Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mark of the Ninja, or Has 3D Become Irrelevant Revisited?

at 6:13 PM
Yeah yeah blah blah blah I know we all like playing games in 3D. Everyone knows that. Oh shit hang on a second.

No I do not mean 3D as in stereoscopic glasses-wearing COMICALLY irrelevant 3D. No one ever cared about that. Are you some kind of nerd or something? This ain't the nerd taxi. Why would you assume I meant that?

Good lord. Now that we're beyond your frighteningly misguided conceptions about modern technology (I'm sure you thought N-Gage was going to be the next big thing too), let's get back to the 3D that I'd already be discussing if I had readers. The Super Mario 64 kind, the Mega Man X7 kind, the Ocarina of Time kind. Less so the Bubsy 3D kind, because the less said about Bubsy 3D, the better. Ask Golem if you want to know about that; kid has a weird thing for mentally challenged cats. Some would call him a mentally challenged cat. It's not bullying if it's completely warranted.

Let's get you introduced to Mark of the Ninja. This is an XBLA game that came out just last week, developed by Klei with the budget-enhancing and exclusive-ensuring help of Microsoft Studios. Klei is a relatively new studio mostly known for Shank, a gory 2D hack-and-slash that almost could have passed for a The Behemoth game if not for the Samurai Jack art-style. Mark of the Ninja takes almost the exact same style and renders it in black ink on black paper colored entirely in black. It's a black game, and no I don't mean [some racial zinger that will feel cliched]. I mean that the entire time I couldn't tell what was anything because it is literally ALL black. Not figuratively, not hyperbolically. Literally. Turn on the game and you will think you turned off your TV.
Screenshot of Mark of the Ninja
That was a risky play by Klei, but in the end it works pretty well. The game is full of derivative if satisfying Splinter Cell stealth-assassination action, peppered with reactive QTEs that tone down the feeling of "press X to watch kill". The presentation restrains itself to the senses of the avatar, presenting the player with a familiar selection of routes: crawl above the room in a duct, grapple across gargoyles (a la Arkham), or take the creeping floor route.

Point is that when you hold it in comparison to SC: Conviction or Arkham City, it's exactly the same. There's no 3D/2D barrier. Or that is to say that there's no 3rd D. But then, there never was.

Since the days of Super Mario 64, or Wolfenstein 3D, or Star Wars (Arcade), every avatar-based game has run on a series of curves, rails, paths, whatever you want to call them, so they're really 1D. And I'm gonna say some more but I really need to get a post up now and I really need to get some sleep so I will be back later.

No comments:

Post a Comment