Press Start Review: Mark of the Ninja

There are some genres that I have a love/hate relationship with. There are your sports games, your racers, your zombie games (that’s more on the hate side) and then we get to stealth. Some things I love about them: Tactical thinking, the challenge of never being seen while I clear a room, the different weapons. Some things I hate about them: the constant waiting, the fact that in some cases if you get caught that’s the end of the level and you have to restart (and then some other times you are halfway through, get caught, and it reloads you in a place where you can’t avoid the mistake you made before…arg), the repetitive rooms to clear.

Mark of the Ninja is one of those stealth games that avoids the constant pitfalls others make. The art is wonderful to look at, the storyline is light, but engaging enough, the action is awesome, and the powers you can choose from are all pretty fun. Where Shank (another Klei property) is a shootem up 80s action movie, this is a classic martial arts revenge flick. Your ninja clan has been wronged and you are given the power to regain your honor, but the tattoos that give you your strength also are poison and will eventually kill you. The theme of honor, revenge, and what that means comes up throughout the game and comes to a head towards the end.

The game plays our over maybe 8-10 hours, depending on how fast your clear each level, but I’ve played it a few times and had fun after every run through. It’s one of those games that you can install and play idly to kill some time, but then realize you’ve been playing for so long that you’re an hour late to the movie.

Or something.

I mean so I’ve heard.

All in all I love this game. The music, art, and gameplay work well together and draw you into the world Klei has created; a place where you can meld with the shadows, sneak past armed guards, slit an unsuspecting gaijin’s neck, dragging the body into an air vent without tripping any alarms, then escaping into the night while lightning strikes behind you.

Or something. I mean so I’ve heard.

Rating: Stayed up 2 out of 5 hours past bed time. One of those trying to plan out my magic tattoos.

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