I'm one of those types of gamers who likes to stick up for the artistic merits of computer games in random internet forums. Blogging comes naturally to me, which is why I now have a big chunky catalogue of TL:DR blog posts about why Braid is the best game ever made and why anyone who doesn't enjoy GTA4 has no soul.
BE THAT AS IT MAYI decided to play some Ninja Gaiden 2 recently. Ninja Gaiden 2 received high review scores and was welcomed by the gaming community with open arms. It was for this reason I decided to purchase my first ever 3D combo-oriented fighting game for my 360 and start mashing the fuck out of my X and Y buttons.
Now, when the game is in full flow, it looks stunning. It's a blur of flashing lights and sharp objects which are repeatedly put to graphic use. I played for over 6 hours and I still have no idea what the fuck is going on. If there was some sort of tutorial then it was lost on me. My strategy of blindly pressing X and Y as quickly as possible seemed to randomly succeed and fail at each fight I was thrust into - meaning my progression was rather jolting. There was no-one to teach me strategies, effective combos or weapons for each unique enemy type. The game gave me fuck all advice and then still punished me brutally for any mistakes I had made.
Now, I'm no fucking pussy. I play my games at a steady Hardcore. I like to think I am open to all types of games and have enough mental capacity to encorperate a great many playing styles. If there was some form of learning curve to Ninja Gaiden 2, I would have climbed it. I am currently at a stage in the game where I feel no more proffessional than I did when I first stepped into the spiky boots of mr Hayabusa. Is that my fault? No. It's the games fault.
Infuriatingly, a lot of people seem to find a solistic sanity in the swirling madness of Ninja Gaiden games. Apparently, there is a high level of skill which apparently I have not been introduced to. Unfortunately without it the game is complete bullshit.
"You must be doing it wrong then" said my friend Spence. Fuck that. I'm not trying to do it wrong. I want to succeed. The game never taught me how to do it right. Denis Dyack told people that if they didn't like Too Human they were "playing it wrong" and he was being a twat. That's just a sulky way of trying to compensate for not making your game engaging enough for new players. Fuck you Too Human, and fuck you Ninja Gaiden 2.
Games are art, no doubt. But sometimes you have to take a step back and realise that just because it's in an art museum doesn't stop it from being a pile of shit on the floor. Sometimes it's not art. Sometimes it just sucks.
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