i beat this game yesterday and it's still stuck in my head. the game is obviously not good in terms of uhhh... consistency? I mean, the individual quality of the elements...
(I like it and I'm not too much into 'objectivity x subjectivy' discussion, I tend to separate "love" and "respect" but I don't like to see them as a dicotomy. However, I do think that a single element of the game can carry over the rest)
...and I think no one disagree with me (i hope i'm wrong, good to see different opinions), like, the story, the FOCUS on the story, QTEs and other intrusive elements, game flow (fucking endless battle gauntlet, I kinda like it sometimes because I'm insane and it's also *theoretically* cool in a narrative sense but meh, MGR did better 1 year later), enemies, bosses, scenery and some visual designs, progression, etc etc etc
there is a lot of wrong things going on in this game and I'm sure Roy has a list of differences between RE and Vanilla so yeah... I'm glad I played the good version, because the combat is absolutely bonkers. I love it at first glance, but then I had the problem with enemies dodging and blocking your attacks all time and... it was frustrating. But it's STILL Ninja Gaiden, the franchise that gives you every fucking tool to deal with every fucking thing, so yeah we can talk about enemy behavior here
i won't talk about NG2 here because this game is very specific in terms of enemy design and they don't dodge too much.
in NGB enemies are constantly dodging and blocking your attacks but because of the slow-paced nature of the game, you can wait their turn to punish frames and controlling the space is the keypoint to success. To break their guards and keep them stun-locked you can do wall-attacks, wind-run + flying swallow or wind-path, UTs and GTs, shurikens, heavy attacks, etc. Of course you have all of these options in NG3:RE, but that's not the point.
In NGB, the combat is mechanically more "condensed", basic tools are very important and the gameloop is basically a big fest of microdecisions. In NG3:RE, everything feels more open-ended, which is not a bad thing per se but I didn't like how it was incorporated in the game (in the campaign, at least). Wall-less-ass game, with the stupid pattern of "a lot of enemies attacking you, a lot of enemies shooting your ass" (okay NG2 is kinda like that but that's a whole different combat system), no essences so no UT abuse (this is the only thing that I don't think it's necessarily bad tho), bad healing system imo, GTs are useless, no more "hold block while you're not attacking" because of the input drops (i can't do the pseudo bunny hopping anymore, that's sad)
However, in the 2nd half of the game I started to rely more on SoB and yeah, that's definitely the way I'm supposed to play. My worst sin was playing NG3:RE as if it was NG2, dodging and jumping all the time, trying to delimb everything, etc. But then I realize that what makes NG3 special is how the player is demanded to constantly change his mindset and pace between each fight:
1. i really like the weapon system in this game. in NG2 weapons level are important because of the whole delimb % of each move and all other uses, but here the movelist is wider, and despite existing a lot of redundant moves, I didn't feel that weapons were reskin of each other, and yes, I still prefer the weapons in NG2, but here in NG3:RE i changed weapons more in my first run.
2. the back-and-forth is excellent and progression being tied to the karma system makes a lot of sense, especially in this game (although I dislike the skill tree thing and progression overall, it's very interesting since the essence system is gone).
3. enemies dodging and blocking: a solution
a. I do like the slide, although it feels worse (than roll and dash) to control in terms of movement in the middle of a fight. But hey, you can stumble enemies now! It's a great feature, it really helps in the flow of gameplay and enemy manipulation.
b. Shurikens, UTs, GTs, IDs. I feel these tools are less useful here than in NGB/NG2 but it's still effective anyway (except for GTs imo).
c. Combos. A lot of strings, a lot of long strings. Just bully your enemies, fuck with everything.
d. Hold attacks, try to hold Y in the end or middle of your combo, I'm sure it will be good to break their defenses.
e. Patience, wait for attacks and then try to parry, cicada surge (that's a good one) and obviously, Steel on Bone.
Good game, the combat is one of the best ever made but the campaign is one of the worst ever made. It's the only one (in NG series) that I hope I'll never replay. I'll try the Sigmas now (for the first time) and the NES Gaidens.