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My experience with the series

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1My experience with the series Empty My experience with the series on Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:27 pm

Omega ZX

Omega ZX
I'll go a little deeper with my experience with this series, which hasn't convinced me as much as DMC or Platinum titles did.

I first tried the original NG 2 by a friend, since I don't own an Xbox. My first impression was "fun, but a bit too chaotic". However I bought Sigma 2 for my ps3 and played it twice, but I never got really deep with the mechanics. The best thing about it is the core combat, that's for sure. I love the weapons (especially claws, tonfas, scythe and kusarigama, but seriously all of them are amazing) and I find the delimb system SOOO satisfying. What I didn't like was the ranged enemies attacking from off-screen, and some bosses (I know that bosses are not that important in this series, but does anyone genuinely enjoy fighting the water dragon or the metal worm?). Overall still a really solid game.

Later I did some research about the differences between 2 and Sigma 2, and came to the conclusion that I prefer the latter. I don't care about the gore, I like the new female characters and I'd probably get frustrated half of the time with OG 2, which seems even a lot more unpolished. I can kind of see the appeal of a game such as that, but I don't think I would enjoy it that much.

That being said, everyone online kept talking about how 1/Black/Sigma was the better game, and not at all unfair unlike 2, so I bought it (the Sigma version). The result was... quite disappointing actually, but I know I dismissed the game too quickly. The combat felt watered down because of the lack of delimbs or flashy movesets, and I didn't think it was perfectly fair and polished. I mean, the horse enemies in Chapter 2 were all but enjoyable for me. However, I dropped the game in Chapter 3.

That's it, so basically it's a series I've never really delved into and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I plan to give another chance to Sigma, because I know it deserves it, then replay Sigma 2 and finally buy Razor's Edge, which also seems to be pretty different from the other two, yet shares the same core.

However I really think that Team Ninja doesn't really know (or chooses to ignore it) what separates a fair and fun challenge from a chaotic and unbalanced moment, it's apparent in Nioh's side missions, too. It's a shame because the core combat systems they make are really tight and satisfying.

Then again ofc it's kind of subjective what is enjoyable and what is not, I've seen a lot of people saying that the Midir boss fight in Dark Souls 3 is bullshit, but I actually think it's amazing. Same with Armstrong in MGR.

All of that being said, I hope that I will be able to enjoy NG as much as everyone does, because I clearly see the potential. When I give NG Sigma a second chance I'll make sure to dive more into the mechanics in order to understand how to make them click with me.

2My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:44 am


Sigma is like the LOTR or Harry Potter movies, OG is the books. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy them, but they just aren't the artists vision.

Having just played 2 this year, there is nothing unfair, even though on the surface it seems like it.
The game is just hyper demanding.

There are changes I agree with, like the better bow aiming, but the one I can't get behind is the reduced enemies on screen with increased health.
It fundamentally makes the game something else. The joy of NG2 is how fast and relentless the battles are(see staircase battle). To have that changed would take away one of the core reasons I love NG2.
It holds nothing back and pulls no punches.

I originally played through NG2 on release. It took me 11 years and Roy's great posts to finally enjoy this game.
Before that I just viewed it at a surface level of, this is bullshit.
Which was a lot easier than devoting myself to Itagaki-san's torture, until everything clicked.

He didn't make a game for the mass markets.
He made a game that could stand the test of time.
A game that requires your full dedication.
He made the greatest action game of all time.

3My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:01 am


If there's one thing the series has always struggled with, and this is something Itagaki himself and the team at large also mentioned in interviews: Ninja Gaiden isn't really fun to play as until you are really good at them. This is something the Sigma titles tried to allieviate to a degree, and something they really tried to fix with NG3 to the satisfaction of not a single soul.

Ninja Gaiden's depth is mostly found in the highest difficulties and even there it is found more in the miniscule decisions you make in prioritizing certain foes, smartly using delimbs (in future titles that is), essence management and your general mobility. There's a lot of mechanics that are present under the hood that the game never tells you like continous jumping, redirection jump, OLUT etc. It is a variety is the spice of life thing, it doesn't offer what makes DMC so great, but also offers something that makes itself great that other titles don't offer - and vice versa of course.

Black mostly gets a lot of love because it is just a good all-round game; something that's rare in action games. Most games in the genre are room > fight > room > fight, but Ninja Gaiden Black had a cool open'ish world, collectibles, lots of different bosses, probably the best difficulties in any game ever made in how they changed the game, ton of extra content. It was just a great adventure game that also just happened to have a fantasticly polished combat system.

But yeah, it's a game series that does what others don't. They play with difficulties and up the ante. Fair is all nice and good, but it also gets dull. I love Souls, but once you know the details, you've won. At best you can make fights take longer, or remove defensive options like walk-only runs, but the basis remains.

Ninja Gaiden takes it further, and its where my concept of "fairness is in the eyes of the player" comes from. Look at it like this. If during a fight in Ninja Gaiden you are suddenly attacked by off-screen rockets, is that unfair? The first time: for sure, you had no idea. The second time you know they are there though; it isn't unfair anymore.

It is a really, really demanding game where you constantly have to blame yourself to improve, which takes a lot of time not to mention sacrificing your ego. And it isn't a game you can outright enjoy because, especially at first, you'll look more like a guy cosplaying like Ryu, than playing as actual Ryu. But once it clicks...pfff. I have never in my life played an action gaming series as Ninja Gaiden, and I mean that in praise.

Regarding the iterations and their differences, in short:

Ninja Gaiden (original):
1: base version, difficulties only change damage numbers and has no mission mode. Different Ultimate Technique(UT) system;
Black: difficulties change everything from scarab rewards, to item locations to adding new bosses, also has mission mode and new UT system.
Sigma: removes most of the puzzles and adventure gameplay from Black. Adds playable Rachel. Makes the bow more overpowered (can be shot from the air). Lots of other minor changes.
SigmaPlus: same as above but costumes give buffs now that can stack.

Ninja Gaiden II:
Original: hard as nails, bonkers on master ninja, huge masses of enemies.
Sigma 2: removes most of the enemy masses, new bosses, co-op, girl chapters, less customizability for Ryu (lots of projectiles removed) and weapon leveling is changed (essence management is completely gone).

To answer some of your questions I recommend reading my article on it. And the bosses are hit and miss. Water Dragon is pretty interesting, but Gigadeath (the metal worm) is despised universally.

4My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:07 pm



The topic on fair vs unfair is really complicated and different people have different taste. I think the unfairness doesn't come from the enemies being hard, attacking from offscreen etc, but from the lack of tool given to the player. NG2 rocket guys are difficult but fair 'cause Ryu has all the tools necessary to both the avoid, approach and kill them. Put the same enemy in something like Dark Souls and it would be completely unfair with the limited movement option (I think this is also the same principles behind Dark Souls 2 hordes being kinda unfair). At the end of the day is an issue of game design for me.

I think Royta is spot on when he says that "fairness is in the eye of the player", it's a different way to do difficulty and a different way to approach game design. It can be argued that NG's design philosophy is similar to those of arcade games, the games seems unfair until you reach a certain level of mastery, after that you realize that it wasn't really unfair you just lacked either knoweledge or mechanical skill.

Actually Matthewmatosis in his Viewtiful Joe defines the differences between "Initial fairness" and "subsequent fairness" and it's easy to see how NG falls in the second category. That difference could also explain while some people perceive games as unfair , especially stuff like shmups or arcade games in general.

Last edited by TaiTsurugi on Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

5My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:09 pm


I really need to watch his take on Viewtiful Joe. Matthew is very consistent in his videocontent and I adore his vision on game-design. Heard this video is quite good also.

6My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:29 pm


>attacking from off-screen
One of my favs. Every game should have this.

>Ninja Gaiden isn't really fun to play as until you are really good at them
I enjoyed NG2 even while getting destroyed. I always consider that stage of learning fun.

>Matthewmatosis in his Viewtiful Joe

7My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:53 pm



8My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:20 am


> isn't fun to play it unless you're good
This is mostly in regard to NGB and for the wider audience. Folks like us will always get enjoyment out of it regardless, but they were struggling and it is the reason Oblitheration Techniques were added in NG2 so that even casual players could feel 'cool'.

9My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:17 am


>"Initial fairness" and "subsequent fairness"

Can some go over this? Can't be bothered with the video.

10My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:21 am


Essentially replaying a game shows that what you initially thought was "unfair" is fair, with subsequent knowledge.

Chess isn't fair if I just tell you the rules and let's go. but with practice and knowledge it is completely fair and balanced.
The VJ video is easily one of Matt's best, it made me actually want to give this game another chance, after playing the shitty PS2 port and being turned off.

11My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:13 am


One of my clients tried to teach me how to play chess today. I'm kind of interested in it now. Might buy a set and learn the rules properly.

12My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:29 pm


I was watching the podcast of Hugo Martin in preparation to Doom Eternal's launch and he also had some talks about fairness.

He notes that he doesn't want players to feel cheated, but that when they die it is immediatly apparent that they did something wrong and can tell what that is. In the example he gives it is about a player pressing a button and the second he does so, the player thinks "oh fuck, I'm going to die because of this". What's interesting is that he talks about a 10 to 20 second window of life between that realization and the actual death, which is something they aimed for.

I can imagine that those 10 to 20 seconds are the most fun and interesting bits, since you know you fucked up, but fight for survival to 'rectify' your mistake.

Ninja Gaiden II is more to the other side. You make a choice early in the fight and it can result into a death a minute later, but a single mistake can also lead to death in less than a second. I think it's an interesting discussion.

13My experience with the series Empty Re: My experience with the series on Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:21 pm


Most unfair screamers are too stupid or just too ego driven to ever admit they've done something wrong. Making their mistakes more obvious just makes them angrier.

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