Well, it certainly takes me back does Ninja Gaiden II
. Back in time to a more gentle age when things like plot were dangled around the place to make the development team feel that they were achieving something artful during crunch time when what they were actually doing was achieving something visceral and fun.
I understand that I should be enjoying the plot of NGII
though. I understand this due to the fact that I am unable to skip any of the cut scenes. This is akin to having to take your sexual partner out to dinner, pretend that you then enjoy the film afterwards, pretend that you didn't find her best friend attractive and/or incredibly shallow, pretend that you are interested in her family and/or horse and finally pretend that you don't realise she's having exactly the same dilemmas - and doing this every time you want to have sex... despite the fact that you've been living with each other for six years!
I don't enjoy unskippable cutscenes or pointless mating traditions. They stop me from getting to my enjoyment.
The emotionally distressed creative director of NGII unit, Team Ninja, Tomonobu Itagaki
should realise that if you want to make a supremely fast, button-mashing head-fuck of a game you shouldn't also try to go too over the top with the plot. Also, if you do want to go over the top with the plot, don't expect to force everybody else to go over the top with you - that way leads to the troops deserting, just ask everybody who was in World War I when you meet them.
Talking of 'button mashing' - at least Team Ninja has the good grace to actually include the phrase 'Mash Buttons' in the tutorial stages. Bless their hearts for that.
Anyway, back to the super-fast, mind-crushing, finger-bleeding combat (that's the bit that will go on the billboard, kids). That's what takes me back. It's crazy nonsense like the first time I heard Pinhead
by The Ramones or the first time I played Exploding Fist
In 20 years time, people will walk into a gaming museum with Heavenly Sword
and Ninja Gaiden II
displayed next to each other and a sign saying, "From this to this in less than a year, what's with that?". Well, it would if I was the curator.
How dare I compare the two!? Easy really, the one reminds me of the other. In fact, I think that Heavenly Sword
looks better. But it has to be said that Nariko's battling fury is training wheels in comparison to Ryu Hayabusa's journey from Acolyte to Master Ninja.
Seriously, this is not for the type of gamer who wants to spot achievements bouncing up on screen every few minutes as kills fall with easy rapidity. The difficulty of NGII
is all about speed: yours and your enemies.
The latter also have the slight advantage of being able to spawn all over the place with little rhyme or reason. Also, just because you think that you've killed them - or at least slowed them down with the tremendous loss of blood they (but strangely not you) suffer all day, every day - does not actually mean that you have killed them. They - like demons shouldn't - do not play by the rules.