Friday, January 28, 2011

Knowing What You Got / Ninja Gaiden 3

Based on this IGN article about Ninja Gaiden 3.

I think video game “journalists” (aka Hack Writers that couldn’t get a real job) have to pretend everything is positive and only gently lay down sparse criticism after numerous reassurances that nothing bad exists in this world. So let’s be blunt. Ninja Gaiden didn’t have a story. If you really want to call what was there a story, then it was an exceedingly poor one. Nothing was connected to anything else. Even singular characters or events were cobbled together and didn’t seem coherent. The villain is the archetype Leader (Emperor) but also a monster because… monsters are bad. The Nunchuck dude from the beginning has easy access to the Dragon Sword but doesn’t take it even though he could kill the Emperor with it, thus negating the reason of sending Ryu out to kill him. It just seems dumb to even point out plot holes as the story doesn’t relate or connect to itself. It’s all a hole.

And now they want to make an “emotional” story. F.Y.I., “emotional story” is a buzzword that doesn’t mean anything. No really. What they mean is they want a story that players feel what they them to feel, when they want them to feel it. Good Luck. Only a few games in the entire spectrum of all gaming have done it. You want to go from Japanese Nonsense to Oscar? Good Luck. What you’re going to get is cliché, which is actually a step-up, far as technique in storytelling, from what NG has been. I guarantee that Ryu will have to sacrifice what he loves, lose hope, rescue Ayane, and overcome his own doubts to defeat the final evil.

Which is a shame but because unless they’re actually going to tell a new story, or tell an old one really fucking well, stick to the nonsense. It was fun. Playing NG with friends and dubbing the cutscenes yourselves was pretty enjoyable. It made up for how god damn hard the rest of the game was. The cutscenes were a release and could be a counted on source of fun within the game. It’s one reason why Devil May Cry is a better game. ALL the cinematics are purely fun. Just an excuse for Dante to demonstrate how awesome he is. He gets you pumped to keep playing.

Promising a new story for a game is worthless. Everyone promises a new (“emotional”) story. All it means is that if it’s a bullet point on the back of the box than the game has shit else going for it.

Here’s how I’m interpreting the new combat system that “makes you earn your kills”. 1) It’ll be slower. Like Assassin’s Creed. Those kills don’t feel any different to me than the ones where I’m 25 feet away before he head flies off and blood fountains out. Actually I like the latter ones. I sympathize with the poor bastard that trained so hard and I ran right by him like he didn’t matter. Or the demons that get every limp cut off. I really feel bad for those guys. They got a bad deal. 2) Exact timing for button presses, or like the IGN guy says, Quick-Time Events. They’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or how many buttons. That doesn’t make me feel I earned anything. I mean, the game that I think of right off the top of my head as far as making me feel especially good about killing something, is Ninja Gaiden 2. Because it was so fucking hard. You die once to one of those catgirl demons, you savor every subsequent murder you do on them from then on. Because they held you up for 2 hours, unable to progress. They made you look dumb. So cutting off their head as an afterthought to running along a wall makes you feel really good.

Ninja Gaiden was great to play. Why they are going to screw with a great combat system is beyond me.

The problem with Ninja Gaiden was the difficulty. Yeah, it was way too hard. But way too hard in a “this isn’t any god damn fucking fair” way. I could go up against Spider Clan Ninjas ALL DAY. ALL DAY. They were always fun to fight. Always made you feel like a Ninja when you killed one. Shit that wasn’t fun? Boss fights against tanks with armies of guys with rocket launchers. Can’t even fucking stand up. Or, after 6 hours in, having a boss that can only be killed by using the bow. The weapon NOBODY used because it was a pain in the ass to aim. Or robots that ignore the fact you’re slashing the shit out of them and punch you away, taking 95% of your health (1million souls for an herb! Just so you want to kill yourself in real life whenever you take damage) and knocking you away. Oh fun, we’re just hitting each other with no real interaction. Or the times when a horde of demons appears after a boss fight but before the save. If they let me save I would happily fight them. I loved how fast and brutal Ninja Gaiden was. That’s what made it. Just throw in more save points and take out obnoxious assholes that aren’t fun to fight. But then you’d get Devil May Cry or God of War… Really though, isn’t the reason you’re so proud of liking the game, finishing it, is because it was so hard? What niche is NG3 going to carve between stylish action and brutal action? Realistic? = Boring. DMC was considered a NG clone that was actually playable. If NG becomes easy then becomes not NG. Hey maybe it could be Dead Or Alive but a 3rd person action game! Essentially all 3rd person action games want to be fighting games but against lots of opponents with more emphasis on movement. This is why you should like DMC, it’s already really good. And the story is ridiculous but coherent.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are missing the emotional story meaning. Emotional story has been done before in games. Half Life 2, Homefront, Metal Gear Solid 4.

    Also Ninja Gaiden 1 did not have bad plot holes, everything was all connected and Murai's doing.
    He called for Ryu to begin training at his Shadow Clan sect knowing that Doku and men would come for the Dark Dragon Blade leaving Hayabusa village helpless. He knew Ryu would obviously go for revenge and the more Ryu kills for vengeance the stronger the Dark Dragon Blade grows.

    I think the problem we have here is use understanding concept of storylines in games:/

    -"I guarantee that Ryu will have to sacrifice what he loves, lose hope, rescue Ayane, and overcome his own doubts to defeat the final evil. "-
    That is single minded thinking and negative thoughts. No NG3 story would only focus on Ryu life and personality. Also he is damaged by way of the ninja "ninja killing ninja" and you can see he is damaged by killing and also turning evil.

    And DMC being better than NG is debatable and to each his own opinion.

    and I suggest you try the better game Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on PS3.