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RANT: Ninja Gaiden 3 On Notice....

I loved Ninja Gaiden 1, in fact it was the only reason I bought an original XBox. Never before had I played an action game so fluid and so deep. Granted it was also flawed in many ways, but at it's core it was perfection. I have dutifully followed the series, through Black, Sigma,2, Sigma 2, and now I am presented with the early footage of Ninja Gaiden 3, and I can't help but feel very, very pessimistic.

Why do I get the feeling somewhere Itagaki is looking on and laughing....


I have seen the E3 footage, and watched some developer commentaries, and man oh man, I am worried. It seems the Japanese love to come up with these big ideas for gameplay that will be pushed as a theme throughout their games. In theory it's an amazing concept and can really help add a gameplay undercurrent to a story. So now it seems Ninja Gaiden 3 wants to make Ryu into a sort of Japanese dark hero. Hang on a tick. Isn't he already that?

Really what more needs to be said about this guy? Do the Japanese not realize they are sitting on one of the coolest ninja (not very ninja) characters around? I think by trying to flesh him out more you're kind of "showing the monster too much". As far as I'm concerned not all games need amzingly fleshed out characters, and while Ninja Gaiden has always had some hokey plot, I never for a second thought less of Ryu as a character for the story. In fact I think he's a lot more awesome than say a Marcus Phoenix, or Nico Belic, who have much more story thrown around them to help spotlight how 2 dimensional they really are. Ryu is a character defined by his actions, and awesome. TECMO you have a good thing, don't mess it up! But wait....

So now RYU has a cursed arm? Now I know this isn't the first time he's gotten cursed, but c'mon Japan. Stop just defaulting to curses for everything. It's old. Why can't he just be a badass? Why does he have to now have some reasoning behind his magic etc. No one complained about Ryu not being cursed. Next up they are pushing a core theme of "steel cutting through flesh and bone". They want you to feel like you are cutting each enemy down personally. Cool. Guess what? I felt like that in NG 1. Ever hear of overfocusing on the obvious? It would be like COD saying "we are basing this next game around the theme of the player aiming at a target." C'mon guys, quit jerking around. Now let's say that they are truly trying to capture that feeling. Then why on EARTH is there no dismemberment in the demo?!? a BIG part of cutting through bone is amputation. Something that NG2 focused (too heavily) on. So the theme of NG3 is the theme of NG2 but done incorrectly? What brought this on TECMO? Did you look at what games sell in the west? Did you see the close up kill cams of Gears? The QTE murders in God of War? DO YOU THINK THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE WANT OUT OF NINJA GAIDEN?!?


Not cool.


Don't you see? You are trying to make a Japanese Dark hero, by imitating shit you've seen in non japanese games. You're not going to make a better "western" game, and you're not going to make a good japanese game, if you keep compromising all over the place. What are you making? I heard you say you want to remove other weapons besides the katana....and at the same time, you rely on QTE to kill enemies. How repetative are you going for in this game? NG was a revelation in that each enemy you took on had a right way and a wrong way of dealing with them, and then everything in between. They average player could scrape by with the everything in between, but the best could master the right way. It was free form, it flowed, the pauses were your own, and each move was dished out and portioned by the player. They strayed from that in NG2 with the over reliance on Obliteration Techniques, and part 3 looks to go even further in the wrong direction by stopping everything all together for a QTE! NO TECMO NO!

I can't stand watching these Ninja Gaiden sequels being made. It hurts my soul. Pound for pound NG surpasses everything in it's catagory for action game combat, yet they continually try and destroy the game. It's like faces of meth for a game character. I just hope TECMO can realize the great wealth they are sitting on before they trade it all away for a smallpox blankets.

I'll end with 2 gamplay videos. First up the new NG demo level (which I believe is the first level of the game), and the first level from NG Sigma. Notice how hack and slashy and flat NG3 is compared to the movement needed in the first game....









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