Although the Tenchu ninja adventures have never set the British charts alight, Sega’s shadowy chop-’em-ups still remain popular in Japan and with Western gamers in the know. But while the series’ PSP debut does a fine job of transferring the stealthy slaughter to Sony’s handheld, the game’s beset by problems that undermine an otherwise excellent quest.
On the positive side, Time Of The Assassins looks and feels similar to recent PS2 instalments, with challenges that have been tightened and tweaked to make them perfect for quick bursts of action on the bus to work. Fans will also be delighted as an intuitive level editor is included on the UMD, allowing you to create your personalised playgrounds of death and share your creations by downloading them onto a memory stick. The game’s multiplayer modes will also delight Tenchu aficionados, allowing players to take part in bloody cooperative missions that are welcome relief from the lonely escapades of the main game.
Tragically, though, your vision in the game is limited to a few short steps, making it hard to spot enemies when you enter a new room and stopping you from performing the sneaky kills that Tenchu’s famous for. Limited control of the in-game camera also makes for toe-curlingly frustrating moments, especially when unseen enemies suddenly appear and chop your masked hero into bite-sized chunks.
Reviewed by David McComb