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Games Inbox: What is the best ninja video game?
Shinobi – is it the best ninja game?

The evening Inbox wants Platinum Games to make a Power Rangers game, as one reader is pessimistic about Metal Gear Survive.

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John of the Ninja

I am here to answer a very important question, a question that has come up a few times in the Inbox before: why are there no decent ninja games? Well, the answer to that is that there are a few, but the more interesting question is which is actually the best.

Shinobi and Tenchu are the quintessential ones that pop into my mind, but playing them again today they really are showing their age. And Shinobi doesn’t really have much to do with ninjas. There’s not much stealth and really you could be controlling any action hero. That’s also the problem with Ninja Gaiden II, which would’ve been my next choice. It’s probably the best game with a ninja in it, but I’m not sure it really counts.

No, I think the best one is Mark Of The Ninja from 2012. It’s pretty obscure and I don’t think it was particularly popular even at the time, but it’s a really amazing 2D game that has a little bit of all the games just mentioned and yet feels really modern and cool. I’d like a 3D game that was just as good of course, but for me this is the current best. And at the rate we get new ones it’ll probably stay that way for quite a while.
John Stamford

The last Snake

I did have to laugh at GC’s Metal Gear Survive ‘preview’ yesterday. It is pretty much exactly what I expected from all the other impressions and early reviews. I don’t even know what to say or think about the series any more. As I fan I know this, and any other ones that come out, aren’t going to be the real thing, and yet I can’t avoid a morbid interest in what is technically still my favourite franchise.

I guess it’s a bit like Star Wars fans after The Last Jedi, where suddenly the thing they’ve liked for so long has turned into something they no longer recognise or like. But there’s still just enough of it left that you can’t turn away from it completely.

I’ll be reading the reviews that I expect to start appearing next week with interest, and may even pick up the game if it’s not too bad but I have a nasty feeling it’s all downhill from here.

GC: It’s not really that bad, it’s just… well, for starters it would be a lot better off it wasn’t called Metal Gear. We should have our full review early next week.

Final race

I’d just like to add my angst to those that have been complaining about the lack of arcade racers around nowadays, with everything being open world borefests and tedious ‘simulations’. I am hopeful though for Onrush, which is the new game from Codemasters and is by lots of the same team that did Driveclub and Motorstorm before it was shut down by Sony.

If you haven’t heard about it, it’s easy to miss, but it looks like a really fun, no-fuss race game. It’s more off-road and motorcycles than anything, so quite like the early Motorstorms, but I’m fine with that even though Burnout 2 and Split/Second: Velocity are my two favourite arcade racers.

It’s out in June, so not far to go now, and I hope it can prove a hit as it might be our last chance at this sort of thing. Here’s a quick video of it, with looks like more to come soon. Just as long as you don’t have to brake ever, that’s what I say!

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Mighty Morphin Platinum Rangers

I recall a letter speculating about what sort of genre games like Bayonetta fit into. While initially it seems like an evolution of the roaming Streets Of Rage-esque beat ’em-ups, I seem to recall someone offering the term ‘spectacle action’. In that particular genre, which would include the likes of Bayonetta and Vanquish, the question offered to you is not so much, ‘Can you beat these bad guys?’ and more, ‘How stylishly can you beat these bad guys?’.

Platinum seem to specialise in that type of game. Come to think of it, they’d be a good fit for the Power Rangers license. The series is 25 years old this year, and yet to my recollection there hasn’t been an even halfway-decent game based on it for almost as long.

Last year, to tie in to the new film, there was only the thoroughly disappointing Power Rangers: Mega Battle (I should’ve mentioned that as my pick for most disappointing game in 2017) and the execrable pay-to-win mess Power Rangers: Legacy Wars. I’d love to see what Platinum (or Treasure, or even Natsume who did the first couple of SNES games) would do with it now.
Andrew Middlemas

Monkey magic

Since we now seem to know that Retro Studios is not working on Metroid Prime 4, has anyone speculated on what they are doing? Another Donkey Kong Country is the obvious, and not terribly exciting answer, and probably more likely than ever given they’re porting the Wii U version over to the Switch. I hope it’s something more exciting though.

The Donkey Kong Country games are formulaic but they are very well made, so I’d love to see them use their talents in some brand new. Or if not brand new then how about a 2D Metroid instead of just more straight platforming?

Or maybe have a go at another 3D Donkey Kong? Crazy to think we haven’t seen one since the N64 era, and although that didn’t turn out that great I don’t think that’s any reason to give up forever. I do like the character, it’s just I’ve got sick of playing him in just the same old games.

Shrunken Switch

I’ve seen the idea of a Switch Pro suggested a few times over the last few months, and I do agree that a turbo-powered dock would be quite a good idea and something I’d be interested in maybe buying. But what about the idea of making a portable-only version of the Switch, as a way to compensate for the aging 3DS.

I think we all assume there will be refresh of the Switch in a year or two, once components become cheaper and all that, but to me there isn’t much obvious to change with it. However, a smaller, cheaper portable that ran the same games does seem to fill a bit hole in Nintendo’s line-up.

It’d be a way to keep kids on board, and make a new Pokémon that took full advantage of the Switch. I know it kind of makes the name irrelevant but otherwise it seems a perfect fit to me, and hopefully a reason not to be held back by the 3DS anymore.

Mixed reception

Thanks for your review of Sprint Vector. Another recently released VR game I am very interested in is Apex Construct, but the reviews I have read so far vary widely, to say the least.

Do you think you might have time to have a look at it, as, like many readers of GC, your reviews are always my go to definitive opinion on whether I should buy a game or not!
ameisa (PSN ID)

GC: Thank you. We may not have time for a full review, but we are planning a regular series of VR review round-ups – and the first one should include Apex Construct.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Freedom for all

I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying Wolfenstein II on Xbox One at the moment. It’s one of those games that gets me fully engrossed in the world it creates, looking at every little detail of scenery the developers have done such a great job.

I like to play the game as stealthily as possible, but it’s not easy! Compared to many games with a stealth element such as Deus Ex or Dishonored there is rarely an obvious sneaky route to take, leaving you really having to think about your actions. Awesome.

I haven’t finished the game yet but have noticed these Freedom Chronicles have been made available as DLC. Have your team or any readers had a chance to play these yet? Are they worth it? I’m very tempted!
PS: Also enjoying Golf Story on the Switch. Golf games have always seemed very dull and formulaic to me, even the more jovial examples such as Everybody’s Golf and Mario Golf. But Golf Story adds in so many little fun extras to keep things entertaining.

GC: We haven’t played the most recent one yet, but plan to review them all once the last one is out.

Inbox also-rans

America of the future: a place where it’s easier to get hold of a real gun than a virtual one. Madness.

That guy talking about America influencing games too much might not have realised how right he is if Trump does start banning violent games.

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gannet, who asks what do you think is the most overrated video game?

You don’t have to think the game is actively bad, just not as good as its reputation suggests. But do try and describe exactly why it didn’t live up to your expectations and what it got wrong. Was it just a good game that was hyped up too much, or do you feel it has flaws that were brushed over in reviews?

Was the problem that you were expecting it to be one thing and it turned out to be something completely different? Or was there some other personal preference that meant you couldn’t enjoy it?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

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