The design has decided to go for a very story focused power run through the plot. You are constantly being driven forward and In a way this gets very tedious. There is no exploration and places where once I would have tried to climb or run around in, I am just running through.
The hunt for items is also gone, this really was something that appealed to me in the original. I was always looking around and was happy to find a new toy or power-up. Here its just story and forward drive. This gets tiresome as there seems pretty limited reason to look around. Just forward. Also I am not really powering up or getting new combos. I run into the same enemies from the start of the game and they are just as hard as they were. I feel like I should be shearing through these twerps but I don't. This makes combats more of a drag than actual fun. I never feel powerful.
I think the biggest let down comes when you do try to explore a level and find there are invisible walls. This was never something Ninja Gaiden used. You could at least explore an area after you cleared it. In the jungle section of the game I floated into a communication tower then dealt with the ground forces. Afterwards I find and invisible prison preventing me form checking certain spots. This feel lame as hell.
Digging into the combat a bit again I am disappointed. It uses a mechanic of after the scene refill of health. This is sort of like ducking behind a wall to regain health in a FPS. I have always disliked this. Here its seems even goofier as you can barely scrap through a second of a boss battle and quickly die in the next second and you come back full health in that second section after you die or you heal up in little cinematic running bits. This feels very cheap compared to the awesome battles in Ninja Gaiden. Even in that game when you did kick ass without much challenge you felt like you were in the zone not the game allowing you to kick ass.