The first thing to say about this game is: it is beautiful. I’ve not seen another game with such impressive, detailed, smoothly animated graphics in a long, long time. The animation, particularly with respect to back- and foregrounds is outstanding. Corn sways in the breeze, blossom falls from the trees… detailed and lovely.
The game itself isn’t quite so special, but is fun to play. The controls are a little unorthadox (and I’m playing on the classic controller, not the remote and nunchuk, so lord knows how that works) in that most attacks with your sword are pulled off by holding attack and pressing a direction. Unless you want a sweeping low blow, in which case you hold the direction and press attack. You do get used to it though, and you can perform some quite acrobatic aerial attacks – useful on the boss battles for certain!
Your swords (you swap between three) also all have a “secret art” special move, which varies from spin attacks to summons to vortex creation. These drain a soul bar when you use them, but (again) are handy on bosses.
Throughout the game you level up as you gain XP, and higher levels let you forge better swords. This seems great at first, but you soon realise that all the enemies seem to level up to match – so ninja that seem to have 100HP when you’re dishing out 20HP of damage per-blow later in the game seem to have 1000HP when you’re dealing 200HP a time. It makes it all seem a bit pointless.
Another slight complaint is that there is a lot of repetition. You fight the same baddies over and over and over and over, with little variation. Many of the areas you pass though are the same to look at as well, albeit perhaps differently lit or with different types of baddie.
In all though, it’s a lot of fun. I’ve completed it with the girl (Momohime) and I’ve started again with the boy (Kisuke) which will supposedly unlock a different ending once I’ve forged a new blade only possible when both stories are complete.