Mark of the Ninja makes it's Mark!
Have you ever wanted to have the power of a tank while hiding in the shadows. How about the ability to inflict terror on your enemies with relative ease. In the stealth, action game, Mark of the Ninja, you will be able to accomplish these things plus more.
Mark of the Ninja is a new game to come out on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The premise of Mark of the Ninja is very interesting and helps provide context for how you will play the game. In it, you play as a no-name ninja who must protect his clan from a militia of guys who want to stop the ways of the traditional ninja. You are able to overcome these bad guys because you have a special tattoo that gives you great abilities over the other ninjas. However, these great abilities come along with the greatest cost. You must give up your life for your ninja brothers before it causes you to go insane and see hallucinations.
All of this is what fuels the rest of the narrative along with providing some context as to how your ninja will play. The main focus of this game is to sneak around in the shadows in order to not be seen by the guards. You go around point to point trying to kill the militia while trying to make as little noise as possible and trying to not be seen. Sometimes you must take out lights and kill critters that make noise when you walk by them like rats. Because you have these special tattoos, you are able to stop time and plan out how you will throw darts and other items in order to break lights, district guards, or even to kill guards from a distance.
The way the game plays is not only simple, but very precise in how your character moves. You can run by holding the right trigger, however most of the time you will want to walk because walking makes no noise while running makes a lot of noise. You are able to see clearly what you are doing and how it will make an impact to how stealthy you are playing. Whenever there is a noise made, a blue circle comes off of the sound and shows where it was made. Along with this, a yellow circle is placed as to where the guards last saw you if you lost your stealth and made a big noise or appeared in their line of site. And the most streamlined feature of how they show your stealth is that in the dark, your ninja will be black while as soon as he goes into the light, you will be able to see the color of his outfit.
The main way that playing well is encouraged is how the game scores you for how you play. You get a certain amount of points for how you play stealthy, for example, you get 200 points when a guard walks by you without noticing you or 250 points if you hide a body of a guard you have killed. However, you lose 800 points if you are caught and the guards see you. But this carries little impact because you can easily go back the the previous checkpoint and have no penalties so when you are caught, you might as well let the guard kill you. You are also encouraged to search around and find hidden scrolls and try some secondary objectives because you get points which you can put into your ninja in order for him to play differently and become stronger. It also adds to replay-ability as you will want to complete these secondary objectives and get a higher score than your friends on the leaderboards.
Mark of the Ninja is an incredible game and one that is very fun to play. The story is really interesting and helps make context for your abilities. There is also a ton of different ways for you to play which encourages you to replay levels and try different tactics. Mark of the Ninja is a shining example of how stealth games, and downloadable games, should play.
Check out my blog with this review and more in the future!