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Mark of the Ninja - 360 & PC - 2D stealth - Metacritic 90 - Buy this game!


Timmo
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I've just finished this. I'd say it took me about 15 hours in total as I was really trying to play stealthily (whilst killing and hiding as many enemies as possible) and I can't fault it. It's probably the best XBLA game I've played (it helps being a big stealth game fan) and there's still loads I can improve on to perfect my scores, find scrolls I missed, objectives to complete, and try all the other ninja styles I unlocked plus the gadgets I never used. And then there's NG+ where, "You may start a new, more challenging game but keep all your gear and upgrades. Enemies will be deadlier, sound rings will not appear and you'll have a hard time seeing what's behind you".

I can't praise nor recommend this game enough.

And it only got an 8 in Edge :facepalm:

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Well, going by the old edge definition of 'revolutionary' or 'genre-defining', here we have a game that basically achieves what Ocarina of Time did back in they day. OoT took the 2D Zelda formula and rather brilliantly translated it into 3D, Mark of the Ninja takes it cues from the very best of 3D stealth (Tenchu with a bit of Thief and Arkham) and rather brilliantly translates it into 2D. Not only that, it improves the stealth gameplay in many ways, the most obvious of which is how there never has been a game with such tight controls in this genre. This empowers the player even further and enhances the basic stealth mechanics to no end, and this is on top of how brilliantly the player feedback is implemented, removing all frustration inherent to the genre while somehow avoiding any notion of being dumbed down. It does the impossible by appealing to both stealth fanatics like me and to gamers who don't care for stealth games alike, the stealth gameplay is just so much fun and the frustration so minimized, that I can recommend this game to anyone regardless of genre preferences. Even by the old edge definition of '10 out of 10' Mark of the Ninja would be a strong candidate for such a high accolade, never mind the current edge. While 8 is a very good score, it doesn't do the quality and inventiveness and the pitch-perfect gameplay justice at all. Mark of the Ninja is the best stealth game since Thief 2 and one of the highlights of this entire generation.

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Managed to hit 167th on the leader boards on one of the NG+ levels last night.

Lots of cheering around my front room when i did it, then the next level i just kept making stupid mistakes.

Strung a guy up, then went to rope to his ledge pressed the wrong button and knifed it.

And then the body landed on top of a dog which set it off a guard with a shield and a elite guard and i died horrifically.

LOL :(

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Great post by Gerbik.

My only 'disappointment' with the game is that if anything, it's a bit short. Having said that, it's to it's credit that it isn't unnecessarily beefed out with lots of repetition and filler but it would be nice (in a sequel) to have different traps to set perhaps and some more sneaky ninja moves.

It really should be an EDGE 10 because it is probably the tightest stealth game ever, it's the top of a genre. Having field of view in darkness as the little headlamps on the guard is genius. When I first worked out I could pop up between two guards facing each other to take out a third that was just outside their view and drop him off the ledge before one walked near was just joyous.

The challenge rooms are all well done as well.

Actually, the one other criticism is some of the voice overs, is it an Australian made game? Again though, it's an XBLA title so I imagine it had a relatively small budget. I can only think that this wasn't ready for Summer of Arcade because it's better than what I played of Deadlight and from what was said on here...

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I got around the awful Australian and Russian accents by pretending the game is an homage to those rubbish ninja action movies from the 1980s.

Regarding length, I think the main game + achievements took me 10 or 11 hours, and new game + will add a couple to that. I think that's more than respectable for a 2D downloadable game. Fingers crossed for some DLC though.

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I've been looking at the scoring in the game and trying to figure out what points are awarded for what. As we suspected, you'll get a lower end score if you get through the level without killing anyone. On the Tutorial level I've just done a silent/undetected/no alarms/no kills run and got a score of 35k whereas my best run involved stealth killing and I got just over 41k (32nd in the World!). There's still room for improvement though and I can get both scores higher once I've fully understood how to maximise the points for area.

You'll not get the highest scores on your first run through the game as you won't have all the gadgets/styles (or even a sword!) unlocked but you can replay any level (or indeed start a whole new game) with all your gear. This has nothing to do with NG+ which gives you all your gear and makes the game harder.

The scoring isn't complicated in itself - there's no multipliers or combos - but you will need to think about each area before you make your moves to ensure you do get the maximum points. For instance, just performing a Stealth Kill and moving on will net you 400pts however if you first get in a position where a guard walks by you or beneath you you'll get 200pts for being 'Undetected, then distract the guard (150pts), disable him with a smoke bomb+ (250pts), wait for him to wake up then Terrorise him (300pts), then kill him using a special move (600pts), then hide his body (250pts), you'll get a total score of 1750pts! You can't do all that for every guard though because an area may not have anywhere to hide a body or a ledge from which to hang from. You also may not be using Smoke Bombs which is another reason to plan a level out, i.e. what distraction/attack weapons best suit each area. Throw in the different Ninja Styles you can pick from (at the start of each level and at certain points mid-level) i.e. certain styles allow you to hold more distraction weapons, and you can see where the choices/replayabillity really comes into the game.

So far the list of points I've seen are:

Stealth Kill - 400 (kills from various hiding places have different names e.g. from a bin (Traitor's Coffin) or from a wall below (Emperor's Abyss)

Imprecise Kill - 200 (pushing the wrong direction when performing the kill)

Hangman's Hymn/Prowling Spider - 600 (these are special stealth kills that require specific features in the environment)

Guard Disabled - 250

Distraction - 150

Undetected - 200 (this is where you're hiding in a shadow (or hanging upside down) as a guard walks by you)

Guard Terrorised - 300

Object kill - 600 (e.g. dropping a chandelier onto a guard's head)

Ninja Tool Kill - 600 (using one of several attack gadgets you unlock)

Friendly Fire - 600

Hide Body - 250

Ninja Rescued - 500

Artifact Recovered - 500

Find Scroll - 1000

Power Disabled/Door Release - 200

Lock Picked - 250

Objective Completed - 1000

Challenge Room Completed - 1000

Once a level has been completed you can earn bonus scores depending on how you played:

- Undetected Bonus (400pts per guard) - I haven't figured this one out yet but I think it's awarded when you remain in shadows when a guard goes by (getting you the Undetected 200pts) and then don't kill him.

- Distracted Bonus (400pts per guard) - I think this is awarded for each guard you distracted with a Distraction gadget rather than shooting out lights or them hearing you.

- No Alarms Raised (3000pts)

- No Enemies Killed (5000)

Tips:

- Once you're done terrorising guards with the body of a guard you hanged earlier, make sure you cut him down using a dart and hide the body.

- You can use the sprint button to move faster up walls and across ceilings.

- Holding down the jump button makes you jump a bit higher/further than just tapping it.

- You only get points for distracting a guard once when, say, shooting out a bulb or him hearing your footsteps, however you can get a second Distraction award if you use one of your distraction gadgets, e.g a noise maker.

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It does seem a bit of a shame that you can 'cheat' the scoreboards to a degree, from what I've otherwise worked out and Karzee's handy summary, the best way to do it is get undetected for every dude, then distract (maybe twice), then do the most points kill, then hide the body, while finding all the other gubbins dotted about.

IMHO, the 'best' score should be all the collectibles and no alarms or detection at all, that would surely be more 'ninja'.

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Exactly, I'm not losing any sleep either, I think the game as is is bloody amazing, I was just mentioning the fact the leaderboards could be a bit better but it's nothing, the game is great, I don't want any of my casual mentions to be seen as big negatives. This game should be bought.

I know exclusives don't really happen with major releases but XBLA has had some fantastic exclusives of late. This and Trials HD would make me buy a 360 over a PS3 any day. Although no flower and journey is a shame...

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That's why I don't play for scores. I just play as ninja as possible. :)

Yeah I love how you're super powerful but very vulnerable if you go direct.

My favourite part so far was

killing the Corporal as he stalks around shouting for you to come at him. Instead you take out his snipers and drop the lights on him before finishing him off, no alarms tripped. Felt like a super badass.

This is almost my GOTY so far...

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