The Best Ninja Games to Play on Xbox
The Best Ninja Games to Play on Xbox image 1

While PlayStation gamers have enjoyed the breathtakingly beautiful Ghost of Tsushima and are looking forward to Rise of the Ronin in 2024, what about Xbox gamers? As well as all the excellent fighting games on Xbox, there are plenty of ninja and samurai titles worth checking out, and knowing where to start is half the battle. We’ve rounded up the top eight Xbox Ninja games to play this year.

1. Aragami: Shadow Edition

The back of Aragami as he sits facing a screen adorned with panthers.

This special edition includes the original Aragami along with Nightfall, a prequel story campaign to the first game, plus tons of extra content. Available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, Aragami is a third-person stealth adventure set in the occupied city of Kyuryu. The game’s cell-shaded graphics and colorful, distinctive art style immediately immerse you.

You play as Aragami, a spirit set on vengeance. Able to control shadows, your mission is to free Yamiko, a captive princess held in the city’s fortress. You’ll need to use your supernatural powers to control shadows and fight light, teleporting between shadows and staying hidden from the enemy. Like all the best classic ninja games, the focus is patience, strategic thinking, and stealth, assassinating enemies quietly from the shadows and avoiding detection. Not a fan of stealth? The game lets you choose your playstyle, with multiple ways to complete each scenario.

You can play alone or in online co-op mode with your friends.

2. Aragami 2

Aragami looks out over a city at night with a pagoda visible in the distance.

Though you don’t need to have played the first Aragami to enjoy the sequel, fans of the original game will find much to love here. You’re once again one of the last of the Aragami, an assassin who can control shadows. Set 100 years after the first game, Aragami 2 retains some aspects of its prequel but plays very differently. This time around, certain abilities are swapped for new ones, though some make a return, creating a sense of familiarity and excitement. A new level system lets you unlock abilities, and light from torches and lanterns doesn’t drain Shadow Essence.

The cell-shaded graphics and art style make a welcome return in Aragami 2, with visual enhancements and upgrades plus stealth that’s a cut above the original game. You can again choose your play style, from eliminating enemies with a one-hit kill to fleeing and living to fight another day.

A solid entry in the ninja genre, Aragami 2 is a must for fans of third-person stealth games and those who enjoy cell-shaded graphics. It’s available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S and offers single-player and online multiplayer mode, so you can game with friends.

3. Ninja Gaiden Black

Taking on monsters in Ninja Gaiden Black.

For those who prefer their ninja games with more action than stealth, there’s Ninja Gaiden Black. Yes, it was released in 2005, making it the oldest game on our list, but it’s been optimized for Xbox Series X/S, and you can play it on your Xbox One, too — and you definitely should!

Some game reviewers go so far as to say Ninja Gaiden Black is the best action game of all time — and it’s a contender for the best ninja action game out there. In this hack-and-slash adventure game, you play as master ninja Ryu Hayabusa. You must avenge the death of your clan while recovering a sword stolen during the attack. Brilliant combat that allows you to use Ryu’s Ultimate Techniques in battle and a relentless AI that makes battling multiple ferocious enemies at once a real challenge, even for experienced gamers, combine to ensure an unforgettable experience playing Ninja Gaiden Black.

Don’t forget that this game is almost two decades old. While the combat may have aged well, some other aspects, like the clunky menus, tricky navigation, and shallow story, aren’t so great. If you can ignore those things, the combat in the game more than makes up for all of that.

4. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Wolf traverses the roof of a building in Sengoku-era Japan with trees covered in orange Fall leaves in the distance in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

One of the team’s favorite Xbox ninja games ever has to be Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and if you’re looking for the Xbox equivalent of Ghost of Tsushima, this is it. Available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, this action-adventure game sees you take on the role of Wolf, a shinobi who’s bodyguard to a young lord in Sengoku-era Japan. At the start of the game, the lord is kidnapped and Wolf’s arm is cut off by Genichiro Ashina, a powerful samurai. You’re not without your arm for long, though, as it’s quickly replaced by a Shinobi Prosthetic that allows you to equip various tools, including a shuriken for ranged combat or a grappling hook to help you navigate your environment. The ability to customize Wolf’s prosthetic to suit individual playstyle and various encounters means the game appeals to many players.

Your mission? Rescue the kidnapped lord, get revenge on those who betrayed you, and discover what mysteries lurk in your past. Your choices influence the narrative, and while you’ll often find yourself engaged in brutal combat, stealth is key here, too. Use your ninja skills to assassinate enemies from the shadows and go undetected while traversing rooftops and navigating to your destination.

Speaking of combat, there are skills involved in landing a killing blow, with the Wolf required to break an enemy’s posture with perfectly timed attacks and dodges. There are plenty of challenging boss battles, too, requiring you to learn a boss’s moves and adapt your strategy to take them down.

The gorgeous open-world environment of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is packed with characters to meet and rich lore to discover, and all-in the game should take an average of around 30 hours to beat.

5. Mark of the Ninja Remastered

Sneaking around at night in Mark of the Ninja Remastered.

Mark of the Ninja Remastered is a classic ninja game requiring silent, agile stealth and clever wit. The original 2012 game has been updated for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, with a full audio remaster and Special Edition content like the Dosan’s Tale DLC.

Mark of the Ninja’s unique 2D visual style features gorgeous side-scrolling hand-painted environments and animation. You play as a ninja from the Hisomu clan and must defend your people from a mysterious force. You’re cursed with the Mark of the Ninja, which enhances your abilities and senses but slowly threatens to drive you insane as time goes on.

There’s a deep story here involving a conspiracy, the true nature of the mark you bear, and the consequences you’ll face for wielding these powers. You begin the game with access to all the classic ninja tools, from a grappling hook for traversing the map to smoke bombs, a katana for stealth takedowns, and darts. It’s up to you to combine these tools creatively to take out enemies silently and overcome obstacles. Dangle from ceilings, create distractions and use ventilation ducts and shadows to navigate your environment without detection. The silent takedowns are particularly satisfying.

The choices you make and actions you take in Mark of the Ninja influence how the story progresses, and there’s a choice of ending in the final scenes, offering some replay potential. Fans of classic ninja games will love this one.

6. The Messenger

A colorful scene from action platformer The Messenger.

The Messenger starts as a classic action platformer, but time travel has a role to play. You’re a ninja traveling through a cursed world, and you set out on your adventure as a demon army attacks your village. As the Western Hero arrives to dispel the demons, he entrusts you with a mysterious scroll that you must deliver to the top of a mountain to ensure the survival of your clan.

As you defeat enemies and complete levels, you’ll earn Time Shards, which allow you to purchase abilities and upgrades. The game starts off with 8-bit graphics, but as you travel through time, it progresses to 16-bit before turning into a Metroid-vania-style adventure where you revisit previous levels to collect items key to your mission.

The game’s lead designer and programmer cited Ninja Gaiden as one of the primary inspirations behind The Messenger, and with the game’s classic ninja moves, it’s easy to see the influence. Witty dialogue, humor, and plenty of surprises help The Messenger stand out, while its original chiptune score and fun art style ensure it’s a must-play title for fans of ninja games. It’s available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S and is on sale at the time of writing.

7. Ghostrunner

Wielding your katana in Ghostrunner.

Hardcore FPP slasher Ghostrunner is set in a cyberpunk world packed with neon signs and skyscrapers. You play as Jack the Ghostrunner, who must climb Dharma Tower, where humanity shelters after the cataclysm known only as The Burst. There’s a deeply intricate narrative here, but, in brief, you awake with your memory erased and orders to free the Architect, the one who ruled Dharma Tower and designed the Ghostrunners, superhumans tasked with keeping the peace. Keymaster Mara, who betrayed the Architect, now rules with an iron fist, and it’s up to you to confront her and take her out before humanity faces extinction.

The game’s combat is fast-paced and intense, with one-hit, one-kill mechanics. Your monomolecular katana lets you slice and dice enemies precisely, while your superhuman reflexes make dodging incoming attacks a breeze. Jack’s Sensory Boost also lets him slow down the time to deflect and dodge bullets while in mid-air.

With its thrilling combat, rich narrative, and vibrant cyberpunk world to explore, it’s easy to see why Metacritic scored Ghostrunner a generous 76/100 on Xbox. It’s available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

8. Trek to Yomi

Two swordsmen face off in a black and white scene inspired by classic Samurai films in Trek to Yomi.

With its black-and-white aesthetic, Trek to Yomi is inspired by classic Samurai films, boasting a unique, striking art style and selective accents of color. It’s an immersive experience that draws you into life in feudal Japan almost instantly.

You play as Hiroki, a young swordsman who sets out for vengeance after bandits’ enemies burn his village to the ground during his childhood. As an adult, Hiroki enters Yomi, the underworld, which he must fight through to protect his town and those he loves.

Moving, enthralling, and beautiful, with slick, stylish combat and cinematic camera angles, Trek to Yomi is something truly unique. It’s a game you won’t want to finish, and when you do, you’ll wish you could play it again for the first time. It’s available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Whether you prefer to play full-on stealth ninja games or take on the role of a samurai, there’s something on this list for everyone. Which Xbox Ninja game will you play first? While you’re here, why not check out our roundup of the top survival games to play on Xbox? Or, for something scarier, we’ve picked some of the top horror games you might want to play with the lights on.

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