|Tenchu: Time of the Assassins|
|Designer(s)||Michiteru Okabe (director)|
|Release date(s)|| JP July 28, 2005|
EU July 23, 2006
|Rating(s)|| PEGI: 16+|
|Prev game (release)||Tenchu: Fatal Shadows|
|Next game (release)||Tenchu: Dark Secret|
The story arcs in Time of the Assassins the game's main story takes place two weeks after the events in Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven. Different characters' plots take place after the original Tenchu through Tenchu: Fatal Shadows. The opening cinematic shows Rikimaru, Ayame, Tesshu, and Rin slaying rival ninja in a bamboo forest. It shows all their different stealth kills on the ninja. Ayame appears again when Tatsumaru appears and challenges Ayame. Tesshu sits on a rock stares at the moon upon completing his mssion. Onikage appears fighting Rikimaru and the two charge for each other, right before the game's title appears and gets engulfed in flames.
Each character has their own story, which like previous games, follows the basic story-line (defending Lord Gohda and rescuing Princess Kiku) but with new twists. Whereas with Tesshu, his story is a prequel of his Wrath of Heaven appearance, and the player finds out how he was first employed by Zennosuke's Muzen group, an underground assasination bussiness. Rin has a similar story to Fatal Shadows, she finds a man fleeing from his burned down village, where he passes away and Rin promises to get revenge. Similiar to what happened to her village in Fatal Shadows. Players can play as Rikimaru, Ayame, Rin and Tesshu from the beginning, and Onikage's story can be unlocked upon the other four characters' story mode completion.
Unlike its predecessors, Time of the Assassins is not driven by a single linear plot, but is actually composed of short stories from the views of each of the characters (including Onikage). Each character has one video that plays as their story begins and one when their story ends. The characters each have their own reasons for embarking on the adventures depicted, yet they all eventually end up encountering Onikage.
The gameplay is similar to the previous Tenchu games developed by K2. Take control of a skilled ninja assassin and sneak your way through the levels, while eliminating any opposition along the way. The game has a similar control scheme to the last two Tenchu titles. The game is harder to play due to the player's field of vision being hampered by a black fog.
Playing multiplayer or custom missions now allows the player choose almost any character to play as from the entire Tenchu franchise thus far, but several people haven't been included as they may not be suitable for fighting against any opponent. Many characters who were killed off in past games still appear in this game (although some characters were undead or possessed anyway, or come back undead probably by the work of Onikage).
All previous skills, stealth styles and items return from previous games. When the player presses the attack button at the time Ayame stealth kills the enemy, the player will be rewarded with additional effects (pause, negative screen, flowers falling, X-ray of enemies neck breaking or stabbed) and higher stealth points. However, the game is hindered by a severely short draw distance of only a few meters making it very hard to see enemies who are right in front of the player.
The game revives the mission editor from Tenchu 2, now returning with even more features. Players can create their own Story Missions, or make custom multiplayer maps which the Versus and Co-op game modes can be played on. Players can save as many maps as they wanted provided they have enough memory stick space. Players can also share maps via memory stick or by uploading them to various fan sites.
One of the more prominent fansites named 'Tenchu Missions' hosts custom missions built for both the Japanese–Asian and European versions of the game. Anyone who has registered and logged in at the website can be able to either upload custom missions of their own to share with other members or download user created missions directly to their memory sticks.
The game also features two-player gameplay via Ad-hoc. Players can engage in versus and co-op modes, originally from Tenchu Wrath Of Heaven. Multi-player maps that have been created can be played, as well as some pre-made ones from K2 with various objectives.
The game was often criticized by the media and fans because of its poor draw distance. The draw distance was criticized because the player can only see small distances ahead of them, while the rest of the entire level is enshrouded in a black fog. This hinders players' ability to plan out attacks. The voice acting was also criticized in the EU version of the game, as voices do not match the characters' mouth movements in cutscenes.
Time of the Assassins • Dark Secret
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