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Ninja Gaiden Discussion (Game and Tournament)


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There's a Ninja Gaiden playable demo in the current issue of some Xbox magazine we sell at work (sorry, I don't remember the mag's name). Gameplay movies look so good that I was really excited to play it.

 

The moves are cool but the camera is a deal breaker for me. Like so many games in this genre (Devil May Cry, Onimusha) the camera is not controlled by the user. There were several instances where the camera blocked my view to the point where I couldn't see enemies or where the path was leading. Tecmo uses a fairly innovative method of trying to fix the camera problem by using the right analog stick. The moment you touch the right stick the game shifts to first person mode. It would be pretty cool for a slower paced game but it kind of takes away from the game a bit.

 

It's only a demo so I still hold out hope for the final release. Honestly, though I despise action games with fixed cameras. Fixed cameras are a cheap way for a developer to control the scene. If you can't create a fully interactive scene and still provide the tension and effect of a fixed camera you shouldn't bother releasing the game. It's a tough stance but I will not support that "same old, same old" style of game making.

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Unfortunately, I agree completely.

 

I was really looking forward to playing this demo, but the camera system absolutely ruins the experience. The game is beautiful, and the action is great, but if I can't see either because the stupid camera is busy checking out the nearest wall, what's the point?!

 

I can't see myself spending the $50 on this game after playing the demo.

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I agree with the camera angles and what not but really... Just because the camera is off does that mean that you going to pass up what seems to be a great looking game? Think about it, at first the camera angles bothers everyone, but soon you'll get use to it (though I shouldn't speak for everyone, but at least I get use to it quickly). You should try the demo a couple of more times to see if you can get passed the bad camera angles! B.T.W. what are your thoughts on Tenchu: Return From Darkness?

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If I can live with the constant frustration that was the camera in PoP, I'm sure I can live with the camera in NG. Even with the camera issues in PoP, I enjoyed the hell out of it (still playing actually), and I'm willing to overlook camera problems if the game is fun. -RUFFNECK

 

You see.... If the game is fun then really you shouldn't be arguing about the camera that much... After postin my last message in this thread, I sat down and played the game again, this time with the numbchucks... I had so much fun with them... I recommend them just to have some fun in the room where the ninjas come out of the walls! I still think it would make a good game besides the camera angle!

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I made the mistake of playing the Tenchu demo right after a lengthy session with the Gaiden demo. There's no way the slow-moving ninja of Tenchu can compare to the fast and deadly ninja of Gaiden.

 

And I've never been a fan of the Tenchu series. Always saw them as poor-man's Metal Gear Solids with some big technical problems. Just my opinion, though.

 

 

 

I'm sure I'll go back and play the Gaiden demo again before I give up completely, but there's nothing I hate more than being killed by a shitty camera.

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I'm not terribly interested in Ninja Gaiden aside from having something new to rent, but I will add to this thread that the demo is about 3 months or so old. From reports, the game was delayed from it's Decmeber release primarily to continue work on the camera. It may be better in the final release.

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the game was delayed from it's Decmeber release primarily to continue work on the camera. It may be better in the final release. -DAVE

 

 

Lets hope so... Even though I'll get it regardless!!! I like the game!

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There's no way the slow-moving ninja of Tenchu can compare to the fast and deadly ninja of Gaiden.

 

Two completely different styles of games with two completely different objectives. as you said though, you're not a fan of the Tenchu series so I can see how you would dislike it as compared to Ninja Gaiden.

 

I have yet to play this demo so I cannot comment on its quality but I will say that anyone who is interested in the old school style of gameplay ala the original NES Gaiden titles I highly recommend Nightshade on the PS2. Much like the original Ninja Gaiden titles and such the game is all about timing your jumps/attacks and a certain "flow" that you get into while playing the game (For me it was easy to "zone out" in the original three Ninja Gaiden titles and just get into a rythym while playing. Nightshade is very very simliar).

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Just played the demo! Let me be the sole advocate of the camera system.

 

I think everyone's responses to the camera are a little overstated. I say this simply because the gameplay was obviously developed with the camera in mind. Every move is targeted toward the nearest enemy, sort of an auto-lockon. This seems to work really really well, particularly with the camera. If the camera where over the shoulder, I think we'd all be throwing up immediately after every action sequence.

 

I too can't stand bad cameras. And I think that NG's camera would be terrible if applied to other gameplay mechanics, like a Mario game for example. But I believe that the gameplay and camera work well together. The most frustrating camera mechanic is when an erratic camera causes you to mis-jump to your death. I haven't come across this yet in NG. In fact, the left trigger centering and FP mode seem quite effective.

 

I think that IGN, and many other outlets haven't brought up the camera because they think the camera is innovative and transparent once you learn how to play the game. I recall that they and other magazines were applauding the camera system for almost a year. I think I understand why.

 

However, I have read MANY complaints about the camera system by average joes like us in response to the demo. So I seem to be in the minority, but I think this game just might be my favorite 3D action game to date. We'll see, I have a lot more demo playing left.

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Every move is targeted toward the nearest enemy, sort of an auto-lockon. This seems to work really really well, particularly with the camera.

 

I disagree. I had several enemy encounters where the camera blocked my view of an attacker. Other times I had lopped off the head of an attacker I didn't even know was there.

 

I think your premise is solid. The game's moves are intended to be designed around the camera. I just don't see it working well enough to warrant my attention. Still, it's just the demo.

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So, what kind of camera system are the detractors advocating? Not having played the demo, I can't comment. I for one despise behind the character camera angles in action games. They take away any cinematic appeal the action may have had and leave a game feeling generic. For a perfect example of this, see Shinobi(PS2). Well done semi-fixed camera angles add a lot of personality and artistic direction to a game. In games like Rygar(PS2) and Castlevania(PS2), the camera angles add to the atmosphere without getting in the way.

 

My educated guess from screenshots is that the NG camera problems stem from the camera being too close to the action. There is a balance to be struck here. Too far and you feel detached from the action, as in some segments of Rygar and Castlevania. Too close and enemies hit from off screen, as in some parts of Devil May Cry. I like being up close and personal with the enemies, so I'm sure NG will suit me just fine.

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They take away any cinematic appeal the action may have had and leave a game feeling generic. For a perfect example of this, see Shinobi(PS2).

 

I think the camera in Shinobi has little do with the game feeling generic. The fact that the environments are as plain as they could possibly be is far more the culprit than any camera system implemented in the game. However you also mention Castlevania which also suffers from a very real sense of generic due to its complete lack of solid level design, again regardless of the camera implemented.

 

I personally feel a behind the shoulder (and thusly user operated camera) can be both cinematic, functional and keep the game interesting. For an example of this take a look at Otogi or its sequel (which I know you have Bling) or the recent Metal Arms. Even with Otogi as an example the faster pace of that game caused the camera to have problems keeping up with the ensuing chaos and that is fundamentally an issue with the action genre post-Devil May Cry IMHO. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that damn near every action game since has been nothing but a Devil May Clone (with some exceptions of course) and developers at this point seem to have a hard time letting go of that cinematic camera and exploring more intuitive solutions.

 

I certainly understand your examples and your argument that a "cinematicam" can definitely bring a sense of style and add a more "Hollywood" like touch but I believe a happy medium can be achieved when developers let go of the current trends that have all but killed any level of progression in the action genre.

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We've had camera problems since Mario 64 -the industry should have evolved this element of game design beyond it's current state. Which is to say, it hasn't really evolved since the first days of the N64.

 

I think a behind the back camera can be fine (see Metal Arms for a perfect example of it working). However, the Ninja Gaiden team obviously wanted a closer more cinematic feel for the battle sequences. They also wanted to use the camera angle to their advantage in terms of mood and storytelling. By placing the camera in a fixed location they can dictate exactly what the player is able to see. They can use that to great effect to scare us or advance the story at their pace.

 

That sort of camera can work well in a game like Fatal Frame but doesn't translate well to the action genere, IMO. Fixed cameras trade player control for drama. I think action game designers should strive for both. More effort should be invested into developing "smart cameras" specifically tailored to action games.

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More effort should be invested into developing "smart cameras" specifically tailored to action games.

 

And lots of people are investing that time. The problem is that it's really freaking hard :) There's been a lot of work on automatically generated cameras for in-game cinematics recently, and even that requires a good old hand tweaked solution to get the desired effect.

 

Think about it in terms of an action movie, which is what the designers tend to be wanting their camera to emulate with all these fixed points: every single shot is decided upon & set up by a human beforehand with complete knowledge of what's going to happen in the shot. Games don't have that luxury.

 

There's some good articles about automatic cinema cameras on GamaSutra (note, free reg required, but it's well worth it just for the postmortems on there).

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20030108.../hawkins_01.htm

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20030110.../hawkins_01.htm

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Just played the demo and i thought the camera totally sucked. Hopefully, it's better in the full version but i won't know til i rent it first.

 

A bit off topic but has anyone had trouble playing ESPN baseball game on the demo? I get audio but no video. Damn, I was really looking forward to trying this one out.

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I hate to say it, but the detractors are being kind to this demo. It reeks. I was extremely disoriented as I kept switching into and out of the first-person view.

I also got hung up when bumping into the cliff walls - kind of like a fly on flypaper. I spent 30 minutes in the demo, shut down my Xbox, and called Gamestop to cancel my pre-order. I do understand a demo may not be representative of the final gameplay, but it was enough to scare me off.

 

Come on Pandora Tomorrow!

 

Angel, I believe the ESPN Baseball demo is 720p. I was using a 480i/480p input on my Samsung and could not see it either. I'm going to switch to a 720p input to play it tonight!

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I finally got the latest OXM so I'll give the demo a try later tonight...I'm pretty picky about cameras myself, so I'm going into it with lowered expectations.

 

I think it's already been mentioned here that the game was delayed to tweak the camera, so hopefully people keep that in mind. (I predict the game will sell well anyway, but I hate to see people missing out on the game because of the demo...if that's the case)

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I hate to say it, but the detractors are being kind to this demo. It reeks. I was extremely disoriented as I kept switching into and out of the first-person view.

 

I am still very interested in playing demo because there seems to be so much for me to learn and get better at as far as gameplay is concerned. So I am very engaged, thinking about how much more fun it will be as I learn to more efficiently jump/slash/throw, etc. This game feels like 'DOA3 Adventure'. And I'm having fun exploring the fighting system.

 

All that being said, this demo is the same demo that was playable at E3 I believe. I'm sure the game has evolved since then, but I doubt the camera or view modes will change.

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Brian, you're absolutely right. I'll it rent instead to see if the camera issue has been improved.

Angel, I believe the ESPN Baseball demo is 720p. I was using a 480i/480p input on my Samsung and could not see it either. I'm going to switch to a 720p input to play it tonight!

Oh great. Now how do I go about changing to 720p? I'm afraid of undoing what Gregg Lowen did when calibrating my set. :(

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