Featuring Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge!

Ah, what a fun series of games the Ninja Gaiden franchise was. And…. they fucked the pooch. Recently picking up Razor’s Edge, I was under the impression that this was going to be the “good” version. Perhaps that was a euphemism for barely passable. I had to really look deep into what the fuck was going on with the majority of games I’ve played on the PS3 thus far, and I feel as though I’ve come to understanding just what is wrong simply by looking at NG3. I’m sure this goes for a majority of actions games this past generation.

1. Enemies take more than 20 hits to die

There’s something to be said about a game that simply feels repetitive. Granted, games about beating ass and ripping them to shreds should be enjoyable, right? Except this. Gameplay is only there to serve as an interaction between the player and the content. As such, when Ryu Hayabusa is described as a “Super Ninja”, why is it I feel like a drunken punching bag? The very first level, I die 5 times in a row. Granted, it’s been quite some time since I’ve last played NGS2 so I’m rusty, but I never expected them to throw melee enemies at me who can perfectly dodge almost every thing I throw at them, block, and immediately counter my attacks a good 50% of the time. These enemies will also gang up on you multiple times.

Overtime, though, this was no problem to deal with. So why does it take so gosh darn long to kill these bastards? Enemy health is so astronomical, you’d be crazy to not want to spam the same power charge attacks over and over again. Especially since if you try to combo, you’ll get raped anyway, but every other tactic you have (shurikens, arrows, etc.) are near useless, you feel forced to use the same attacks over and over again to destroy them all. Either charge moves or Scythe is good to take down mobs of enemies, but neither are fun to use. Especially since the game’s bugs prevent you from progressing unless you have the sword equipped (The infamous Jeep freeze), so it’s like why bother using anything else? Even with that, you will find yourself switching from sword to scythe trying to deal with small or large enemies, and it’s still gonna take forever to kill them all because you have to treat every enemy like some suped up boss battle, factoring in having to dodge, block, etc. and that’s for the whole damn game.

By the end of it all, you’re gonna feel damned tired from all the extra exertion needed to play the whole game. And a big part of that is by how fucking long it takes to kill shit. But that wasn’t enough for these sadistic bastards. Oh no. Let’s throw about a hundred waves of the mother fuckers at you from every corner of the Earth, combined with rocket launchers that take up more time because you need to spend time dodging attacks offscreen. Oh, and lets randomly insert 3 cloaked Ezio mother fuckers while we’re at it. And these assholes take even LONGER to kill because of nigh-perfect evasiveness and lightening quick attacks.

So many action games these days have enemies that just won’t fucking die. From Ratchet All 4 One to this damn game, every action game with beat em up/hack n slash elements feel like work. A game is never supposed to feel like work. When the play gets bored by the end of some enemy waves, you have completely…. fucking…. failed. They have lost interest before they even reach the next level. Because they expect nothing but work. If the combat feels like work, there is no fun to be had. A part of that is having enemies that take forever to kill.

Devil May Cry is partially responsible for this for having “sweet looking combos”. Capcom is the premiere trend setter for every bad developer habit out there (RE4’s fucking QTE’s and pointless combos ala Mahvel babeh). DMC having these stylish combos gave the excuse to make enemies a chore to kill because they wanted you to string up some super long, awesome combo to show off to your nerd ass friends on youtube. But here, long combos are pointless if they’re not killing the enemy fast enough.

This wouldn’t be so bad if…

2.This wasn’t all you were doing for 95% of the game.

Literally speaking, since the enemies are a chore to kill, you’d think they would give you something else to do. NOPE! Fighting enemies is all you literally do in this game. For 8 straight stages, it’s nothing but enemy waves. You might have a little QTE here and there, or some climbing sequence, but really, you barely notice that you have those segments. Why have so many sections where you are flooded with enemy wave after enemy wave? Because there are only 8 levels (10 in RE). That’s pretty short for games these days. We like having long games to justify the high ass price tag. But see, devs don’t know how to make long games anymore. At least… properly. So the only thing they can do is artificially lengthen game time by having arbitrary elements featured.

This is called padding out the game to justify the price. Thankfully, there’s no pointless padding. Howeverm because the enemies take much longer to kill than ever before, apparently the idea was to throw nothing but endless waves of perfect AI opponents at you forever and ever. Since they take long enough to kill as it is, they figured that the enemies would be padding enough. So instead of something called emergent gameplay, they just throw the same waves of enemies at you over and over again. You can’t skip the majority of these encounters unless you’re really stupid and want to be double-donged by 12 elite mother fuckers all at once, combined with rockets and possibly giant monsters.

The Devil May Cry series balances out the action of kicking ass and exploration. There are puzzles, mind you, but it helps that they break the monotony of the game itself. It never feels repetitive playing these games.  Not to mention the games are still pretty fuckin hard. Tecmo could take a few lessons from Dante.

DMC2 also had the best content. Fuck DMC3’s “Brotherly rivalry” bullshit.

3. Scripted Bullshit.

Why not do anything different in-between the fights that don’t involve nigh-aimless wondering for stupid gold bugs like Zelda? Or scripted QTE sequences ripped off from other games? There was one cool feature where Ryu could turn invisible, but that only shows up in the very first level. You will never use this ability ever again. It’s just fight everything until you drop dead. With QTEs. These make up your scripted nonsense. The narrative says Ryu just heads into enemy territory, alarms the guards and everyone starts swarming him. Ryu, being Mr. badass super ninja, just raids everything instead of acting like a Ninja and using something called oh idk STEALTH!? No, narrative says Ryu just storms the place. You have no choice but to kill all the enemies before completing your objectives. Why? Because um… that’s what Ninjas do these days, just raid places killing everyone insight because uh way of the Dragon Clan… mother fucker.

Every now and then, you have some sequences where you’re flying around dodging missiles or climbing on to some wall while the game enters bullet time in order for you to react fast enough to the button prompt. You don’t even need to be awake while the cutscenes go into play since there is always a slow down before you need to press the button, and it’s long enough that you need’nt concern yourself with being alert at all times, unless of course an enemy just pops out at you without warning….. which, incredible enough, happens frequently in the game. See, every level has some random enemy pop out at you without warning, and you usually won’t be able to react fast enough unless you memorize these levels in excruciating detail.

But this game wouldn’t be complete without some silly “bonus round” before the boss fight where you…. *gasp*, you guessed it! Fight more enemies….. in an alternate dimension! Surprisingly enough, these enemies are much easier to kill. But after said bonus round, you’ll find Ryu just sluggishly walking from the pain of the grip of murder. In… every… level. Why? Because narrative says Ryu is struggling with this curse, so it randomly takes control away from you just to force you to tread slowly to your next save point. Praise Amma that you don’t have to fight enemies while doing this or this game would’ve gone right back to the store.These are the 3 tell-tale signs of what I’d like to call “Narrative-obsessive-disorder”, or “NOD” for short. Basically, in some rabid attempt to make the story and spectacle the primary focus, the developer uses the gameplay as nothing more than some boring vehicle for you to see the plot, rather than you actually having fun with the game. Devs will continuously reuse certain elements over and over again to the point where emergent gameplay is not  even thought of. Things like killing enemies and bosses in the same patterns over and over again (RatchetA4O has this in spades), repetitious “formats” for each level and world (lazy design), and scripted nonsense of QTEs and other silly elements. After 3 games, relying on the spectacle of super fast and high-octane combat has completely worn off, so there had to be something new in it for people to get excited for the game. Unfortunately, Team Ninja seems to be at a loss as to what to do with any of their games aside from adding more big titty bitches to the roster. Speaking of which, the only good feature of the game is what one guy calls the “psuedo-masturbation mechanic” of moving the controller to make the titties flop about like flounder out of the water. It’s creepy as fuck, and doesn’t seem to easily arouse people as one would think. How would a child react if he/she hugs a woman and her tits keep randomly keep rubbing him or her against the face? Would that not be the most kick ass childhood memory? “Yeah man, I remember when I was like 5 and this fine ass honey’s titties kept massaging my face like mad crazy!” “Man I’m hatin like no-tomorrow!” “Yeah, she was da bomb too!”Fuck, this game is creepy. Not only that, but Team Ninja has a bad habit of getting involved with projects that seem to derail their characters with “parental instincts”. Yes, Other M was Sakamoto’s idea, but Ryu Hayabusa has paternal instincts.13:33. Fucking thought Cliff was going the Kano fatality from Mortal Kombat.Yes, this is what the story is all about. The trials of being a father. The 1st 2 games were all about power hungry ninja warriors and warring ninja clans for power and dominance. This game is about fatherhood. What the fuck is wrong with Team Ninja? Here’s Mr. super bad ass Ninja master crying like a little bitch! Why? Because a little girl earlier asked him to be her daddy.Fuck this game. Every franchise I used to enjoy has turned to shit.

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