Saturday, May 14, 2011

What Ninja Gaiden 3 must accomplish to succeed


Back at last year's Tokyo Game Show, Ninja Gaiden 3 was unveiled to the world. This gore-infused hack and die simulator is well known for both its astonishingly brutal difficulty and its lack of Tomonobu Itagaki, the famed creator of the 3D titles of the series who turned down working on Ninja Gaiden 3 with Team Ninja to join a new studio. With Itagaki gone, one might wonder how the third iteration will play without its lead and original team. I'd like to present the details needed to make this game work, knowing that there is no room for error here.

Seriously, any mistakes and that dude will destroy me.

Ninja Gaiden is the bread and butter of violent gaming. It's the model action game that's so fluid to control that it makes your excuses for dying that much harder to swallow (when in doubt, you can blame that damned Black Spider Clan). Anyway, Ninja Gaiden was the original answer to Sony's God of War franchise. Since then it has become a multiplatform accomplishment with several re-releases that have been ranged from terrific to a bit questionable (no blood in the PS3's Sigma 2). That's why we're focusing on what Team Ninja needs to do with Ninja Gaiden 3 - because the last thing anybody needs is another excuse to demolish their fourth controller by hurling it against the wall in frustration; we want this game sparkling with the blood of a thousand disemboweled corpses (of course)!




Trailer synopsis: Blood is plentiful.



Course 1: Weapons

Team Ninja has been no slouch with the weapons of Ninja Gaiden in the past. Each title sings a song of dismemberment in a simultaneous symphony of pain and euphoria. There's not too much I expect to see in the new game since all the old weapons should return because of their incredibility (don't judge me), but... well, we could still always use a few more.

The wooden sword should make a comeback. Also, perhaps there could be some type of enhancement to your weapon for a short period when you switch to it. That's right, quick switch and swoosh. It makes sense, trust me.




That bit about needing to switch weapons quickly and effectively, it sure makes sense now doesn't it?


Course 2: Story

Ninja Gaiden isn't exactly the go-to series for narrative gaming. Sure, it's compelling and all, what with the whole "Ryu is a ghost, but wait now he wants to save stuff, no he's actually just killing dudes now" motif, but it doesn't need to stretch beyond that. Team Ninja has revealed they intend to make Ryu a bit more human with the story, but I beg them not to take it down the master thespian route. The last thing I need to see is a crying ninja who just killed a skyscraper. I'm fairly sure they have several hundred movies like that out there.


Course 3: Bosses

End level fights should be hard, they should be brutal, they should be challenging. You can bet Ninja Gaiden 3's fights will employ all of these things, but what we don't need is cheese.

The original Ninja Gaiden had challenging fights, but it didn't get really "cheap" unless you put it on Master Ninja difficulty. Ninja Gaiden 2, however, sported several fights that were beyond frustrating. Maybe you never played it, but the fight where you have to kill multiple molten, nuclear armadillos sucks. Especially since when you kill them, they explode, effectively one-shotting you if you can't get across the entire screen in time. NO MORE OF THIS!




Just pretend it's a million times bigger and on fire. Can't you see it?


Course 4: Multiplayer

Normally in a game of this caliber, I resent its focus on a multiplayer component, but it's already been announced so let's just go with it. If there is going to be co-op, then please don't let it be anything "Horde" based. If you aren't familiar with the terminology, "Horde" refers to the Gears of War 2 mode that's been popularized by contemporary gaming. It refers to a setup in which multiple players see how long they can last against myriad waves of enemies by working cohesively as a team. While floating around in a sea of enemy body parts does sound enticing, I think Team Ninja should set its sights on a more cooperative experience - an actual stage to navigate together, or maybe some unique, new types of challenges.

I'm actually against going through the campaign with another person. Ryu doesn't need anyone else. If anything, pull a Pandora Tomorrow and give us two weirdo nobody ninjas who have to do crazy stuff. Hey, I'm not the developers.


Course 5: Enemies

We'll finish things off with the defining aspects of Gaiden: the dudes you kill. Ninja Gaiden has always been over the top. Destroying things in unimaginable ways is awesome, but sometimes destroying unimaginable things... it's weird. So, Team Ninja, let's stick with your crazy, zany designs, but maybe this time we have a little less dinosaur ninja mechs running about. Yes?




Seriously. I hate them.
There still is no release date set for Ninja Gaiden 3, but you can be assured that when that time comes we'll notify the world through our sister site, SystemLink.me. Until then, enjoy this masterpiece and give us your thoughts on what should be the focus of the next game in the comments section below.

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