It's a very welcome step to the game and makes you feel like your "building" your ninja more.

True, the combat aspect of the game is a little stale by modern standards, but of course this is a stealth game, so its not all that surprising that they don't focus so much on that. If I had one real wish for improvement, though, I guess that would be it.

Make NO mistake: This game is FUN and you feel like a ninja, like you're really in the thick of enemy territory. I found myself holding my breathe more than a few times. The improved stealth-kill system is awesome, even including multiple kills.

If you are a true fan of the series, pick up the game, no question. You won't be sorry.
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on August 20, 2007
Tenchu Z - Circa 2007

GOOD:
- Game has 50 missions and three different difficulty settings.
- Create/customize your very own ninja with lots of costume options and props like a crow on your shoulder or an extra sword on your back, as well as change your hair style, gloves, boots, pants and top.
- The customizing doesn't just stop at looks; this game has lots of unique and different moves as well as combos. Some new abilities help you do things like run along walls and cling to ceilings.
- Game has large open-ended stages with a sandbox attitude (finish missions the way you see fit).
- Online Co-op mode (from two to four players), while this mode is a little glitchly it is a nice feature.

BAD:
- Most missions are pretty mundane and by the numbers (not just the first few).
- A few missions are for lack of a better term repeats of earlier stages.
- This story is very bare bones and seems too heavily focused on feudal Japan politics.
- The graphics are old for a game that came out 2007; this game looks at best like a game from the early Playstation 2 days.
- The enemy A.I. is not very good and loses interest in following targets after they lose direct sight of their target. Example, if you get spotted by a guard jump over a small wall and the guard will not only not be able to follow you or know where you "disappeared" to, but after a few minutes that same guard will lose interest and go back to his rounds.
- Higher difficulty settings dose not mean smarter guards or more guards, but just that all enemies have better vision and can spot you much easier.

IF IT FITS YOUR TASTE:
- This game only has three boss battles two of which are on the last mission.
- Westerners (who in this game are Spaniards or pirates) are portrayed odd to say the least (they come off very un-masculine when compared to all other characters even the woman).
- After beating a mission you get ranked on your skill as a ninja (really the game only counts how many times you got spotted and for how long versus how many stealth and normal kills you performed) you get gold according to this and you get a ranking number from one to five (five being the best).
- The game has you earning money or gold on missions to buy/unlock new costumes options, abilities, and items. New costumes options become available every few missions.
- The Ninja Village (just a very small hub world) where you can select missions and change/buy costumes options, abilities, and items has the time of day set to the clock on your Xbox 360, play at night and the Ninja Village is at night, play during the day time and the Ninja Village is set during the day time. Unfortunately this is not carried on to the stages them selves with 95% of the stages taking place at night.

GAME ITS MOST ASSOCATED TOO:
- Tenchu: Return from Darkness (Xbox, PS2)
- Tenchu (PS1)

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
- A demo of this game is available on Xbox Live Marketplace.
- Using the right or left bumpers (the 360 equivalent to playstations R1 and L1) makes the difficulty easier or harder per stage.
- A few missions in this game have you kill members of the Echigoya family; this is note worthy because every Tenchu game has its first mission killing a member of this family (usually a corrupted merchant).
- Every mission (50 in all) has at least one guard known as a Tomikichi (they are wearing the over sized round/circle type of hats) killing one on every stage gives you secret achievements.
- Beating the game unlocks a few new costumes options like Modern Day military uniforms with a stock gun (M-16 type) that you can hold on your back (its only a prop you can't use it) and Over sized animals heads (like the ones you see at theme parks).
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on July 12, 2007
First off, let me say that I've been a huge fan of this series since its inception. With that said, however, this might just be the game that convinced me to never buy another Tenchu game ever again.
For beginners, not one piece of this game displays anything that couldn't be accomplished on the original Xbox. 50 missions? Yeah right. Try 12 maps rehashed over, and over, and over, and over again. Daytime and nighttime versions of the same level aren't very different aside from expanding your enemies' field of vision. The graphics are respectable, but nowhere near the 360's capabilities. Enemy AI is better than past Tenchus, but they still suffer from absolutely no short term memory. The voice tracks may or may not be rehashed throughout the game. Truth is I have no idea, since I DON'T SPEAK JAPANESE! What in the world made the developers decide that we didn't need this game in english. Heck, I'd even settle for engrish as long as I could understand them.
Also, what the hell happened to having some kind of storyline? C'mon, who seriously thinks that a 5 second animated sequence counts as a quality storyline? Granted, at least the storyline follows a straight line. This is the first time that's happened in a Tenchu game since Tenchu 2 (that's right, last century!). Still, the game has 2 playable characters (neither of which are Ayame or Rikimaru, more on that later), so you have two parallel stories, right? Wrong. In fact, you can't even play through the second character's path without using a second profile. The game only allows one save file per profile.
Back to the playable characters. Ask anybody what their biggest problem was with MGS2, and guaranteed that response will be one word: Raiden. Making a Tenchu game where you can't play as Ayame or Rikimaru is about as bad as a Super Mario game that only allows you to play as Kupas.
And lastly, would it kill the developers to include a mapmaker function in this game? Online play's great and all, but I guarantee 110% that anybody who buys this game and plays it online would much rather be able to download countless user-created missions than to play one of the countless (read:12) missions included in the game. I might be a bit impressed with with the online missions, if they weren't the EXACT SAME MISSIONS FROM THE SINGLE PLAYER GAME!
Face it, if ever there was a niche game, this is it. People aren't going to line up tho play this game, aside from the rabid Tenchu fans who are in love with the series. Look at any fansite dedicated to the series, and everybody begs for a mapmaker every time a new Tenchu game comes out.
Sadly, the Tenchu series seems to be relegated to the same fate as the Chicago Cubs. We'll never see any solid improvements as long as we blindly give our money out. Maybe if we would boycott this game, the developers just might listen to the fans of the series next time. Not that I honestly expect that, though.
Does the Ninja Gaiden fan club have an opening?
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on April 26, 2013
I was looking for a stealth game and Splinter Cell Conviction came to mind first. It took about thirty minutes of thinking and I gave myself a kick and a slap for considering Splinter Cell first (mind you I have nothing against the series but the originals are more involved and that said Conviction is a great game too). The first time I bought this game (several years back) it was recommended by a friend we'll call him Lucius. He said I would love carrying a sword and jumping from a roof-top to surprise unsuspecting samurai. I said, "great what do I do first". He said buy the game Tenchu Z and realized he would have been a decent comedian.
So I played a couple of missions and took turns playing ninja and about a month later he comes back over and asks how I'm doing. I say, "almost beat every mission on the three difficulties (real surprise here: hard mode doesn't mean tougher enemy's it just means they can hear better and will see you if your not behind a wall of lead and maybe more health points)
I purchased this game for the umpteenth time and plan on making my silent assassin again. And I will never sell an excellent game again (I can dream I guess...goodbye Resident Evil 4...I still miss you) and, I'm back.

Basics for this game: Excellent stealth mechanics and graphic quality
Keeping track of enemy movements and locations is key
Not all missions are in the dark or night rather
The way to unlock items and moves is to acquire "set" gold amounts
Customizable Character: Mail and Female not to mention other "ninja" stuff as-well (yay)
Over 40 missions (50 total: 51 for technical people...forget you saw this)
and the perfect game for people who don't mind spending twenty minutes to an hour (first timers) on one mission

P.S.: the frame rate will (extremely rare) drop actually plummet instantly and freeze the screen (motion is rather fluid and hence why it may suddenly stop)

I most certainly would highly recommend this game to any one willing to invest a good time in this game for enjoyment and fun.
(shame this game was never continued)
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on November 1, 2015
it's good to have this old gem back in my collection. i sold the game, years ago, after getting all the achievements. But i was missing the game play, so i purchased this copy to fill that void :)
would recommend seller
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on October 13, 2015
The gameplay/mechanics feel wonderful. The combat is not button mashing, you have to actually think about your approach, target and what you are using. The story however is non-existant. YOu are sent to do missions, and that is literally it, plus the missions sometimes repeat so I only did those when I *HAD* to.
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on November 19, 2013
As a fan of the Tenchu series, I really loved the aspect of Tenchu Z that allowed me to create, well... ME. And my master was Rikimaru at that! Tenchu Z gives you the classic Tenchu gameplay, has good customization options available as well as a long mission tree. A must play for Tenchu fans, as well as ninja fans. It will also help the gamers out there that are lacking a good stealth game. Since stealth seems to be an endangered species in 2013. Thanks to run and gun Call of Duty games. Yeah, I said it.
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on July 8, 2012
i love this game. youir play ninja and have to asassinate diferent people in different levels, very fun, i realize someopoeple dont like the repetitiveness of it but i think it is a great realistic game. Im a practicing martial artist and like things related to the martial srts so this game was definitely for me. i hope they come out with another one very soon. i love the realisticness of this game, no dumb monsters, your get to kill people. haha. i wish they made a edition for the ps3 though.
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