Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven
Genre Action -> Platform
Today's Rank 0
Homepage N/A
Date N/A
Publisher N/A
Date 2003-03-07
Publisher Activision
North America Retail Box ArtUnited Kingdom Retail Box ArtTenchu: Wrath of Heaven is the third in the successful mission-based stealth series that first appeared on the PlayStation in 1998; few changes have been made to the basic format. Players can once again choose to be either Rikimaru, the silent, sword-wielding assassin, or Ayama, the acrobatic younger ninja. Both characters pass through the same game world, but each has slightly different goals that take them on different routes. A third character can be unlocked later on. During the first mission you're required to choose a number of weapons to aid you in your immediate tasks. Throughout the game more and more weapons, from melée to ranged weapons, are added to your arsenal depending on your performance during each level; your chosen weapons dictate how you approach the mission goals. The silent approach is encouraged and there's a variety of graphically satisfying stealth kills that will only work if you remain elusive and strike unexpectedly and silently. Aside from the stealth kills, graphically the game is a mixed bag. Light shimmers off your sword menacingly, but the environments are textureless and repetitive and the game fails to maximise on differences between light and dark areas to add to the experience. Also, the stealth dynamic is made less challenging by the shortsightedness and slow reactions of the enemy guards and the iffy AI: guards will give up searching for you within seconds and are unable to follow you through doors. This turns a potentially atmospheric and tactical stealth game into a hack-and-slash arcade romp. Multi-player options are included though, so if you feel the need for a more realistic opponent you may want to call a friend. Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven remains an enjoyable experience despite the flaws. While being pretty basic, it remains challenging; numerous set pieces manage to paper over some of the weaknesses. It's just a shame that after doing so much to establish and define the stealth-game genre this fails to raise the bar or introduce any novel elements. It feels more like an update of the first game, and while this is no bad thing, fans will probably be expecting more; gamers new to the series may be less forgiving towards it. --Chris Ryan

- ESRB Rating: Mature (17 and older)
- Genre: Fighting
- Mission: Live by Honor. Kill by stealth
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