Kagerasimaru Interview | Master of the Ninja Arts

Kagerasimaru, or Kokoromaster to some, has been a force of nature in the Ninja Gaiden and Nioh communities and beyond. Offering strong advice and helpful video content for both new players and veterans alike! Despite a near eight hour time difference we managed to briefly talk to Kage about his passion: Action Games!

STINGER MAGAZINE: Welcome Kage! It doesn’t take more than one glance at your Youtube channel to see a strong emphasis on action titles, what pulled you into this genre compared to others?
KAGERASIMARU: I believe it was the moment I began playing the first Devil May Cry. That game opened up a lot of options and ideas to me as a player. I then slowly branched out to Ninja Gaiden and quickly realized just how amazing that series is. Especially Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is an action game milestone to me. I suffered a lot learning the game, beating “Path of the Master Ninja” difficulty as well as spending the time to practice and improve myself as a player.

Funny that you should mention Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, as your first set of videos cover that game. What prompted the sudden desire to record?
As I slowly began to get comfortable with the game I wanted to share the knowledge I had developed over the years with other players, so I could help them with overcoming the difficulty of “Path of the Master Ninja”. The videos offered entertainment, combos, as well as insight on how to approach enemies and bosses in an relatively easy way for players to use.

Is this also the main goal behind your videos, to inspire?
The goal behind my channel consists of a few things. Showing off isn’t something I do; I look at it as a means of teaching others new things and helping them overcome challenges. I’ve always loved being a helper and showing people new things – learning and advancing as I play. I have received a lot of messages from people that told me my videos have “inspired and motivated me to overcome or to press forward against the challenges ahead“. It’s a really great feeling when you have subscribers, followers or even just a new viewer comment and thank you for the videos because they helped them out.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 co-op

Having around 3000 subscribers, do subscriber and view numbers matter to you? If not, what does?
I’m mainly doing Youtube as a hobby, for fun. I like that people can use what I have made to help them overcome difficulty challenges as I mentioned before. Believe it or not I get most of my views from non-subscribers, but that’s completely fine with me. My whole goal is to help and if that’s the result of helping I’m all for it.

When we look at subscriber-count, the greatest action-game players in the genre are usually very un-famous outside the community, compared to the more casual players. Does this bother you?
I do get a bit bothered that a less skilled Youtuber gets more traffic then say someone like myself who has spent hours on a game improving. I feel like I understand why now. I believe people want to see others struggle in games because that’s the whole thing about challenging games is the struggle. Once you overcome it then you get this satisfaction. It still bugs me, but I guess its a personal thing.

Most of your content is without any form of commentary, do you prefer it this way?
I do like doing commentary, but it’s a thing I plan to hopefully improve and apply in the future. I believe it’s more of a computer restriction and saving money to get better equipment for recording – it’s a thing I’ve kept in mind for some time. I haven’t really received any complaints about my videos lacking commentary. Not trying to brag, but my videos for the most part do speak for themselves.

An example of an extremely helpful video by Kagerasimaru for Ninja Gaiden 3.

Speaking of, are there any channels or people in the community of action-games that you look up to?
Personally, XLHGladiator has always been an inspiration to me. His content is some of the most enjoyable gameplay I’ve came across. It’s skill and style at its finest. What really makes me appreciate him even more is the fact he doesn’t keep things to himself, if he learns of an advanced tactic he will make a video and share it to help others out. Another Youtuber I enjoy watching is TheSeraphim17. His commentary has nice tips, humor and enjoyment. He’s a solid player across all types of genres. I wouldn’t say he’s an inspiration, but when I need a laugh or a great time his videos always cheer me up.

What pulled you into the Action Hack & Slash community to begin with and where would you like to see it go in the future?
I guess I love hacking things and the enjoyment of pulling off combos. Its just too satisfying then say a shooting game. And I would like the Action Hack & Slash genre to continue on the same route and make improvements as it goes. I love a fun challenge as well as enjoying a great Action Hack & Slash with friends.

Looking deeper in your Youtube’s content we see a lot of Ninja Gaiden 3 – considered one of the worst titles in the franchise’s history – what is your take on it, having covered it so deeply? How does this opinion compare to its re-release of Razor’s Edge?
Being a huge Ninja Gaiden fan it was a no-brainer for me to cover it, I even received messages asking me if I was going to cover it. I began my journey like any other game, breaking it down slowly as I played. The game as a whole did some nice things, but there’s a lot of issues with the game. Some moves and animations were great and I wished they carried over to Razor’s Edge. Overall it was a different game. I honestly wouldn’t theoretically classify it as a Ninja Gaiden game too much, mainly because it was in the time where Team Ninja was trying something new to get feedback. Razor’s Edge did a lot of good that the original didn’t. It had a few more missions, three new characters to play as, new enemies and a few more bosses. I think it was a solid game, but again – it could have been better.

Aside from Ninja Gaiden 3, there’s DmC: Devil May Cry and God of War: Ascension on your Youtube – but no older titles. Did you play the classics like Devil May Cry 3, God of War 2 and Ninja Gaiden Black, how do you feel they compare to the more recent iterations?
I did play Devil May Cry 3, but I wasn’t very good at it haha. That was a game that didn’t click well with me like Ninja Gaiden did. It was pretty heavy doing inputs in a timely fashion. God of War 2 I enjoyed a lot. I never played Ninja Gaiden Black though due to never owning an Xbox, I have however played Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Sigma+ for the PS-Vita. I did enjoy those games. Solid titles.

Devil May Cry 3

Most of the time action-fans call NGB, DMC3 and GoW2 the ‘pillars’ of the genre – do you agree with this statement?
If we take a minute to think about it, these games are basically what started what we know and love today. I would agree.

Outside of these ‘pillars’ there are a ton of minor games in the genre ranging from Senran Kagura, Wet, Killer is Dead or even Batman – where you feel these stand?
I did enjoy Senran Kagura and had fun while it lasted. It was that type of game I would play continuously. It had its time to shine for me and the channel then I moved on. The others I didn’t play.

When we look deeper into the genre, there are usually two types of games. 覚えゲー(pronounced OH boe GHe) which means “remember the game” – games that are about bait and punish (Ninja Gaiden in a sense, Dark Souls etc.) and those that focus on offense like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta and God of War. Nioh is a bit in the middle. Which has your preference?
Having played Nioh since release as well as all the demos I am convinced this game is one of the greatest games I have ever played. Its got a lot going for it. There’s always something new to try out, new builds, new playstyles etc. I have played Ninja Gaiden a lot and appreciate it as well, but I feel I have exhausted the series until a new one is released.

High praise, calling Nioh one the greatest games you’ve ever played. Why?
The game to me is great and I can’t tell you how long its been since I’ve enjoyed a game this much. I’m closing in on 700 hours on this game and I don’t feel drained at all. Helping others on my friend-list or when i can start streaming again is a thing to me. I have gained so much support since I began uploading Nioh from my viewers. I want to give back to the community by either helping them through tough missions or if they just want to play with me for fun.

The game is infamous for its patches, changing content and properties on the fly. Smoke bombs are a good example, having been changed heavily from the Alpha Build to what we play today. What is your opinion on this?
I feel like the patches are good. They should continuously support the game. My one complaint of the current patch is the nerfs they apply across the board. They should tweak PvE and PvP separately. I personally like the game to improve as a whole. When they introduce new weapons why not give the older weapons new moves? Why not give us other shortcuts for skills. Another issue is why can’t we use some of the skills that are the same input. We as players love using the skills we earned through leveling etc. I would like it to have more options for skills shortcuts. [Stinger: this interview took place before the final two DLC’s hit, that added a lot of these ideas]

With Dark Souls came the advent of 30 frames per second (fps) into the genre, later solidified by DmC: Devil May Cry. Graphics and performance have rarely stood side by side, especially on consoles. Does the idea of a possible future of max resolution with 30 fps bother you?
For me personally, I prefer a steady 60 fps over graphics. When I play Nioh I play it in Action mode [Stinger: a mode that lowers the resolution of the game to allow for a stable 60 fps]. A game like this needs inputs to be on point. I personally feel the graphics look fine the way they are with Action mode.

Before we close off, right now: your #11 in your Top 10 favorite games? Go!
This one is tough. So many choices. I never really numbered games so its a bit tough to answer this one. I would probably say if i were to guess Nightshade on the Playstation 2 (known also as Kunoichi). Great game and it’s one I wouldn’t mind seeing making an epic return.

Kage, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview! If people want to get into contact with you, how can they reach you?
Thank you for your time and allowing me to share my journey with you. If people want to reach me then i would say via twitter @Kagerasimaru or PM me via Youtube.

斬 post-interview notes 斬

There we have it folks, thanks to Kage for having this sitdown. Personally it is always interesting for me to see inside the head of Youtubers and how they view the games that they play for our enjoyement or learning. Nightshade is an interesting choice for a game to note. Being a sequel to the very well constructed 忍Shinobi, this game tried to play to its original’s strengths while adding more complexity in available attacks like a groundslam and divekick.

Also want to be interviewed, or know a Youtuber deep into Action Games that you’d like to know more about, leave a comment!

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