By Kraznor 48 Comments
Full transparency, only played the first two and a half stages of Mark of the Ninja thus far (just shy of an hour) but...I just don't see it. Yes, it controls well and has that quality animation Klei does oh so well but the narrative thus far is extremely thin and I just don't feel compelled to keep playing.The gameplay is extremely derivative of Splinter Cell Convicion and Arkham Asylum. Yes, those systems have been translated successfully to 2D, but it just isn't entertaining enough on its own to keep me invested.
Now, I mainly tried this out due to the seemingly (and now, in my mind, confirmed) hyperbolic praise given it by Brad and Patrick and I feel the disdain expressed towards 3D stealth games is pretty damn dismissive. See, Metal Gear Solid at least gives you a carrot on the end of that stick to keep you playing, its called a narrative. Its called characters. Writing, ya dig? Yes, this Ninja game is less clunky in a pure mechanical sense but it also has a bit of a soulless vibe to it, if I may be so bold. There is nothing here beyond the base mechanics. Brad even says he wouldn't mind if it was stick figures, its the mechanics of the gameplay that make this fun to those not looking for anything more. Now, if you want to go ahead and compare this to mechanically focused games like a Super Meat Boy or a Pac-Man Championship Edition or N+, go ahead. But to dismiss an entire genre's merits in terms of marrying narrative with gameplay and questioning the use of violence in mechanical ways by giving you compelling reasons NOT to kill people (an avenue this game doesn't really cater to what with its emphasis on violent animations and lack of rewards for avoiding enemies), as well as inventing several of the systems this game incorporates just seems gross to me. Credit where credit is due. This game is less ambitious in every sense, yet it receives unapologetic praise in spite of those other games. Yet another illustration of the prioritization of the most basic aspects of game design over the loftier ambitions Giant Bomb, and game media at large, seems to favor.