Set in feudal Japan, Within the Blade is an action game where you use a combination of stealth and combat to take out your enemies. It looks pretty basic on the surface, but once you get into the game, you’ll find it has a lot of depth to it.
Within the Blade is a stealth-action game that lets you play as a ninja, who takes the role of a woman warrior on a mission to save her kidnapped brother from a dangerous clan of samurai. It’s a game that utilizes a unique perspective, fighting with just the sword and shuriken (ninja throwing stars), and a stealth mechanic that allows you to sneak through the enemy’s ranks, until when the time is right – you can strike from a distance with your shuriken.
Within the Blade is a very unique stealth game that has been made with stealth in mind. You play as the ninjas of an ancient clan, tasked with protecting the clan’s elders during a very important ceremony. The enemy ninjas also know this, and are sent to assassinate the elders.
Within the Blade has finally been published on all platforms, after its PC premiere in 2019, and here is our review of the PS5 version. Within the Blade is a contemporary stealth ninja game developed by Ametist Studio and released by Ratalaika Games. It appears vintage but is really a modern stealth ninja game beneath its retro shell. It also incorporates stealth gameplay, platforming, and some light RPG components, all of which combine to create a very unique experience. We utilize vegetation to hide and then spring out to chop down some bad guys and battle some very amazing bosses in our review of Within the Blade.
Within the Blade is set in 1560 A.D. in Japan, and you play as a Shinobi. You are a member of the Black Lotus clan, and since the entirety of Japan has been destroyed by a massive civil war, your primary goal in the game is to ensure the survival of your own clan. To do so, you must defeat the warlord of the evil Steel Claw clan, who has resorted to old forbidden practices and worshipping dark entities. There are some very amazing boss battles in Within the Blade, but the narrative isn’t something you’ll be paying attention to throughout your playthrough. The primary features of the game that stand out are its stealth and fighting.
Within the Blade features two distinct modes of play. It combines fighting with platforming, so you’ll be hopping around various platforming parts to get to the next level while you’re not slicing the heads off your opponents. The platforming portions aren’t very tough, but the clumsy platforming controls may make them a bit more difficult to finish. These portions mainly consist of you leaping about and combining your double jumps to reach various platforms. One of the things I found unexpectedly nice about the game is that it conceals a few items from you, so if you stray a bit off the beaten route, you’ll frequently discover something to gather, such as coins.
When it comes to fighting in Within the Blade, you have your sword, which has a basic three-hit combination. One thing I didn’t like about the game is that there is a little pause at the conclusion of the combination, leaving you susceptible to assaults if you miss the last strike. This was a deal-breaker for me since, for some reason, it prevents a smooth battle sequence, and if several opponents hit you at once, you are trapped in a post-attack animation where you are only susceptible to hostile assaults.
Aside from that, you can’t spin your sword while swinging it, so you can’t actually chain strikes in various directions. This is when you realize that Within the Blade isn’t truly a slash and hack game, but rather one that requires patience and attention to detail. The most of the time, you’ll be utilizing stealth to murder your opponents, since you can slip through grass and slice your victims’ necks, and sometimes, you’ll fall on them with a devastating strike that slashes them in two.
Within the Blade’s stealth kills are very rewarding. Because the opponent AI in the game is not dumb, there are a few techniques you must remember in order to get stealth kills. Within the Blade, despite its vintage appearance, is really a contemporary release, with opponent AI that will actively dodge and block your strikes. While I am not the most patient player around, stealth is not one of my strong suits. When I initially began playing the game, I had a hard time with this. The AI is very difficult to deal with, and if you continue to slash at them, they will block your assault and strike you back.
However, once I had played the game sufficiently and had a good understanding of the mechanics, I began to like it since it allows you to choose between stealth and head-on action. Both have their own set of difficulties, so whatever option you choose, the game encourages you to stay with it. The stealth kills are more difficult to get, but they are highly rewarding. Normal kills are simpler to handle, but you may find yourself surrounded by a huge number of opponents who will quickly dispatch you. The majority of the game’s routines may be accomplished if you’re patient and take your time.
To aid you in combat, you can craft various recipes which include various thrown weapons and different types of poison as well. Each of these deadly items is extra useful in fights and you can really use them to bring pain to your enemies. Poisons work in various ways so you have to use them accordingly. Similarly, different thrown weapons work in various ways as well. You take a lot of damage too in the game especially if you love head-on combat so, for that, you can craft various healing items for yourself that can be a life-changer when your life is low. This is because if you die and respawn, the game does not grant you a full health bar. You are just two hits away from your death after respawning so you will need some healing items to restore your health. For crafting items, you will need recipes and you can purchase recipes from a shady merchant in your village.
Your primary center is your community. In the game, you conduct different tasks in the safety of your town, such as managing your inventory and crafting various goods. There are a lot of people here, but you can only interact with a few of them, such as your dojo teacher or the merchant, who is perched high above a tree for some reason, making him a very suspect figure in the game, but he has the products and you have the currency, so it all works out. The RPG aspect of the game comes into play when your dojo master allows you to acquire new talents and techniques.
Due to the lack of a true character creation system in the game, you may create your own unique character by earning experience and then unlocking a large skill tree of new talents and abilities. To purchase these abilities, you’ll need experience points, which you may acquire by completing missions. The greater the amount of money and experience you get at the conclusion of a task, the better. At the conclusion of each level, the game provides a comprehensive report with your results. The game encourages you to improve your performance in order to get more experience. If you suffer too much damage and are too easily detected, you will lose all of your earned money and experience.
Within the Blade is an enjoyable and difficult game. If you really want to push yourself, it also has a perma-death mode. On my PS5, the game played well, although I should note that it did crash on me at times throughout my playing. Despite the fact that the crash was totally random, I was given the game crash screen once throughout my playing. Aside from that, I like the game’s boss battles and stealth elements. It’s nasty, but the vintage aesthetics let it get away with it. The menu controls are strange at first, but you’ll get used to them after a while. If you grow bored of the narrative, you may also put your skills to the test in 20 ninja challenges, which I was unable to finish.
The Bottom Line:
Within the Blade is a fantastic ninja game, however the fighting might be improved. It’s very gratifying in terms of stealth, and I liked the animations and how strangely satisfying it felt to get stealth kills in the game. Normal combat, on the other hand, isn’t as smooth as I’d want it to be, and here is where the game loses some points with me. The RPG elements are a nice touch that give the character some complexity, and the overall presentation of the game with its vintage graphics and ninja-themed music is fantastic. Overall, Within the Blade is a unique game that does a good job of mixing RPG with ninja-style gameplay. Within the Blade caters to a wide variety of gamers, so if you like stealth, action, side-scrolling, platforming, and difficult games, this is the game for you.
7.5/10 for the overall performance.
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