Since you're a ninja, these missions usually involve killing one or more people without being seen.
The game is played from a third person perspective with a free roaming camera, similar to the Splinter Cell series. Using a variety of tools and techniques, you travel around a level usually some feudal village or forest until you reach your destination, taking out guards along the way. To aid in keeping stealthy there is the distance meter, the Ki meter, and the light meter. The distance meter specifies how far away the closest enemy is. The Ki meter indicates their knowledge of your presence (unaware, cautious, aware). And the light meter shows how "visible" you are to the enemies when trying to sneak on them.
The Tenchu series is known for its flashy kills and Tenchu Z is no different adding even more animations and specials. When attacking an enemy that is unaware of your presence your character will perform a special kill animation that can be quite brutal.
Tenchu Z is the first game in the series to have a strong multiplayer component. Up to four players can join together on Xbox Live and take on any of the game's 50 missions in cooperative play. A competitive aspect to the multiplayer remains with the player that peforms the best in a particular level receiving more rewards. Rewards come in the form of items, and money, which can be used to purchase new abilities, customization options, and items such as weapons.
In Japan the game is known as Tenchu Senran.