Team Ninja's latest release is quite uncharacteristic: they've always been interested in pushing the capabilities of the hardware they work on, but this usually manifests as high-end graphics on high-end consoles. For the newest Ninja Gaiden game, they strayed from this tactic and made an original DS game instead. It still aims to innovate with the use of stylus controls for fast action.
Did the experiment work? Is an action game on the DS possible? Is Dragon Sword a Ninja Dog or a Master Ninja? The reviews are very positive, though there is a near universal disappointment at the game's length and difficulty.
Electronic Gaming Monthly -- 86% (A-): Shane Bettenhausen offers praise of the control scheme, basically: "Sure, these fluid controls feel awfully forgiving, but that's cool by me -- with little effort, you'll feel like an agile, ass-kicking superninja."
IGN -- 86%: IGN's Craig Harris may not see the controls as a permanent replacement, but at least finds them fun: "Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword kicks a whole lot of butt on the Nintendo DS. Visually, the game's a stunner, and the action is intense and almost non-stop. I don't think the game makes the ultimate case for touch-screen exclusive control in action games, and I certainly don't think stylus control is better than traditional control for the Ninja Gaiden design. But what Team Ninja created for the Nintendo DS definitely works in turning something traditional into something different and unique without forgetting about the fun, too."
Nintendo Power -- 85%: Nintendo's official magazine echoes the length issue, but approves of the game itself: "At approximately five hours, Dragon Sword is a bit on the short side, but I have a tough time complaining when those five hours are so tight and extremely polished." [Excerpt found at Metacritic]