Mark of the Ninja

Anyone else pick this up today on Xbox Live arcade?

It’s a 2D side scrolling stealth ninja assassin game from the makers of Shank. A little bit of metal gear, a little bit of Batman, and a little of Ikiki. Lots of crawling through ducts, hiding in the shadows, shooting out lights, and of course stabbing dudes silently. Once you start unlocking new tools and new ways to kill you can set up some impressive assassination scenarios.

There are 12 levels, each one taking about 30-45 minutes to complete. The difficulty is a bit like Thief, each level has optional objectives and hidden items to find. You are graded at the end of each level based on how many you completed along with a score for the number of kills, sloppy kills, times spotted, etc. There is a New Game+ difficulty as well. I assume you get to keep your skills/items and play a harder version of the levels, so the game has legs.

Haven’t put down points yet but I really dug the demo. Apparently it’s possible to play through the game without killing anyone, which sounds like a cool challenge. This kind of came out of nowhere it seems?

I saw this a while back on Destructoid and their youtube channel.

Yeah, it is definitely an oddball. Wasn’t even put out on the normal release day for arcade games. So far it is better than anything I played from the summer of arcade.

No shit?

I will read the whole post next time. Calm down.

5am and the game still has it’s hooks in me. Finished about half the levels, they get very long past the first couple.

Went back and replayed the first level for an hour trying to get the no kill + no alerts bonus. Murdering dudes is incredibly fun, but nailing the full stealth clear was very rewarding in its own right. Unlocked 3 achievements for doing it (1 for no alerts, 1 for no kills, and 1 for no alerts + no kills), but still only ended up at 1862 on the leaderboard.

Jez, there are only 6k people on the leaderboards. Looks like the stealth release worked.

This is, seriously, one of the best XBLA games ever made. It really is that good.

Why was it released on a Friday? Why did Microsoft not promote it at all? It’s a Microsoft Studios game, according to the intro cinematic.

This game is averaging an 89 on Metacritic. That is absolutely amazing. And the game deserves it, from the three hours I’ve played.

What the fuck is going on in the XBLA division of Microsoft? Why had I never heard of this game? They just shit it out on a Friday, and that’s it? No promotion, no marketing. nothing?

If you are listening Microsoft, put some fucking money in the XBLA department. And if I’m wrong, and you did put a lot of money behind this product, then fire everyone in the XBLA department because they absolutely dropped the ball on this game.

Yeah hopefully it gets enough of a buzz that it picks up in sales because it would be a shame if a game this good doesn’t sell well. It’s probably the best stealth game since the Thief games (though the Stealth sections of Batman could be pretty awesome).

This quicklook gives a good overview of the game.

Damn, any word on a PC release?

I like how some of the achievements are name after other stealth games: Deadly Shadows, No One Lives Forever, Inner Heaven, Tactical Espionage Action, The Dark Project.

Some of the music is strongly influenced by Metal Gear as well.

and my save game is gone this morning. Guess I get to do it all over again.

Are you sure you picked the same storage device, I ask only because I had this scare myself until I realized I saved it to a different location than the HD.

I don’t have a device other than the HD.

Well, there’s the cloud save option that was added recently.

This game is so good. It nails pretty much all the aspects of what makes a good 2D (or 3D) stealth title worth playing. Interesting level design, enemies that feel meaningfully different, mechanics that are abstracted at all the right places, an art style that makes the game come alive, achievements and challenges that force new disciplines on you.

These kind of games have always been “a series of puzzles” for me, and Mark of the Ninja really fits that description well. It’s fantastic, and probably one of the most impressive genre games I’ve played in a while. Can’t wait to play some more of it tomorrow.

By the way, why the hell didn’t they make this to begin with, instead of mucking around with those mindless Shank games? Damn, guys. Get a grip! :)

I somehow missed this thread. You should put some kind of descriptor besides just the name if possible.

I found out about the game because of a gushing review over at Penny Arcade Report. So I’ll be checking out the demo.

To answer flyingj’s question above: that it was released on a Friday means that it’s a Microsoft Studios published game. They release their own games on Friday to differentiate them from the other XBLA releases, which come out on Wednesdays. Yeah, I don’t know, it doesn’t make any sense to me either. But they started doing that with the release of Fez.

This is incredible. I strongly feel that great stealth should make the player feel like a dancer, carefully moving from one step to the next, timed to perfection.

The fact that the game is in 2D makes this dance even more obvious.

I think I’d prefer the word “challenges” over “puzzles”. My reasoning is that these days it feels like puzzle, in the context of video games, implies one solution, and what is so great about Mark of the Ninja is that there are often several different approaches , from multiple paths through the level, to how you handle a given room full of guards.