End of the Muromachi period - the late 16th century: The power of the Ashikaga government is on the decline after the Ōnin/Bunmei civil war. Civil unrest is on the rise and conflict rocks province after province. Even Utakata, long peacefully ruled by the House of Ichijo, is now threatened. It was thought that the combined protection of the House of Ichijo and the Asuka Clan would preserve the peace in Utakata. But this time of peace came to an end when the Asuka ninja clan was destroyed in a single night.
The provincial lords, who had been watching and waiting for an opportunity to strike at Utakata, wasted no time in making their moves. And they were accompanied by rival ninja clans hoping to take the place of the Asuka Ninja. Besieged by rival governments and ninja clans, Utakata stands on the brink of war...
The players take the role of Goh the Crow, an amnesiac ninja and the sole known survivor of the Asuka Clan, which was exterminated the night before. With no one to trust but the letters of a mysterious "bystander", and three warlords vying for his loyalty, Goh must decide how should he act, how should he use the warlords and what should be his goals in the war-torn land of Utakata. Things will become increasingly difficult however as rival ninja clans descend to Utakata, and an enigmatic one-eyed ninja comes hunting for his blood...
See Storyline (Shinobido: Way of the Ninja) for more details.
- Goh the Crow, the protagonist and playable character. Goh has no memories of his past, his name is widely known throughout Utakata, with many enemies from his previous life. Goh's purpose is to find mystic stones containing his soul and memories and to uncover the truth behind the destruction of the Asuka ninja.
- Kinu the Canary, a mysterious, young kunoichi clad in red clothing with a cloud-shaped tattoo whom Goh will encounter during his missions. Kinu may or may not be a surviving member of the Asuka ninja
- Zaji the Hawk, a one-eyed ninja who fights using Asuka-style and armour. Although Zaji does not speak, he appears extremely hostile toward Goh, he was involved in the destruction of Asuka Village.
- Onji, a mysterious benefactor and Goh's first ally, he regularly sends advice and information in the form of arrow messages. Onji is aware of Goh's every move despite his lack of physical presence.
- The House of Ichijo, alongside the Asuka ninja, has maintained peace and order throughout Utakata for generations. Although the Asuka did not directly serve the Ichijo Family, the two parties had a long-held alliance designed to benefit and safeguard the people of the region. Lead by the peaceful but weak-willed Nobuteru Ichijo, many neighbouring leaders and powerful social figures have long despised Ichijo as a weak and cowardly. Now, without the presence of the Asuka ninja, these leaders have decided to claim Utakata for themselves. According to Onji, Goh and Ichijo were once very close, almost as father and son, and Ichijo intends to continue this relationship, although Goh's allegiance may now lie elsewhere.
- The House of Akame, led by Kagetora Akame, a former samurai and ruler of the Fudo Province, which borders Utakata. Kagetora has gained a fearsome reputation for his short temper and violent nature, known to swiftly execute those who fail or betray him. Having amassed vast wealth through dealings with China, the Akame Clan is the richest, largest, and most well-equipped faction of the three. Believing Utakata to be the first step towards conquering Japan, Akame has wasted no time in mobilising his armies for a military offensive against the House of Ichijo. Although distrustful of Goh, Akame recognises the advantage an Asuka ninja would afford him during the invasion of Utakata and attempts to recruit Goh's services, offering vast wealth and power beyond imagination should he choose to accept.
- The Amurita Faith, led by the charismatic Sadame, a cult leader with widespread support amongst the peasant and merchant classes who supply Amurita coffers with financial and material donations. Sadame was born the daughter of a farmer, which is why the peasants of Utakata have become smitten with her teachings and rhetoric, offering resources, and their services en masse, to support the Amurita Faith. Those followers who choose to stray from the divine Amurita's teachings or opt to hold back on donations are swiftly and sternly punished. Envious of the protection afforded to Ichijo by Goh and the Asuka ninja, Sadame is well aware of Goh's reputation believing Ichijo to be weak and unworthy of the ninjas' services. She asks that Goh serve her in the same manner, so that she may prove to him that she is a leader worthy of his trust.
|Game Content||Game Features||Main Articles|
|Missions||Stealth||Shinobido: Takumi Expansion|
|Items||Combat||English voice cast|
|Characters||Construction Mode||Games in the series|
|Arrow messages||Theater mode||Secrets|
After the Tenchu series was lost to rival Japanese developer, FROMSOFTWARE, AQUIRE began development on a new series with similar style and gameplay values in an effort to retain its stealth/ninja genre fan base. ACQUIRE apologized on its official website that, due to circumstances beyond their control, there was no planned North American release.
AQUIRE also developed Shinobido: Tales of the Ninja on the PlayStation Portable, a side story or "gaiden" title in the series. And of 2011 ACQUIRE developed a sequel on the PlayStation Vita: Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen.
The game received mixed and mostly average reviews, with an average score of 59 from Metacritic. Critics and reviewers criticised the game's awkward control system, which would at times cause the player to accidentally alert the enemy of his/her presence when attempting a sneak-attack or stealth kill, and also the lack of variety between missions. On the other hand, critics praised the unique story, ragdoll physics and open-ended system which allowed players to choose their allegiance and style of mission, be it stealth or all-out attack. The English language voice acting is described by Boomtown's reviewer as "patchy", adding that "some of it works, most of it doesn’t".