LancashireLad87

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About LancashireLad87

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    Disclaimer: The views expressed within this update are from my personal experience with both franchises. I have a wealth of experience and knowledge within the genre as a whole. I've played the vast majority of these games so I'm in a position where I can provide my honest opinion of them as a whole from an advocate of the genre and a hardcore player.   

     

    Style over substance?


    See the source image

     

    Judging from my account today it would be a fair assumption to assume that fighting games are my favourite genre that defines me as a gamer. However, my loyalties lie in another genre entirely: the hack n slash genre. Some people use the phrase "Character Action" to describe the genre but I'm old-school and stubborn, so I'll be referring to them as hack n slash games. Growing up I recall playing the shit out of the original Devil May Cry games on the PlayStation 2, I remember getting my arse handed to me on a silver platter on Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition, but I adored the game so much it ended up being a game I understood probably more than the developers did.

     

    As I grew older, I discovered an established series that I knew nothing about that piqued my interest, Ninja Gaiden. Having experienced the trials and tribulations of the DMC series I was very well prepared to fail and experiment on how to defeat the challenges presented in-front of me. Both Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry are pioneers of the genre, but which do I prefer in general? Devil May Cry has always had crazy over the top gameplay but it's difficult to look past the black sheep of the franchise Devil May Cry 2.

     

    The original DMC was a critical success and fans were eagerly anticipating the sequel which we hoped would improve and expand upon the foundations of the first game, regrettably we got the complete opposite. Dante's demeanour was drastically different, no witty one-liners, and his appearance was overhauled to make him look like a goth. The environments were bland and sadly so was the gameplay, anyone who's never experienced the abomination that is DMC2 you'd assume that the sword on Dante's back, Rebellion would be your main damage dealer considering the size of it. 

     

    Well, you'd be wrong to think that because Ebony and Ivory (Dante's Handguns) whilst in devil trigger is how you melt the opposition. The only good things to come out of DMC2 were Trish and the introduction of Bloody Palace. Devil May Cry 3 was exceptional as a game and is still to this day, many players favourite entry. Dante is back to how he should have been, a cocky demon hunter, full of one liners with a kick-ass soundtrack whilst laying a beatdown on any demon who crosses his path.

     

    Devil May Cry 3 introduced a lot of features that enhanced the gameplay further. A few examples would be unique fighting styles that focus on a particular playstyle. To name a few, Royal Guard is a very defensive style involving parrying and countering to inflict massive damage, Gunslinger is all about Dante's arsenal of guns whilst SwordMaster is all about Rebellion. The scoring system was overhauled as well, it's very difficult to get a near-perfect score for style points within a level and the amount of depth and complexity of the combat system was unequalled. PC players had the opportunity to introduce mods to the game so they could stance switch freely, a feature that wouldn't be implemented until later down the line.

     

    Devil May Cry 4 was personally a disappointment, the first half of the game was fine, the ability to stance switch on the fly increased combat potential ten-fold. Regrettably the second half of the game is running through the same areas and bosses as Dante, therefore the game felt rushed and in my opinion wasn't realised to its full potential. Then we have Capcom's latest entry Devil May Cry 5 and what a game that turned out to be! For me it's just below DMC3 SE, Nero, Vergil and Dante have a ton of potential, they're all fun to play but very difficult to master and play at a high level. V I didn't care for because I don't like puppet characters.

     

    The game features some of the most memorable bosses within the series such as Goliath and Cavaliere Angelo. Then you have the spectacle of the brotherly duels which are phenomenal. My only criticism with DMC5 is its lacklustre environments, the vast majority look very bland and similar to one another. The final entry to the DMC series is the reboot, DMC Devil May Cry which gets quite a bit of flak from the DMC community but it's not a bad game at all. It's certainly on the easier side with regards to the games difficulty and how the scoring system works but it's miles better than 2. 

     

    If I were to rate each entry based on my experience from best to worst, I'd probably go for something like this.

     

    Best to Worst

     

    Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition

    Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition

    Devil May Cry 1

    Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition

    DMC Devil May Cry

    Devil May Cry 2

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    See the source image

     

    Then we have the other juggernaut of the genre, Ninja Gaiden. What separates Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden is the combat is drastically different. Ninja Gaiden's combat is very grounded, tactical; you have to make the most out of the opportunities presented to you to damage the opposition. Like DMC, Ninja Gaiden has always had a reputation for its brutal combat and difficulty. The skill ceiling in both games is limitless, the difference between someone who is trophy competent, and a machine is incomparable. Professional players of the genre can gauge someone's skill level in less than 30 seconds!    

     

    What sets Ninja Gaiden apart is its combat system, you have the ability to perform iconic moves such as the legendary Izuna drop which launches your victim into the air before smashing them back down to the ground. If an enemy is de-limbed whether it be an arm or a leg it restricts their movement, however they're still a threat to you because they can kamikaze (commit suicide) if they grab you which could result in an untimely death.

     

    Each entry of the modern NG series plays drastically different, Ninja Gaiden Sigma rewards a defensive playstyle, if you're cool, calm and collected and you study your opponent and counter where appropriate you'll have an easier experience. It's sequel, NGS2 is the antithesis of its predecessor rewarding an offensive playstyle, don't be fooled or misled by that you still need to possess an impenetrable defence otherwise your life will be short-lived. It's sequel, NG3 vanilla was a very controversial entry to the series. 

     

    It was first released on the Nintendo Wii before being ported to other consoles. Naturally players expected to receive the same version as the Wii but instead we got a watered-down version that stripped most of the content away, players only had access to a single weapon and incantation (ninpo), later down the line you could gain access to a couple of additional weapons such as the Falcon Talons and the Eclipse Scythe but let's be honest they should have been there from the beginning. To add insult to injury not even a year had passed and the version we should have got was released at full price, Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge.

     

    Ninja Gaiden is a very niche IP to begin with so alienating your player base was not a smart business decision. For a lot of people within the Ninja Gaiden community this killed the franchise, as NG3/Razor's Edge really toned down the user-experience. For a series revered for its punishing difficulty, Ninja Gaiden attempted to appeal to a wider audience introducing hero mode. Hero mode allowed inexperienced players to get through the story without getting roadblocked by a boss along the way. How does this work you ask? Well the game is even easier than Acolyte difficulty and if your health drops below a certain threshold, the game will override your inputs, so you don't die. You could be mashing the attack buttons when you should be blocking, and the game will block FOR YOU!

     

    On the hardest difficulty Ultimate Ninja, the combat was beyond unfair, the bosses were for the most part, underwhelming and uninspired as several of them were very similar to previous titles such as the Helicopter, Doppelganger (Ryu Clone), Obaba, and the Spider tank. The fight against the dinosaur felt out of place and the game's antagonist, the Regent of the Mask was a shadow of former villains Doku and Genshin. You'd assume there would be plenty of bosses left at this point, sadly you'd be mistaken all that remains is Cliff, Lovelace, the old guy inside a robot and the archfiend. 

     

    The team missions within NG3/Razor's Edge were uninspired, with endless waves of enemies and duplicate bosses, did I mention most of the bosses aren't even native to NG3 or Razor's Edge instead they are predominantly from Sigma 1 and 2. The vast majority of the platinum owners either used a very famous exploit or got carried. The exploit is using the 360T then dashing with the Eclipse Scythe because this grants the player with a ton of I-frames and interrupts or cancels the attack animation of anyone near it. If multiple opponents are within its range, then it deals damage to everyone in its wake.

     

    The last Ninja Gaiden released is a spin-off called Ninja Gaiden Yaiba which is a cell-shaded NG that for lack of a better word was absolute gutter trash hence it's 43/100 rating on Metacritic. Not only was NG3 a black sheep as far as the franchise is concerned but this spin-off was a diabolical mess, even if the game lacked the words Ninja Gaiden it wouldn't be considered good by any means.

     

    If I were to rate each entry based on my experience from best to worst, I'd probably go for something like this.

     

    Best to Worst

     

    Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

    Ninja Gaiden Sigma 

    Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge

    Ninja Gaiden 3

    Ninja Gaiden Yaiba

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    Whilst I enjoy both franchises for bringing something unique to the table, If I had to choose one series over the other, I would personally go for DMC. As much as I despise DMC2, just saying the game aloud makes me feel dirty inside. I'd rather play DMC2 than NG3 and Yaiba. Hopefully you enjoyed reading through this opinionated post and I'd be interested to hear what you prefer in the comments below ^^

     

    For those of you who wish to see high level gameplay I strongly recommend checking out the video below if you have the time to watch it in its entirety. The video encapsulates a lot of Ninja Gaiden and Nioh footage from some of the best players in the world. 

     


     

    1. zizimonster

      zizimonster

      Enemy-riding needs to come back. Really.

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