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Mark of the Ninja
Reviewed by
Cameron Grimes
on
Mark of the Ninja PC Review. Mark of the Ninja is a refreshing approach to the stealth genre, which has seen its fair share of mediocre hybrids of stealth and action over the years.
Rating:
4.25

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 9.0
Sound 9.0
Value 8.5
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft
Review Date:
Nov 2012
Rating:
MA15+
Reviewer:
Cameron Grimes

8.5


Mark of the Ninja

Mark of the Ninja is a 2D side scrolling stealth title developed by Klie Entertainment as a Microsoft exclusive for PC and the Xbox 360. You take on the role of an unnamed ninja who has awoken with strange markings all over his body in the midst of an attack on his base by a group of armed soldiers. The tattoos give the ninja supernatural powers that can be used to your advantage throughout the campaign, as you attempt to take revenge on the soldiers that harmed your fellow ninjas. Mark of the Ninja is a 100% pure stealth game that boasts a unique art style and some clever level design that makes it one of the most impressive stealth based releases in recent memory. 

Gameplay 

As mentioned before, don’t expect Mark of the Ninja to allow you to defend yourself if you fail at sneaking past soldiers, as this game has a solid focus on stealth. It does give you the option to fight back against your enemies if you are caught, however nine times out of ten you will most likely come out the loser. I did find it rather odd however that your character, the ninja, would use his sword to kill his enemies when undetected but would start using his arms and legs when faced with up to three gun wielding baddies at a time. It’s obviously a game design choice to cut down on action and punish you for failing, but I still found it distracting. 

Moving around the environments was great fun. While a 2D side scroller at its core, Mark of the Ninja allows backtracking and climbing of the environments’ walls which gives a lot of freedom in deciding how you could make your way past enemies. It was extremely satisfying when I eventually pulled off the perfect getaway, and the frequent checkpoints that occurred prevented me from being frustrated. I wish I could say the same about the controls however. On a few occasions they’re a little awkward, especially on PC in situations when the game requires you to click a button and swipe the mouse at the same time to perform an action. Besides from that the gameplay flows really well and can leave you feeling rather accomplished. Killing a room full of guards and hiding their bodies in the sewers in which you attacked them from, and then seeing their buddies walk in and look confused was a highlight for me. 

Graphics 

Mark of the Ninja goes for the classic Cartoon Network approach in its appearance. The brightly coloured sprites with dark lines around their main features reminded me of shows I watched when I was a child like Samurai Jack and other similar cartoons. It’s all very well animated too, the cut scenes in-between levels are particularly well done and full of character, as are the enemies’ facial expressions when you sneak up behind them and slide a sword through their side. The tone of the game is fairly dark so in some circumstances I questioned their choice of art design due to some clashes of serious dialogue and cartoony appearances, but overall it’s a very solid look and the work they’ve put into it is fantastic. 

Audio

The ninja you play as doesn’t speak, but the rest of the characters do. The dialogue is your typical ninja affair, with the words “power” and “consequences” being used like they’re going out of style, but it’s solid and when combined with the art design you really start to care about the other characters in the game. The ambient noises that you hear throughout the game are really well thought out as well. The further you are away from an enemy the more muffled their voice is, and the change in your footsteps depending on what location you’re in has a great emphasis on it, which keeps you guessing if you’re taking the best stealth approach or if there’s a quieter way around. 

Final Thoughts 

Mark of the Ninja is a refreshing approach to the stealth genre, which has seen its fair share of mediocre hybrids of stealth and action over the years. Although it might be a little frustrating as the difficulty level at the beginning of the game is set rather high, once you get the hang of the controls (which are a little awkward) and you’ve discovered the best ways to take out your enemies, it’s an extremely enjoyable experience that warrants a second play through in order to discover all the possibilities.






 
 



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