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Ranking Systems in Action Games | what style fits what?

Ranking up is man’s way of moving up in the world. From getting to a higher rank in a martial art to a higher position in the military, going from Junior to Senior at work and even advancing to higher grades at schools as early as 1785, it is a universal concept that has been around forever. Your rank denotes where you stand compared to your kinsmen and how well you’ve performed, while also giving you insight in how to improve and setting a higher goal for your future endeavours. Games as a whole have tracked scores since the first board games, with players trying to beat each other in the least amount of moves possible. This transferred to videogames, only to become more complex in its score-boarding as technology advanced and allowed for more creative scoring systems. It was in 1989 that games like Golden Axe (ゴールデンアックス, Gooruden Akkusu) started using a letter-based grade scoring system. Aside from holding a tally of points, the player would be given a letter based grade at the end based on how he performed. This gave players an even clearer goal to strive towards in arcades, promoting replayability while also emptying more pockets. Ever since then, ranking systems have been present throughout gaming, yet it is a mechanic that isn’t often analyzed beyond the bare basics (link to mark brown video) or otherwise highly scientific (link paper); and neither focuses purely on Action games. So with our sights set mostly on the Action Hack and Slash genre: how do ranking systems operate, what kinds are there, how do they differ from point systems and what exactly makes a good ranking system?
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忍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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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.