What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

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What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by reim0027 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:30 pm

I hear a lot of talking about getting back to the real Ninja Gaiden. That we are losing the feel of what it is supposed to be. That we want Itagaki back, since he understands Ninja Gaiden. So, what is the "core" of Ninja Gaiden? What makes it . . . well, Ninja Gaiden?
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by mickstupp » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:18 pm

Speaking as someone who doesn't usually have a clue what he's talking about... for me personally... NG is kind of about responsiveness. When I press the buttons, what happens is what I wanted to happen. If I don't do it quick enough, it's my fault. Playing NG/B I always felt like when I died, it was something I did wrong, not the game being cheap or stupid load buffering millisecond pauses or grabs that are just ludicrously long winded. Even though I never managed to complete VH mode, I still always thought NG/B were utterly fair games. Tough as hell. But fair. Frustration came from me not being good enough, not a problem with the game.

Basically... Speed. Responsiveness. Fairness.

I didn't have the same feelings about NGS, NG2, and then I gave up.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Murphy's Ghost » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:28 pm

mickstupp wrote: NG is kind of about responsiveness. When I press the buttons, what happens is what I wanted to happen.

That's a good one-word summary.

Now I'll use lots of words and probably make less sense. :yeah:


For me, there's a tricky thing involved in answering this question, and that tricky thing is... NG2. :anxious:


Modern Ninja Gaiden has never had what I would call a purely iterative sequel. Each game has been fundamentally different from the last. A series like Devil May Cry or Resident Evil, that's not the case. DMC3 is a pretty clear expansion of DMC1, and DMC4 proceeds from DMC3. RE1-3 (and Code Veronica) are VERY similar. Then RE4 changed everything and RE5 and 6 built on that concept. Halo games more or less play like Halo games, Dark Souls plays just like Demon's Souls with some twists, etc.

NG2 is a whole new approach to combat compared to NGB, and NG3 and NG3RE are each entirely different again. On the one hand I think it's commendable that TN wants to keep trying new things, but on the other, I think the 'need to change' has led them away from the core NG experience.


As much as I love NG2 and it's awe-inspiring brutality, I think I'd have to admit that it started the series down a path that eventually turned sour. NGB, if you decide to not use UTs or ninpo, plays out with no central gimmick to it- you use blocks and combos to take on enemies, and when you've done enough damage to them they die. The game is designed around this concept, with your weapon movesets being more than enough to equal what the enemies will throw at you (the vast majority of the time, anyway).

NG2 introduced the OT system, far more hectic combat and with it much more reliance on i-frames. If you strip out UTs and ninpos, NG2 is largely about delimb -> OT and i-frame management. You're still fighting with combos but by its very nature it's a bit more restrictive, and reliant on a mechanic outside of pure give-and-take, block-and-combo fighting to dispatch your foes. NG3 followed with SoB, now RE has delimbing and SoB and weird health-restoring Ki moves and blah blah blah. Delimb, which triggers a grab for you to SoB, which you then chain to the next guy, and so on...


The success of those games has been mixed- some people love NG2, some people hate it; NG3 and RE are very polarizing. Just about everyone loved NGB, though, and I think it's because there's no gimmick to NGB. If you want to get back to the 'core' of Ninja Gaiden, I think you need to strip away the gimmicks and focus on the basic combat elements again.

Well-designed enemies that are smart but don't necessarily require wacky amounts of frame management to handle. Slick, intuitive feeling combos and character handling. A combat system that operates without a central 'step 1 -> step 2' elimination mechanic and instead leaves you free to fight with your weapon movesets- getting back to the idea that NG is built like a fighting game. A dedication to making the strongest, most enjoyable single player experience possible.

And finally, drop the obsession with making the game difficult for the sake of it being difficult. If you can fine-tune a game to the point where it keeps that core experience intact while also ratcheting up the enemy AI, aggression, numbers, etc., then that's excellent- but if the higher difficulty actually devolves the flow of the game to the point of tedium you've got a problem. Vanilla NG3 on MN/UN is, IMO, certainly an example of this. The game plays better on Hard than Master Ninja. You'd never say that about NGB.


TL;DR - Make an actual NGB part 2 and I think a lot of people would be happy. That's my $.02. :ninja:
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by stqueirolo » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:49 pm

ok here my opinion on this topic .
the core of ninja gaiden is RYU HAYABUSA awesome ninja master overcoming the imposible ,and thats it .
if i look back to the fisrt ng game ever existed mechanichs werent that good still the game was awesome , if we see the nes gameboy games ,it was about awesome ninja saving the day whit awesome looking ninja skills .
now non of those games were good in the mechanics deparment but were freaking fun to play frustrating for the dificulty and what a bunch of people would say its cheap enemys spawns ,strange save points and alot of different feelings in the combat engines .
ng 1 on nes was cheap but had infinite continues ng 2 was diferent from 1 and had password system , 3 again a diferent mechanics and only 3 continues for the hole game. but what do all this games had in comon awesome RYU HAYABUSA master ninja saving the day , now the new games from this generation change a lot too but they maintein the same idea make you feel like and awesome ninja master saving the day .

so for me ng games its that feeling of acomplishment that you have for overcoming an almost imposible situation.
the only other games that i know that have that are the souls franchise ,and those games have what we could say awful controlers but still they are awesome games just for that the sense of acomplisment that you can get after passing hours trying to understand what and how to pass that imposible obstacule in front of you .
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Puregrunt » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:09 am

Its all about that whole suspension of disbelief, that you are Ryu Hayabusa, the Super Ninja. On a quest to save the world from certain doom. It's about that fantasy. Ryu Hayabusa is an awesome character. He doesn't say much, and he doesn't have to. That way, it's more believable and you are more in tune with the character and the mystery, it really helps to engage you in his world. The immersion is as critical as the gameplay.

First and foremost it's all about the action, and lots of it. Ninja Gaiden is not a stealth game and never will be. It always been a top tier title, well renowned for spectacular graphics and super challenging gameplay. I love this statement made by Itagaki, Tizadin actually posted this a few days back.

"In Ninja Gaiden, the enemies existed to kill you. There were plenty of easier games to play, if that's what made people happy. Marbles, perhaps, or Go Fish. Anyone planning to conquer Gaiden would have to man the hell up."

The original Xbox version pretty much nailed it, back in 2003. Awesome level design, attention to detail, perfectly balanced difficulty and a ton of replayability. Just enough challenge to kick your ass, but doesn't go too far where you feel that the AI is taking too much of an unfair advantage. Putting in the playtime increases your reflexes and helps with identifying AI patterns, thus increasing your skill and making the game an even more fulfilling experience. That was only to be even more perfected with Ninja Gaiden Black, it's like a "Director's Cut", and it's more or less identified as the perfect version of Ninja Gaiden.


Ninja Gaiden 2 was mostly well received, but took a totally different approach. It's more chaotic and frenzied, much faster and far less methodical than previous titles. IMO, this is a great example of a game that dramatically changed the formula, but still maintained it's core essence, so you didn't feel too disconnected. You had a great combat system, new and interesting weapons, all new locations, blood and dismemberment and the new Obliteration system. I do agree with MG though, where the series did take a turn for the worst right about that time, or just after. Obviously Itagaki's departure had an immense impact on the series direction and it would be up to Hayashi and crew to deliver the next version.

I think we are still waiting on a new, definitive version of Ninja Gaiden. The most positive thing I've seen from Team Ninja recently is what they did with Razor's Edge. They identified a number of things in the release version that fans weren't happy about and rectified them the best they could. This to me a good sign that they might just be on the same wavelength as us. I appreciate the effort they made, and it at least gives the fans something to play that they can enjoy until something new is announced to be in the works. My bet is that Ninja Gaiden 4 is already in development for next gen Xbox and Playstation.


They need to refocus on the single player aspect. Take more time in development, sit back and take a look at what made NG and NGB so great and modernise it.

TL/DR :ninja:
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Kazama Jin » Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:11 am

To me it really boils down to the fine technical details of the title.

NGB was the most complex, because it was balanced. You could get away with certain unsafe moves because the game allowed for it intentionally. The developers knew this, and it was implemented. to me, NGB is the perfect action game and it should set the standard. Fun action games -> lengthy movelists -> moves with not just i-frames -> balanced AI that won't completely trash you when you use it, but still is challenging and actually very difficult at times. This is the delicate balance that NGB has acheieved.

NG2 is a little less complex, it turns into more of a 2d fighting game, rather than a 3d one, ironically. i-frames vs no i-frames, with easier to perform UTs. Frame properties of certain weapons underline this statement several fold, it speaks to the unfinished aura surrounding NG2 as well. If a game is hellbent on I-frames, why does every weapon have 5+ long, drawn out heavily punishable combos? Yea, the game would be cheap if you could just dial up a combo, but surely you could block out of these combos right? Wrong, for some of them, most of them probably. You take full damage and can be combo'd out of them. Even some seemingly safe moves have just ?????? questionable frame properties, again it almost screams at the user to use UTs, ninpo, or another better weapon. (bota 360Y. :laugh: )

Ng3 I don't really count in the discussion of technical details. From what I've played I get the feeling that the developers are 'programming and praying' rather than taking time to understand just what the values they're messing with actually do. I would bet several thousand sandwiches that this forum understands + and - frames better than the folks incharge of NG3.

So my conclusion is, they need to hire people who understand the delicate balance of NGB and why that worked so well. It's really not that hard to understand if you just play through NGB a bunch. You can tell from the very first encounter of the game how the system works and why it's successful on any difficulty.

The first three ninjas attacks are timed to stop you from just blocking and attacking when they are done, because it takes too long for you to recover from blocking to get an attack off before one of the other 2 hits you again. So the game introduces to you the strategy of dodging, to obtain less recovery frames while avoiding an attack, and counter attacking from an optimal distance. On higher difficulties this strategy is the same, just requires better movement and timing, maybe some shuriken delaying as well.

I suppose the developers need to realize the key isn't how you program ryu to fight the AI, it's how the AI fights ryu, like 90%.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Bigalski » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:08 pm

What is the core of NG? Our site! :thumb:
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by stqueirolo » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:16 pm

Kazama Jin wrote:To me it really boils down to the fine technical details of the title.

NGB was the most complex, because it was balanced. You could get away with certain unsafe moves because the game allowed for it intentionally. The developers knew this, and it was implemented. to me, NGB is the perfect action game and it should set the standard. Fun action games -> lengthy movelists -> moves with not just i-frames -> balanced AI that won't completely trash you when you use it, but still is challenging and actually very difficult at times. This is the delicate balance that NGB has acheieved.

NG2 is a little less complex, it turns into more of a 2d fighting game, rather than a 3d one, ironically. i-frames vs no i-frames, with easier to perform UTs. Frame properties of certain weapons underline this statement several fold, it speaks to the unfinished aura surrounding NG2 as well. If a game is hellbent on I-frames, why does every weapon have 5+ long, drawn out heavily punishable combos? Yea, the game would be cheap if you could just dial up a combo, but surely you could block out of these combos right? Wrong, for some of them, most of them probably. You take full damage and can be combo'd out of them. Even some seemingly safe moves have just ?????? questionable frame properties, again it almost screams at the user to use UTs, ninpo, or another better weapon. (bota 360Y. :laugh: )

Ng3 I don't really count in the discussion of technical details. From what I've played I get the feeling that the developers are 'programming and praying' rather than taking time to understand just what the values they're messing with actually do. I would bet several thousand sandwiches that this forum understands + and - frames better than the folks incharge of NG3.

So my conclusion is, they need to hire people who understand the delicate balance of NGB and why that worked so well. It's really not that hard to understand if you just play through NGB a bunch. You can tell from the very first encounter of the game how the system works and why it's successful on any difficulty.

The first three ninjas attacks are timed to stop you from just blocking and attacking when they are done, because it takes too long for you to recover from blocking to get an attack off before one of the other 2 hits you again. So the game introduces to you the strategy of dodging, to obtain less recovery frames while avoiding an attack, and counter attacking from an optimal distance. On higher difficulties this strategy is the same, just requires better movement and timing, maybe some shuriken delaying as well.

I suppose the developers need to realize the key isn't how you program ryu to fight the AI, it's how the AI fights ryu, like 90%.
the only problem whit this is that your just counting the ng games of this generation , and skiped the first 6 games , if we are talking of the core i guess those games deserve to be taking in account
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Kazama Jin » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:06 pm

Maybe so.

I just think NGB was what made NG, NG. I haven't played the early games, so I can't really say anything about them besides assumptions. Can talk about early shinobi games as I have played those, and how that ideal has very well destroyed Shinobi as a surviving series.

Clearly the early shinobi games are your trademark unfair old game -> no health bar, one hit kills, crappy, all be it ground breaking mechanics to work with. Long story short, sega decided to keep a faithful level of unfairness and 'unpracticable challenge' to their newer shinobi games, and surely the series has suffered from it. Sega was bent on keeping the series a strictly conservative arcade style action game that was ruthless to the player unless you prove your dedication to the game.

This is all fantastic and commendable, and I really really like shinobi ps2, but it clearly didn't keep the series alive. Nightshade pretty much shut it down. The 3ds title is fantastic, but the dev team was split a year after release for poor sales. The remarkable 3ds shinobi parry mechanic joins the other Shinobi mechanics in sega's closet of not so active/dead franchises.

But who's at fault here? You can't expect joe gamer to repeatedly play a game like that, especially in 2013+.. If shinobi is to continue living, it needs to evolve. It's not even the mechanics specifically, it's the fact that it's made like a strict arcade game.. You could very easily make a long, story based, free roaming shinobi game, but it would take sega OKing that and really going for it, maybe with an outside developer. I'll believe that when I have a hard copy of the game in my hands.

So how does this relate to NG? Well, ninja gaiden has done just the opposite of this. The first NG games probably had little and less to do with fighting game mechanics, and NG/B took the series into the direction it needed to, and it has shown. It's still living, and the common gamer on gamespot routinely makes comments like "Why cant this just be like NGB or NG2". To have the majority think that, while still having an indepth system that hardcore players like us can appreciate is a rare thing indeed.

Think they should just concentrate on NGB at this point. didn't mean to type this much.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by JTB123 » Sat May 04, 2013 6:00 pm

Not taking into account the pre NG2004 games for me NG is about learning (stay with me here :smile: ), when you strip away everything from NGB (the largely considered pinnacle of the series) that is the fundamental that matters the most. When you learn everything, you are in control of everything.

I'm sure we all remember the first time Murai gift wrapped our asses and handed it to us in chapter 1 and I'm sure we were all equally like "WTF, this guy is one cheap mofo" but then we practiced and learned the game, and now Murai poses no more threat than a bag of noodles in that dojo. Likewise for IS ninjas, berserkers and cat fiends (or any other enemy), but when you figure them out, that's it, their number is up and they're your puppets. This is the main reason why I like DMC so much, it has this same kind of approach, granted the enemies aren't as threatening, but the design is the same.

This is where the NG2 on-wards iterations fall apart for me, they lost this aspect, and I seriously doubt the i-frame exploitation was a design choice for NG2's combat. NG3 I really cannot comment on much, there was a lot I didn't about the game and very little I liked, but in terms of balance and depth I didn't play it enough to form the opinion I have on NG/B/2/Sigma.

In a nut shell I guess it's transparency that's the core of NG for me, I still think to this day that NGB was a fluke, but hey, nobody complains when they accidently get a bullseye in darts or a strike when bowling do they?

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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Ninjilla » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:12 am

I can only comment on NG(plus Black and to a very minor amount, Sigma) and NG2 here, but the one word I would use is control.

I am actually writing a little paper on what makes Ninja Gaiden such a great game to me, and in my opinion it's that you are given the tools to completely control your enemies, but to expand on the responsiveness aspect we are given total control of Ryu as well. The fundamentals of the game besides regular attacks are things like on landing status, canceling (especially roll canceling), the head jump, etc., things that give you i-frames, change your position in the environment, and give precious time to think ahead even just a step. Ryu is so easy to move around that we are given an intuitive way to control the who, when, where, and how the enemies are killed to achieve as close to razor edged perfection (that higher score or no-hurt run). The many defensive tools plus the very sturdy block are also what makes Ryu into such an offensive powerhouse.

That is partially why I didnt play through NGII as much as I wanted, it felt to me like I was under such a barrage of attacks that I couldnt do whatever I wanted. I really want an Xbox 360 so I can play it again with a more offensive minded outlook, because it was extremely fun.

And that is my 2 cents, get enough posts and we can buy a comic, a cola, and some bubble gum!
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by reim0027 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:24 pm

Yeah, it is a different kind of control. In NG/NGB, you were limited, to an extent, by having to be defensive and responsive to your enemies. In NG2, that limitation is gone. You, for the most part, have to be pure raging aggressive. However, the flip side is chaos. Until you understand the chaos, you feel out of control. Once you understand it, you can manipulate it, and BOOM! Control is back.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Ninjilla » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:22 am

But I think once you get good enough at NGB, those defensive tools all have offensive purposes. Even blocking is just you waiting for a good time to roll cancel and kill every living/undead thing.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by bodaaf » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:01 pm

For me, 4 things make the core experience of NG:

- Polish.

As an action game, NG on the xbox was ahead of its time in terms of graphics, AI, combat, level design,... And then came the HP's and NGB, adding even more content; a game polished to perfection. It's a real shame none of the successors ever reached the same level (let alone the ugly mess that NG3 was).

- Control.

Never felt more in control of a video game character than in NG(B), period. I think the move, Ryu executes. Simultaneously :clap:

- Choice.

A long list of items, weapons, combo's, ninpo's, interaction with the environment,... NG offers more brutal choices than I even want to handle to take out enemies :D

- Cutting.

The (true) dragon sword is my favorite weapon in any game to date, and I doubt that will ever change. Cutting feels visceral in NG
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by julius-ruler4 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:43 pm

The core of Ninja Gaiden for me is the challenge of the karma, the control over your character and the story that is behind NG(B/S). Even after so many years NG, NGB and NGS are still shining light in this obsolete darkness.

Quote from JTB123: "NGB video's are like fine wine. They just get better over the years." And he's right. The first story of NG is the core of Ninja Gaiden, and it will improve by the years.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by PinnacleInSync » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:19 pm

For me the core has always been the fluent, fast paced combat, the graphics/animation, the atmosphere of the game and the replayability. You can just taste the level of refinement put into it and Itagaki managed to fully utilize the console his games were developed on. You experience it in NGB and you can pretty much hear your 360 lift off when playing NG2 from the disc.

I think that the games establishes a brilliant balance between brutal and sophisticated combat. Like other have said, Ryu is almost invincible, as long as you input the commands at exactly the right moment and when you do, it looks awesome and feels awesome. It gives you the feeling of actually being a supreme being.

The NGB/NG2 debate is a difficult one, but they are both games with lots of strong points, IMO. It did went sour with the series after NG2, but I don't think NG2 itself is the reason.
I feel Team Ninja ran out of time perfecting the game and I really think that NG2 can have the same amount of polish NGB has. It's a shame we'll never find out.

The combat in NG2, for me, has evolved and I think they should stick with this, or at least don't get rid of it. The variety of moves you can do, offensive and defensive, makes the combat so much better, IMO. The only downside for me are the rugged edges they didn't or couldn't polish, which can be regarded as cheap. Some weapons and enemies even feel unfinished in the game.

It should be possible to create a hybrid and ultimate version of NG. NGB and NG2 combined. Maybe limiting your moveset during certain encounters because of enemies/bosses/ToVs that influence them, or expand it, or make it weapon dependant, without touching the freedom you have now.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by reim0027 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:26 am

They tried to do that hybrid with NGS2. Or, at least tried to do that with the combat. Didn't care for it at all. I prefer playing NGB for NGB and NG2 for NG2. But, I really agree with you about the polish (and the karma system that emphasizes obscene amounts of farming).
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by PinnacleInSync » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:09 pm

NGS2 is the perfect example how it is not done, IMO of course.

I do agree with you that NGB and NG2 are best played for what they are themselves.

Maybe if the chaos you mentioned before would be a little more 'dosed', then the feeling of being in control again would prevail. Now that I think of it, a hybrid may not be the answer.

Here's and idea: why not make NGB2 and NG2B? :whistle:
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Murphy's Ghost » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:22 pm

PinnacleInSync wrote: Here's and idea: why not make NGB2 and NG2B? :whistle:
Best idea ever... :sunnyd:
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by reim0027 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:53 am

Murphy's Ghost wrote:
PinnacleInSync wrote: Here's and idea: why not make NGB2 and NG2B? :whistle:
Best idea ever... :sunnyd:
Indeed. :beers:
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by RyuDaGoomba » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:42 am

really, recovery in NG2 is slightly worse than NG1?

man, I haven't really messed with a ton of the weapons in 2, mostly DS, BoTA and the VF and I remember them having incredibly good recovery compared to that of NG1. Yes I do agree that NG2 technically is a bit less complex to an extent due to the amount of invincibility pretty nearly given but I remember recovery being EXTREMELY better than that of NG1 and NG1 did some weird things. I will say NG2 has more depth because of the overall systems implemented, thanks to many opportunities for shuriken cancels, counters against projectiles and grabs and how the delimb system can actually tailor itself to limb specific combos (every one knows the dragon sword combo where you cancel the OT with a shuriken and the kick juggles), but not as complex since the interaction of enemies isn't QUITE up to the level of polish you have in NG1 and even NG1 had some bullshit with 180 turning rocket guys and some pretty BS grab moves with no audio cue like the Black Spider Clan Ninjas. :laugh:
Things like Ryu kicking a guy off when they're technically dead after pressing X again just feels clunky and I personally felt that the recovery on weapons like the LS and the War Hammer were terrible and down right abysmal, which is why I never used them. And I hated how the FS wouldn't come out due to enemies not being in the proper proximity a lot of the time. And after playing NG1 again, holy heck, does the FS have some recovery. And just one thing I don't like about NG1 is just how many weapons that aren't katana based you can't projectile/shuriken cancel, it just makes them feel inferior to the katana weapons since they don't provide the same amount of recovery leniency nor do they provide the same amount of juggle combo potential. And don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the VF and Dabi in NG1, the Dabi makes the Scythe look like a joke at times and they're extremely powerful weapons, Flail XXY is basically Lunar XXY in NG2 for NG1.
Then again, what do I know, I only beat NG1 and NG3 on Master/Ultimate, I've played NG2 since launch (technically, I played up to Mentor for vanilla and didn't beat it since it was hard and my friend lost his copy and still haven't beaten MN for Sigma 2 cuz I'm a fraud) and I can't beat that game on Master Ninja so, eh, weird guy I am ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by XNinjaRed » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:04 pm

I actually had a blogpost that had my opinion about the core of Ninja Gaiden.
You can find it here:
https://minhsgamephilosophy.wordpress.c ... f-sequels/

But it's buried beneath a different topic, so I'll just copy paste the thing people here are actually talking about:
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Take away the huge combo list of this game. Take away the fact that you play as a ninja. Hell, take away the whole story of the game whatsoever. The game in it’s pure core is about one single thing: “The enemies aren’t there to be killed, they’re here to kill YOU”.

It’s a very simple concept and that’s what the design of the game is based around. In the case of this game, the enemies are smart, REAL smart. You can have three of the same types of enemies and instead of them doing the exact same thing one after another, they assign roles. One will attack you from the front, the other will attack with a ranged attack and the last will try to get behind you.

Now to demonstrate, here’s a sequel that did it right in taking this main concept and still add something new:

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This sequel decided to go for a different direction. Whereas in Ninja Gaiden Black you usually come across 3 to 5 enemies per encounter, here you more commonly go against 5 to 7 enemies per encounter.

Now you might be thinking “Oh, that’s just heightening up the numbers, that’s nothing new”. And you’d be right, but that’s not the main difference here. The main difference is in how they changed the enemies from “smart” to “desperate”.

The enemies still assign roles to one another, but now they actually change their strategies when you cut off one of their limbs. Having lost their vital organs, they no longer “think” and instead just go completely berserk. It’s not about them surviving the fight anymore, now they want to take you with them.

And that’s the thing, it’s different, but it NEVER deviated from the “The enemies aren’t there to be killed, they’re here to kill YOU” mentality.

And now let’s go back to compare this to the black sheep of the family that did the change wrong:

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First, let me make it clear that for all my rantings about this game, I’ve generally calmed down about it. When push comes to shove, this game is okay. It’s nothing terrible or anything and if someone really wants to play Ninja Gaiden without dying too often, I’d actually even recommend the remake, Razor’s Edge.

But back to the discussion, what this game did wrong was that it took a different direction that DOES deviate from the original game’s main concept.

The game is now about how powerful you are and how the enemies cower in fear over you.

It now has Quick Time Events which make you do Awesome Things™ and make you feel like a typical American Badass and all that.

But that’s not the main concept, and it misses the point of what the previous games did right.

The previous games ALREADY made you feel like a badass for simply SURVIVING.

Doing a Quick Time Event to dodge some falling icicles is never going to get the satisfaction that you get from killing three steroid-filled ogres with Triceratops Skulls as masks from the pure gameplay.

In Ninja Gaiden 3, finding out that there are 10 enemies running towards you will simply give you the feeling of “Ugh, this is going to be a boring 10 minutes”. But in Ninja Gaiden II you would instead go “OH SHIT!”
Again, this is purely my opinion on the matter. I don't like to speak in absolutes.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Kazama Jin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:18 pm

^ That's probably a good way to remember it, that the enemies are there to kill you, not for you to kill them. I've watched some playthroughs of other action games on twitch lately, and it's fine for fun, but that is always the striking difference between NG and most everything else.

Even the souls games I've grown weary of. Almost no I-frames anywhere but a cumbersome dodge may sound solidly difficult on paper, but in practice it just makes you run away and out-space any encounter over 2-3 enemies. Probably barking up the wrong tree as far as the souls games go though. Not many trees left to bark up these days.

Dark souls 3, however, is looking like it's wanting to speed things up considerably so I'm very much looking forward to it from an action game standpoint. I'll be curious to see what they come up with.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Trax » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:53 am

Mostly, I think NG differentiates itself from all other action games by two things

1) You are always in complete control of Ryu. There is absolutely no boundary to your movements and actions, whatever you feel like doing you can do. If you want to quickly jump away from an enemy you can do that, if you want to run towards and enemy and attack them as you run past them you can also do that. If you want to do a crazy flip off a wall you can totally do that. There is no artificial limitation set by the game that says "NO, DON'T DO THAT THING!". Between that and the supremely crafted combat system I have never played any other game that feels as good when it comes to responsiveness and, again, being in total control of your character.

2) The enemies. They are always there to make sure you die, but usually they do so by being cunning and always looking for a good way to throw you off balance. I know a lot of people say the AI in NG2 behaves more like rabid dogs, but most of their behavior still carries on from NGB. Things like assuming different positions, baiting you into flying straight into an attack or a grab, dodging potentially dangerous attacks at the right moment, working in coordinations, etc. It just feels like they don't think as much because of how frantic the game is. And really, it would feel the same in NGB with more enemies around (go replay Mission 4 in NGB and see how the game's pace quickly changes with 8 ninjas on screen :P)

A lot of action games have disappointed me because every enemy you fight feels the same. They have no distinct movement patterns or behavior that really makes you think about what your approach will be, while at the same time being fun to fight

The games also have excellent presentation. I'm always amazed by how beautiful and fluid the animations all look, not only are they all aesthetically perfect but you can feel each individual attack and movement has its own weight. This is something almost every single action game gets wrong, the animations just feel weightless and cartoonish.
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Re: What is the core of Ninja Gaiden?

Post by Luckrequired » Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:20 pm

Rachel. :love:

And challenging gameplay where victory is earned.
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