Posted on September 17, 2012 AT 03:44pm
In Mark of the Ninja Klei Entertainment has put together a slick and streamlined stealth action title that fans of the genre and new-comers alike will enjoy. Rather than forcing the player to figure out their path through trial and error like some entries in the stealth genre, Mark of the Ninja communicates very clearly what parts of your plan will and will not work.
The 2D platform laden screen contains a glut of information aimed at streamlining what was once clumsy. Sonar-like pulses radiant from footsteps clearly showing what can be heard by your foes. The sight lines not only of yourself but of your opponents are visible with Mark of the Ninja going so far as to blur areas that from you vantage point could not be seen were you actually in the soft shoes of your on screen ninja avatar. There is also no grey area (literally) in the manipulation of light and shadow, you are either clearly visible in the light or completely submerged in the darkness. But the cues go deeper. Button prompts appear all over the place indicating which pieces of the environment can be interacted with and how to initiate that interaction. Sneaking up on a guard, wondering how to quietly take him down? Don’t worry Mark of the Ninja has you covered… with a button prompt. Well two button prompts actually. One to initiate the attack and another to make sure you’re awake through the kill. There are two types of stealth kills possible in Mark of the Ninja: one that is silent and another that isn’t. After following the prompt for the insta-kill another prompt shows up indicating a direction and button combination; failing the combo still results in an a satisfyingly sneaky kill but allows the victim to get out a screen before dying which of course will alert other guards in the vicinity to your location.
Mark of the Ninja may seem to some like it’s holding the players hand too much. An acceptable and expected opinion. ‘Hand-holding’ aside, Mark of the Ninja is deceptively challenging. In addition to the primary goal of each mission there are three secondary objectives which can really turn up the difficulty. The upgrade system in conjunction with the player’s decision making also serve to create challenge. Upgrading your attack from a shadowed doorway is all well and good, as long as you can plan a route through the mission area taking advantage of your skills *spoiler* sometimes you can’t!
With super satisfying stealth kills, very well thought out level design, and deeper than expected customization and challenge; Mark of the Ninja is a game that I would (and have) recommend to anyone… not kids, kids should not play this game. Mark of the Ninja is available now on the Xbox 360 for 1200 MS points.
Mark of the Ninja Gameplay
Mark of the Ninja Launch Trailer
Mark of the Ninja Announcement Trailer
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