When ‘Mark of the Ninja’ Clicks

I’m rather thankful that Klei Entertainment decided not to or rather the deal they had with Microsoft didn’t preclude them from publishing elsewhere than the Xbox 360 for a long time. Us PS3 users are used to waiting a long time for exclusivity agreements to expire. But PC always seems to be different than PS3 in this regard.

Now I was a little late in getting around to it and I’ve been hearing about it for months from ever outlet and podcast. I even did a preview of the game back at PAX East. So I was really hyped to sit down and plow through the game.

I liked it well enough, but I wasn’t getting the excellent ninja simulator that I was promised. It played more like a slow paced side-scroller than anything else. And then it clicked. Sometimes a game looks so much or acts so much like a preconceived genre that comes with its own implications and mindset. Mark of the Ninja demands a different mindset than we’re used to, especially in a 2D platformer/brawler.

It’s a difficult to describe experience what your brain is going through when something clicks like that. It’s enlightening and enthralling at the same time. My eyes also did some weird auto refocusing as if they wanted to get into the metaphor business as well.

Also, it’s nice to see that I did end up having an effect on the game. The first level, which they were demoing at PAX, allowed me to skip over half of the obstacles by doing what I thought a ninja would do. Head to the roof and keep going up and over. The developer who was with me remarked he didn’t realize you could do that and had to described to me what I had missed, including a mission update. You can’t do that in the published version. They make it so the screen wont scale up with you and then put a ledge so you can’t keep climbing.

The other thing I learned from writing this post in particular is that I should stay as far away from New Games Journalism style malarkey as possible. I’m just not that good at it. In any case, saunter on over to PopMatters and read my attempts to described my mind clicking into place.

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