Shinobi: Is Less Truly More?

When an attack hits the enemy, he dies – it should be as simple as that… yet it rarely is. Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, when describing the look and feel of his designs, noted the motto “less is more”. He used only the absolute necessities, with each part of his constructs having more than a single use. It is a working method that lives in all crafts, so what about Action Games?

With each game we’ve been looking for the depth, the variation, the combination of attacks and how it all works in complex ways to motivate us: but what if a game strove to do the opposite, how would that work? Maybe 忍Shinobi for the Playstation 2 is one such game.

As a series 忍Shinobi has been a long running SEGA franchise. While not as big as Sonic The Hedgehog, it has had nine titles released before Overworks took the series in a new direction hoping to leave a mark on the newly released Sega Dreamcast. Focusing on a new character and world this title was to usher in a new era of action games. Sadly due to the downfall of the Dreamcast, production was shifted to the Playstation 2 resulting in a delayed release. In the meantime Devil May Cry would instead make its mark on the genre, leaving 忍Shinobi to finally release one year later in November of 2002, greeted by silence.

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Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise

When giving a product form, one always envisions an audience in their mind’s eye. One that will later look at it with great desire. On rare occasions though, that desire isn’t from a single big audience but from various smaller groups. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise (Hokuto ga Gotoku, 北斗が如く) is one such title. Based on the manga from 1983 by artist Tetsuo Hara, writer Yoshiyuki “Buronson” Okamura and editor Nobuhiko “Mad Holy” Horie, The Fist of the North Star brand is a property that enjoys big popularity across the world, thanks in part to its highly detailed, gorey and powerful artwork, especially for a weekly comic. With a new game on the horizon, made by Ryu ga Gotoku Studios – known for the Yakuza a series – for such a famous franchise, people from numerous fan bases were bound to be interested. They are…

Weapon-switching | quality or quantity?

When a review begins by saying: “the game lacks combat-options or depth”, it is generally the first one nail in the coffin for action titles, while it often isn’t even the case. A mechanic like allowing the player to switch between weapons, abilities or even complete move-sets on the fly has to fit the vision of the game to be work. Thus it needs careful consideration. Games like Bayonetta offer a huge variety of weapon combinations to the player, while others like Killer is Dead only have a single weapon. One can assume the former is better but it goes much further than that.