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Ninja Gaiden II Needs to Level Up the Camera Work

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the ninjas-should-be-able-to-play-blindfolded-anyway dept.

XBox (Games) 48

The team that brought you one of the more difficult games of all time (according to some) has come back for another round. According to one review Ninja Gaiden II serves up what looks to be an amazing addition to the franchise, at least what you can see of it through the very counter-intuitive camera work. "The hybrid aesthetic - high-tech Technicolor Japan mixed with muted feudalist Japan - might sound dissonant but looks sharply coherent. In fact, in the hands of a skilled player NGII looks nothing less than exhilarating, and occasionally surpasses any martial arts movie you might care to name. And this is why the camera is such a surprisingly big issue. This isn't a problem with it getting caught on a corner occasionally, nor the odd confusing switch of perspective. It is a constant problem: obscuring foes, breaking up combos, losing track of Ryu, and flicking back and forth between positions."

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Yawn (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475984)

There was a video of a developer playing through NGII that became available on Xbox Live not to long ago.

I'm a big fan of the NG series as well as Tecmo's other stuff but to be perfectly honest I was bored to tears.

A number of other games in the genre have raised the bar, particularly in terms of open ended gamplay and plot, NGII just felt tired from what I saw, perfectly linear, with nothing other than a graphics update an a few new moves that will dazzle you for an hour before getting boring.

The fact that everyone in the game still wear glossy black suits with china-doll faces means that the graphical improvements aren't all that apparent either.

Re:Yawn (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477174)

Yeah, I agree that the video was boring, but the game was never really about great graphics, plot, or a sandbox world. It basically optimized the first for framerate and for artistry and swept the other two largely aside. The game was 100% about gameplay: the fighting system is probably the deepest single-player fighter available, and possibly the greatest fighting system period if you exclude games that rely heavily on combo-mashing (Soul Calibur).

It doesn't surprise me that the video was so boring when a viewer can't appreciate the skill or depth involved in the fighting and all you see is whirling blades and blood flying everywhere.

Re:Yawn (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477190)

Ninja Gaiden doesn't need to go down the open-ended route. I think criticizing a game because of a lack of open-ended gameplay isn't really fair because open-ended gameplay doesn't magically improve the game. Look at a Assassin's Creed, while the game is open-ended and has introduced some interesting gameplay aspects, most gamers and critics agree that there is something missing and the sheer fun factor just isn't there. I personally enjoyed NG much more. I think a game can be great or horrible regardless if it's open, linear, or mixed. The important part is if it's executed well. If NG got any more open-ended then it is now, it wouldn't feel the same. Ninja Gaiden has always been about challenging, own-the-shit-out-of-your-enemies-with-badass-ninja-skills, gameplay. I think changing that recipe would only damage the franchise.

Re:Yawn (-1, Flamebait)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23478422)

Ninja Gaiden is no more supposed to be an "open-ended, story-driven" game than Mario Kart is. It's not an Elder Scrolls game, after all ^_^ It's NINJA FREAKING GAIDEN, where you are a ninja that KILLS EVERYTHING.

The graphics are great. They're not as detailed and gritty as Gears, or as visually inspiring as Oblivion, but the action is fluid, the blood viscosity is noticeable (yay Itagaki and his "priorities" T_T), the ninpo effects are fantastic, and Hayabusa looks the way he's supposed to.

Glossy black suits and "china doll" faces doesn't mean ANYTHING about graphics, by the way. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children had plenty of both and looked fantastic.

Not sure how, as a NG fan, you'd be bored by NG2 footage, but whatevs. I've been paying attention mostly to enemy designs and Ryu's animations, and I'm happy with what I've seen.

Regarding the camera (being the article's main gripe)... it's a good freaking camera! I don't know why people had issues with it in the XBox game. Frankly I believe it's because they're n00bs. The game is astonishingly fast-paced and the "optimal viewing angle" changes several times PER SECOND, and I'd say the camera does a FAR better job of managing than any other game's camera system could ever hope to do. God of War's and DMC's cameras ... they're jokes in comparison, but they don't have to be as good because they're not dealing with anything nearly as dynamic.

So, yeah. People that complain about NG's camera are IMO not worthy of playing the games in the first place. Ninja Gaiden is to other action games what Sasuke is to American Gladiators. Yes, that is elitist. And that's ok because NINJAS ARE ELITE, mofos!

Re:Yawn (1)

FornaxChemica (968594) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480742)

The Ninja Gaiden series not story-driven ? I beg to differ. The original one on NES was supported by lengthy cinematics and a rather complex narrative [1up-games.com] involving an ancestral demon, CIA agents and a quest for revenge. Sure, in the end it came out as a quirky mix of B movie plots but compared to Sega's Shinobi and Taito's Legend of Kage it had a plotline full of twists and turns. Yeah, I know, the 80's are well over.

Re:Yawn (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480988)

There IS a story, but the gameplay is not story-driven. You can basically test this like so: ignore all of the story scenes and check if you know what to do next regardless. If you do, the gameplay isn't story-driven in the sense that I used the term. An example of story-driven gameplay would be Final Fantasy XII or Oblivion (among many others), where if you weren't exposed to the story you would not know how to proceed.

There's no clear line in all of this, of course, but that's what I meant when I said Ninja Gaiden isn't story-driven.

Sounds like (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476004)

they just made the game harder, the first one was impossible. I got about half way trough and gave up myself, I could never beat the giant dino skeleton. It's good to hear that it will be amazing looking, not that I ever doubted that it wouldn't, I wonder what they will do in multiplayer.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476268)

I made it to the later pterodactyl thing before eventually giving up. That game was really very cool but was definitely the hardest game I ever played for any extended period of time on the original XBox. (The zombie archers were created by Satan to remind everyone why jumping puzzles are evil). I kept saying I'd go back to it but never did, partly because I knew that whatever beast lies at the end of the game is probably so difficult I'd have a hard time not sending my controller through the television in utter frustration. I'd punish myself again with the sequel, even if the camera is wonky, but I don't quite hate myself enough to buy a 360.

Re:Sounds like (2, Informative)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476416)

Actually the final boss is comparatively easy, especially if you've saved up some magic bottles. Spamming Ninpo (fire on the first form, lightning on the second) pretty much does it.

The toughest enemy in the game is, oddly enough, tiny little ghostly fish that swim around in mid-air in between serious battles. They are pure evil.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481086)

The ghost pirahnas are pure evil, BUT YOU CAN FARM THEM FOR $$$$ so I forgive them and honestly they're a joke if you just do air attacks non-stop.

The most annoying enemies in the game are probably the cat warriors in Ninja Gaiden Black, and the Black Spider Clan ninjas in the original version with their explosive shurikens.

As far as tough bosses go, I'll submit Alma #1 and Doku #1 and #2 as the most difficult enemies, especially on the higher difficulty levels. On Master Ninja even the first boss is bad, heh.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481666)

True -- but by that point, if you're into farming, you should already have done it with the bats in the sewer entrance. Alma #1: definitely. The Dokus I never had much trouble with. Murai Master Ninja is indeed a very tough fight, but then, what isn't. The skeletal pteradactyl thingy that comes after the ruins and just before the moat always gave me enormous difficulty. I still don't know how to fight him effectively.

The Black Spider Ninjas and dancing cat things are tough but fair, IMO. Learning to fight them is satisfying. Not so much with the ghost fish.

Re:Sounds like (1)

omfpe (1168715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23643183)

Those zombie archers were tough. But if you blocked at the right time and wall jumped right, you could make it, take out each one in turn while not getting knocked off, and get up. It only took me about 10 tries. One of the big problems I had was that the saves were too far apart for a game that hard. I'm at the point in chapter 15 where you have to fight 3 mini-bosses + minions in a row, then take on the level boss creature (not the emperor). It takes like 15 or 20 minutes to beat them all, and then I die on the boss b/c i didn't save enough health bottles during the rest of the game. I've done that like 20 times. Really. There were some bosses I died somewhere north of 30 times fighting. And it's not like I'm terrible at the game. I just wouldn't have much health left by the time I got to them. I've died literally hundreds of times playing that game, which is the only one I can say that about.

Re:Sounds like (1)

rbf2000 (862211) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476692)

I consider myself a casual gamer, but I didn't find Ninja Gaiden to be all that difficult, at least not compared to the original NES version (I could at least beat the Xbox version...).


Ironically, the most difficult boss in the game for me was the first one.

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476824)

The toughest enemy in the first game was the camera. Seriously. I didn't find the game difficult until the camera continuously got in my way. That's when I gave up.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477094)

Really? I played through the game several times, and then several times again when they released Ninja Gaiden Black, and I never found the camera irritating. Maybe part of it is that Ryu is such a defensive powerhouse that you can typically roll into a room and hold block and be safe while you adjust the camera, scratch an itch, make a sandwich, whatever, until you're ready to start engaging. This is less true when fighting bosses, but then again, the camera is basically set for you when you fight bosses.

It was a very interesting game. Of say 40 hours of play time, you're probably holding block for 30, even as you roll around and perform certain moves.

Re:Sounds like (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23492768)

The toughest enemy in the first game was the camera.
Really? I played through the game several times, and then several times again when they released Ninja Gaiden Black, and I never found the camera irritating...hold block and be safe while you adjust the camera, scratch an itch, make a sandwich...

The first release of Ninja Gaiden didn't give you any ability to adjust the camera. At all. If you had an xbox live account, they later patched it so that you could, and Ninja Gaiden Black contained those patches. I quit playing the game because of the camera angle (I didn't have an xbox live account, so I never got the patches), but have since played Ninja Gaiden Sigma and had a lot of fun.

The reason they patched it in the first place was because people were complaining so much about the lack of camera control. I can't understand why they would try to control the camera for the player again, they should have learned their lesson. Unless the lesson they learned was, "we can sell the same game again later, the way people actually want to play it, and call it Ninja Gaiden II Black."

Re:Sounds like (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488626)

I had a similar experience in Devil May Cry 3, it's just hopeless to fight a boss when the camera refuses to show you anything. I got stuck at the flying worm thing in the tower (that's the second level or so) because it was simply not possible to make the camera show the bullets the player is supposed to deflect in time.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477964)

Most games nowadays baby everyone. Old-school games were nigh-unbeatable. The NES Ninja Gaidens were ridiculously hard, far harder than the XBox Ninja Gaiden on anything but Ninja Master difficulty. It's a good thing the new Ninja Gaiden games aren't total pushovers like most every other game out there; we truly hardcore gamers are still out there.

Anyway, the XBox Ninja Gaiden was NOT impossible. Far from it. The two skeletal bosses were easier than some others in the game, anyway. I don't think NG2 will be any more difficult, either.

Re:Sounds like (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23484082)

Most games nowadays baby everyone. Old-school games were nigh-unbeatable.
We have a term for this. It's called "being a fun game", as opposed to "a clusterfuck of difficulty which is there just so that a chosen few can stroke their e-peens". The punishing difficulty of the old days is gone for a very good reason, and good riddance to it. Challenge is fine, but too many games back in the day (and Ninja Gaiden is another example today) cross the line into frustration. That's bad.

Re:Sounds like (0, Flamebait)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23486374)

Dude seriously if Ninja Gaiden for XBox was so hard it honestly frustrated you, then just go play easier games and don't complain about it. Not all games need to be designed for people with poor coordination/reflexes. Yes it's harder than most other games out there. No that's not a bad thing. Plus there's a "ninja dog" level of difficulty for people who think "normal" is a "clusterfuck of difficulty" lol

Ask a Ninja (0)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476036)

Perhaps they were merely taking inspiration from the choppy Jump Cut camera work prevalent in the Ask a Ninja podcast.

xbox only (2, Funny)

whtmarker (1060730) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476082)

It is an XBox 360 game only, so we can only expect it to be 'full featured' and on par with what consumers 'really want'.

In other news, the Wii is about to outsell the xbox, while the xbox360 has been available for twice the time.

Re:xbox only (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477706)

Are you asking for a Wii port, or just being snarky for snarky's sake?

Re:xbox only (1)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477790)

So?

Where are all the great games for the Wii utilizing the Wiimote? Metroid Prime 3 was what Wii games should be like. This constant talk about the Wii outselling the 360 is a moot point. Yes no sh*t it's outselling the 360, but tell me why software sales go to the 360 every month??

Re:xbox only (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23485956)

Uh, how is this relevant? I'm as much of a Wii believer as anyone, and it's the only next-gen console I currently own, but that just has nothing to do with anything.

The issue of the camera cuts across systems and video game genres (though some are more dependent than others). I would think that the sequel to one of the most highly praised, skill intensive, and popular console games ever having major camera problems wouldn't exactly lead directly to "THE WII IS AWESOME, SCREW THE XBOX!!!" Nintendo has its own serious camera problems in flagship games (Mario Sunshine? Mario Galaxy? As much as I love the hell out of you both, I'm talking about you) as does Sony.

Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476140)

Ninja Gaiden 2 has worse camera problems than previous NG games with mediocre graphics - and the obligatory ridiculously fake marketing shots

Too Human has turned out to be the poster child of fiascos. Should be a lesson to other developers to just release their game, let it fail, and move on to better projects. This disaster of a game has been going on since PS1 days.

Banjoo Kazooie has turned out to be massive letdown with the inane 80 percent vehicle crap instead of the classic platformer that so many bought the orignal N64 games for. Stick a fork in Rare, people need to finally wake up to the fact that the people who made Rare great back in the N64 days are long gone.

Fable 2 looks like another 'meh' after the usual pie in the sky claims by Lionhead. Microsoft needs to get these guys to come out with a fun game and not something that is based on silly gameplay gimmicks that sound impressive in interviews.

And Gears of War 2 was met with howls of disappointment. A minor upgrade to the outdated Unreal Engine and the same old broken halfassed P2P networking code.

Three years into a console's life and you would normally be seeing graphical masterpiece with incredibly polished gameplay. 2008 is look more like launch quality rushed out the door titles for the 360.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476804)

Three years into a console's life and you would normally be seeing graphical masterpiece with incredibly polished gameplay.
Grand Theft Auto?

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476920)

Notice he was talking about exclusives. GTA4 was also released on the ps3.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477010)

Ah, true. In that case, I'd say both Halo 3 and Oblivion were pretty solid, though admittedly not revolutionary.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (1)

Jthon (595383) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477408)

But Oblivion was also released on PC/PS3 and looks better on both of those.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481478)

Oh yeah -- forgot about that. Fair enough.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477912)

Listen PS3 fanboy. I own a PS3 and a 360, and I can tell you that the 360 has some absolutely beautiful games that blow away anything on the PS3 in terms of graphics, story, and fun. Drake's Fortune is about the only decent exclusive I've seen on my PS3, and it doesn't even begin to compare with titles like Bioshock, Mass Effect, Halo 3, or even Gears of War. And I haven't heard a "howls of disappointment" yet about any of the 360 games you mentioned (probably because none of them are even out yet).

In other words, get back under the bridge.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23478262)

LOL! elrous0 admitting to owning the worst console ever.

What a loser.

How many RRoD so far loser?

How many scratched/destroyed game discs loser?

How's your 200 dollar HD-DVD drive add on loser?

How's your shitty 50 dollar a year laggy P2P online loser?

How's your jet engine loud last gen DVD drive loser?

Fucking retard. Nothing but latently homosexual/homophobic fratboys give a shit about the basketcase of a console.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (0, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23479752)

Have a 360 that I bought in April 2006.

0 RROD's

0 scratched discs.

My $50 a year online service is great. Most of my friends are on it and I was able to play GTA4 online from day one, unlike my PSN friends. And I get achievements and a shitload of other features not available on PSN (and I've used both, so I should know)

My HD-DVD add-on drive only cost $130, lets me play a number of titles that aren't available on blu-ray (incl. the awesome Battlestar Galactica HD boxset), and allowed me to get a number of great deals recently when HD-DVD discs were on clearance. It even gives me the bonus of a low-footprint drive that can be moved over next to the couch with a simple USB 2.0 extension cable.

As for sound, both my 360 and PS3 are perfectly quiet (especially compared to the computer server in my setup)

How does your PS3 look from so far up Sony's ass?

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23485814)

Gosh I bet you get all the girls.

Re:Microsoft Exclusive Train Wreck For The 360 (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23484240)

Bioshock was never an exclusive, and Gears of War/Mass Effect are no longer exclusives. The 360 is fine, but it doesn't have the huge exclusive edge everyone says it does.

thats what I was expecting (2, Informative)

Nyall (646782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476348)

In the previous one whenever you go through a door, once on the other side the camera is no longer behind you. The camera now faces you with the door behind you. Really wonderful if you enter a room full of enemies that you can't see.

Crap like that makes me want to kill a kitten. (new favorite catch phrase)

Re:thats what I was expecting (3, Funny)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476790)

Crap like that makes me want to kill a kitten.
Not sure that means what you think it means: definition [urbandictionary.com] . Unless camera angles turn you on ;-)

Re:thats what I was expecting (1)

Nyall (646782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23479864)

Yes I did know that it originated from God killing a kittens out of anger over masturbation. I'm surprised its degenerated into a euphemism for masturbating. From now on I shall use '... makes me want to eat toby' but that might be a bit too vague.

Re:thats what I was expecting (1)

Derek Loev (1050412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23486684)

Want to watch me kill kittens?

More info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476442)

Wikipedia has more Nija Gaiden II info. [wikipedia.org]

Old complaint (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476484)

Reviewers hated the camera in the first xbox Ninja Gaiden game too. Its not particularly helpful if left to do its thing, but NG1 had a button that snapped the camera directly behind you. Manipulating the camera was second nature by the time level 2 rolled around, so fans of the first game should have no trouble here.

Stop Polluting the Namespace! (2, Insightful)

celest (100606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477442)


This is Ninja Gaiden II [wikipedia.org] !

Yeesh. Didn't we learn our lesson [wikipedia.org] over decade ago?

Re:Stop Polluting the Namespace! (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477806)

The only lesson that we've learned over the years is that the Japanese can't count worth a fuck.

Xbox Ninja Gaiden is a reboot. (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480338)

As far as Team Ninja is concerned, the NES Ninja Gaiden games are a separate series. Why do you think Irene Lew wasn't in the first Xbox Ninja Gaiden?

I already beat this decades ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23477502)

I don't remember the camera ever being a problem. It scrolled just as well as most other NES games, if not better, actually.

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490204)

There IS a story, but the gameplay is not story-driven. You can basically test this like so: ignore all of the story scenes and check if you know what to do next regardless. If you do, the gameplay isn't story-driven in the sense that I used the term. An e

This is a PREVIEW not a REVIEW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23498112)

This article is based on a preview build of the game and is not a review as written on Slashdot.
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