I Finally Played Metal Gear Solid for the First Time

Widely considered to be one of the best and most influential games of all-time, Metal Gear Solid is a game I’ve been actively dodging for most of my life. Part of that stems from an anti-Sony bias that formed in the 90s that I’ve since shedded. Part of it came from being a stealth game. I hate stealth games with a passion (with one beautiful exception). Even when I bought a copy of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for under $10, I ended up selling it later on without ever playing it.

At long last, during a random PlayStation Classic stream, I did the thing. By the end of it, I wasn’t quite sure of what to do with this newfound knowledge.

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Mark of the Ninja Review

(Originally posted on splitkick.com. Thank you to the Splitkick team for the edits!)

Perched atop a lamppost, I spot my targets. Directly below me are three gun-toting foes who have no idea what’s coming to them. I could simply grapple to the adjacent rooftop to continue my mission, but my bloodlust is running high. I ask myself, “Do I want to cloud their vision with a smoke bomb, then stab each of them in the back? Or can I come up with something more clever?” Scanning my inventory, I find just the thing to liven up this party. In an instant, a swarm of ravenous insects showers down on one of my enemies. As the insects make quick work of his flesh, his partners freak out, and accidentally shoot each other in the commotion. Recognizing that my work was done, I slip off into the darkness to continue my quest.

Though it’s a stretch to classify Mark of the Ninja as a simulation, this 2D stealth platformer makes me feel more like a real ninja than any other video game I’ve played before. Marrying concepts from the NES Ninja Gaiden games with the Arkham series of Batman titles, it’s also one of the coolest games I’ve played in 2012.

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Dishonored Impressions

Dishonored‘s premise is as simple as it gets. Corvo, the empress’ bodyguard, gets framed as her murderer as part of a plot to take over the throne. In the process, the empress’ daughter gets kidnapped. Now he’s out to save the girl, avenge the empress and clear his name.

The game at first blush was far from that for me. Struggling to grasp the game’s systems early on, I fumbled my way through the first mission; killing everyone in my path. Despite eventually completing the mission, the game’s heavy hand on leading you towards the stealthy route sure made me feel like a failure. Having killed 14 bodies in cold blood and the chaos level on high due to those actions, I feared that this wasn’t going to get any better.

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Top 10 Games of This Generation – Honourable Mention: Mark of the Ninja

(Original Review)

I hate stealth games. I hate the myriad of artificial fail states that oftentimes come with it. I hate the oftentimes fake openness that really boils down to 1 or 2 options you may have at any given point. I hate the trial-and-error nature of the gameplay. I even hate the very conceit of stealth in video games. When i play a video game, I want the power fantasy. In most stealth games, you feel like a weakling who has no other means of getting through a scenario.

I hate stealth games, but I love Mark of the Ninja.

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Splinter Cell: Conviction Impressions

Stealth games and I generally don’t get along. Most games in the genre require its players to figure out the ideal route through every scenario and execute to perfection. Anything less leads to instant failure. Even if you’re a stealth game savant, most of these scenarios require a ton of trial-and-error to master. This is a process I cannot stand.

So why would I even bother with Splinter Cell: Conviction; the latest instalment of arguably the premier stealth series? Over the last year or so, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mark of the Ninja warmed me up to the genre a bit more. I’ve  heard that this latest Splinter Cell has a more action focus to it, which is definitely a selling point to me. Also, it didn’t hurt that I scored it at the bottom of a bargain bin for a mere $10. Did the gamble pay off?

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Check Out My Mark of the Ninja Review on Splitkick

Released outside of the regular XBOX Live Arcade schedule, and with virtually no marketing, Mark of the Ninja was the talk of the town for a total of one day when the glowing launch-day reviews hit. If it weren’t for those, I wouldn’t have even know this game existed.

I’m so glad to have played it, because it is fantastic. As a guy who hates stealth games, that says a whole lot.

If you’d like to read  my full review, head over to Splitkick to learn more!

SPLITKICK REVIEW: Mark of the Ninja