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  #1  
Old 05-27-2018, 08:09 AM
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Default Let me tell you the story of the ink... Let's Play Mark of the Ninja



Hey kids!

Let's play Mark of the Ninja!

Klei Entertainment made their mark on the stealth genre with this game about being A GODDAMN NINJA and engaging in GODDAMN NINJA STEALTH. It's arguably the best sidescrolling stealth game out there, and the main competition it has is Invisible, Inc... which is also made by Klei. In short: they know their sneakygames!



I'm gonna be streaming this one Tuesday evenings, probably with people like BEAT and fanboymaster because why not. I'll also be doing this one like Valdis Story in terms of writeups, with quick bulletpoints for the video and a more detailed infodump if I feel like it. I don't know if I will for this game though, it's pretty straightforward about a lot of it.

That's all for now, see you in a bit.
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:59 AM
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I wish any other company was even half as good at implementing stealth as Klei. They just took what previously seemed to be an intractable problem and make it seem effortlessly amazing. They just make stealth work, in two wildly disparate genres.

Anyway, looking forward to this, because this game is rad! It was easily my game of the year in whatever year I finally got around to playing it.
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:45 PM
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Streaming now over here.
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Old 05-30-2018, 12:34 AM
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PART 01

RULE NUMBER ONE
INK AND DREAMS

DON'T GET HIM KILLED
BEAT

In which the ninja wakes up to see their dojo overrun by mercenaries and resolves to aggravate and kill as many as possible.

NOTES
  • LIFESAVER SEZ: KNOW HOW TO LP, KIDS. I'm a professional, I swear.
  • DON'T YOU HEAR THE BELL? We are woken up from our dreams of killing security guards by fellow ninja Ora, who will help guide us through the game as we continue to kill security guards.
  • HOW TO STEALTH GAME. Asymmetric info is always a key thing with these games, but here it's even more obvious. We can see anything within line of sight regardless of light level, and hear anything onscreen pretty much, while the guards are much more limited, only able to see things in the light and hear things that the circle effect overlaps.
  • THIS IS A GOOD GAME. BEAT is correct in that later optional challenges get WAY too crazy for what you're expected to do, but that'll be a ways off, and you pretty much always have the tools necessary to answer any problem.
  • VOICE OF THE HISOMU. Three scrolls in each level that give lore, parceled out in haiku form because that's appropriately Hollywood ninja. That's kind of Klei's go-to approach for settings they do: make it work like it does in the movies. Which isn't always bad, but there's some parts I dislike as a result.
  • BASIC TOOLSET FOR THE NINJA: GRAPPLING HOOK, DARTS, SWORD. The grappling hook gives you even more mobility, the darts a way to interact with the environment at all times, and the sword lets you murder dudes, but only if you catch them off guard. You can't just run in swinging it like a machete, and are stuck to highly ineffective martial arts in those cases.
  • THE INK FROM THE TATTOO HAS HONED YOUR SENSES. A central mechanic and plot point of the game is the Mark, a tattoo that we'll hear about in future stages that gives the ninja the ability to stop time while they queue up item usage. That's pretty dang powerful!
  • SEALS. Not like these guys, but they're optional objectives in each mission. Do them and you get both honor (which can be spent for cool upgrades) and progress towards unlocking one of the paths (alternate costumes that affect your abilities and loadout). I'll try to do as many of these as possible.
  • INTERNET COMPETITION. Streaming is hard, guys. Sorry to goatplanet and jenkitchen in the chat.
  • CHANDELIERS OP. Drop a chandelier on a guard and any guards that will witness this freak out. Normally the guards in this game are pretty competent considering their lack of protagonist powers, but they can still be shaken if you get especially showy.
  • WE DROP A NINJA ON THEIR HEAD. This somehow segues into Chip & Dale's MMORPG discussion. I apologize, except it's entirely BEAT's fault.
  • YOU PICKED THE WRONG GUYS TO ROB, SENSEI. Oh no, Master Azai is getting beaten up! Chandeliers to the rescue!
  • WE SHUNNED THE MODERN WORLD AND ITS JACKALS. And here's the plot. Mercenaries done attacked the ninjas of the Hisomu clan (who apparently hate the hell out of technology), and it's up to the guy with the tattoos to solve everything!
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Old 05-30-2018, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
WE DROP A NINJA ON THEIR HEAD. This somehow segues into Chip & Dale's MMORPG discussion. I apologize, except it's entirely BEAT's fault.
SOME TIMES, SOME CRIMES, GO SLIPPING IN THE TRASH BUT
THESE TWO L33T D3WDS ARE ROXXORING UR A$$
THERE'S NO PLACE TO BUILD OR CAMP A SPAWN
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE IS ON?
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:57 PM
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PART 02

LIGHTBULB SMASHING SIMULATOR
BREACHING THE PERIMETER

REAL AND STRONG AND MY FRIENDS
BEAT, Trynant

In which the ninja begins their mission to strike at Hessian Services.

NOTES
  • BEAT'S AUDIO QUALITY ISN'T GREAT EARLY ON. I will assume that it is due to my own internet being not-great. LPing is hard.
  • THE MERCHANTS SOLD US A SECRET. So the basic idea behind the Mark is that it's a tattoo that uses highly toxic ink, but giving it to a ninja grants them superhuman capabilities. Unfortunately, it also eventually renders them homicidally insane, so it's a weapon of last resort for the Hisomu clan, and any ninja that accepts the Mark swears to commit suicide upon their mission's completion. So uh... our protagonist doesn't get a happy ending.
  • LASERS. The thin ones activate an automatic turret weapon in the level (or sometimes a rocket launcher), while the thick ones are just flat lethal. Both kinds shut off if a guard is nearby, regardless of whether they are alive. We'll get another tool for handling them shortly.
  • TRYNANT SHOWS UP. Hi!
  • THE GAME'S DIALOGUE CHANGES DEPENDING ON HOW THINGS SHAKE OUT. Since I was extremely unsubtle in reaching the transformer, for example, the guard radio reflected this by talking about "bodies everywhere", but if I managed to avoid raising any alarms, they'd have no problem.
  • NOISEMAKER. There's a bunch of extra gear you get access to throughout the game, and the Noisemaker is the first distraction item. Pretty simple: throw it and it makes a noise where it lands. Controlled noise is pretty powerful in a stealth game, and this means you can still distract guards even without lamps to break or whatever.
  • IMPERFECT KILL. If you mess up the QTE on attempting to murder a guard, it takes longer and they make a lot of noise. Certain conditional stealth kills also might affect where you or the guard ends up after the fact, too.
  • ONE OF THE SEALS INVOLVES BREAKING LIGHTS. I only notice this about a third of the way in, driving me to a sort of mania to obsessively smash as many lights as possible, regardless of whether it's a good idea or not.
  • BONUS SECTION! In most levels, one of the Voice of the Hisomu scrolls will be locked behind a weird hallucinated challenge room. This is one of the parts of the game BEAT dislikes, since it's so divorced from the rest of the game's feel, but I don't personally mind them that much.
  • SPLINTER CELL ASYMMETRIC TEAM VERSUS. Sounds cool!
  • SCORE ACTUALLY MEANS SOMETHING. The higher your score, the more honor you get. Like the seals and the Voice of the Hisomu, this contributes to your honor, which can be used to buy upgrades.
  • REACH THE TOP OF THE TOWER WITHOUT BEING DETECTED. Each mission usually features a super-tense crowning moment where things have much higher stakes, even early on. This one's no exception: even though the levels are actually pretty tame, the outside pressure of the lights switching on makes it somehow feel more dangerous than if they were just on fulltime.
  • I MAKE A FOOLISH MISTAKE AND JUST STAND NEXT TO AN OPEN DOOR, RESULTING IN A SECTION BEING REPEATED FAR TOO MUCH. No LP is complete without tomfoolery like this. Enjoy.

Last edited by Kalir; 05-31-2018 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:37 PM
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PART 03

THANKS FOR THE KRYPTONITE
THE TRAIL OF THE SHADOW

COURIER'S GUARDS
BEAT, Trynant

In which the ninja isn't bloodthirsty enough to qualify as honorable.

NOTES
  • STEER CLEAR OF THE DOGS. There aren't many twists on the basic guard archetype, and precious few enemies that actually have capabilities beyond that, but the dogs are one of them. Their sense of smell will always detect the ninja, and their detection gets better over time, but lacking the ability to talk, they can't raise the alarm by themselves, so they're usually seen alongside human guards.
  • I PLAY SOME GAMES WITH MOUSE AND KEYBOARD. Aces Wild is a very good game, but you absolutely cannot play it with that setup.
  • THESE GUARDS ARE MERCENARIES. Like, to an extent, the professions are very similar, but come on, man. This place is literally nothing but heavily armed dudes, it's called Hessian Services (taking the name from probably the most famous mercenary faction in history) and most importantly: they only thing they appear to be guarding is their own boss. That said, the game calls them guards more often and it's a shorter term that conveys much of the meaning anyway, so we'll stick to it.
  • THE BIOSHOCK SERIES IS NOT ESPECIALLY LAUDED FOR ITS STORY 'ROUND THESE PARTS. I think I stalled out on Infinite, not because the game wasn't fun (it was!) but because the plot was trying to have its cake and eat it re: American style racism, and that was uncomfortable even before that subject got as heated as it is today. (Also losing a day of progress due to saves not working probably was a factor.)
  • FLARE GUYS. Ordinarily, these are weaker than vanilla guards, since their flare is the only light source they have and they only use it when alerted, and the shield only blocks attacks from the front. If you happen to actually get one alerted to your presence properly, though, good luck taking them without fleeing.
  • TRYNANT PUNS SO HARD THAT BEAT LEAVES THE CALL IN DISGUST. He'll be back, don't worry.
  • DOOR PUZZLE. Not hard at all, especially with the lasers gone, just pay attention.
  • WE FINALLY HIT AN UPGRADE POINT. These points let you actually spend the honor you have accrued to get new stuff. In addition to new distraction/attack items and their upgrades, you can unlock new stealth kill types, martial arts, and general ninja shenanigans, but you only get access to them as the story goes, so there's two degrees of limitation here. You can also change your loadout, but we don't yet have enough stuff to merit doing so.
  • SMOKE BOMBS. No ninja is complete without them! These handy tools break line of sight for pretty much anything, up to and including lasers (even the lethal kind). They're powerful but situational. Usually I find myself preferring noisemakers, but I'll use smoke bombs on occasion.
  • KILL SIX OF THE COURIER'S GUARDS. This seal is REALLY difficult for how early in the game it is. You have to keep up with the courier without alerting them even once, or the main mission is blown. Asking the player to go out of their way to murder six guards (because they sure as hell won't just sit around and let you stab them) on top of that is HARSH. Had I been a bit more aggressive, I could've pulled it off, but I've also beaten the game before.
  • I ACTUALLY ENGAGE A SHIELDED GUARD. I swear I've beaten the game before.
  • CHECKPOINTS AWARD YOU A RESUPPLY OF ONE OF EACH OF YOUR CONSUMABLES. You shouldn't get too aggressive with your items, but you also shouldn't feel too harshly limited by their count. (You can also fully restore by using a loadout/upgrade point, which is limitless.)
  • DRUG-SNIFFING DOG FACT CORNER. I am surprised and sad.
  • YOU CAN STEAL THE TRACKING DEVICE NONLETHALLY. This requires you to hold the proper input when mousing, which I wasn't because I assumed that holding right click is the same as holding E.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:04 PM
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PART 04

IF ALL ELSE FAILS USE FIRE
A CHANGE IN COURSE

FIRE BRIGADE
BEAT, Trynant, CaliScrub

In which the ninja starts getting very creative.

NOTES
  • COUNT KARAJAN IS A JERK. He is also the ultimate target of the ninja's mission.
  • NEW TOYS. There's a few of them we have access to, but the most important is our first attack item, the spike mine. They make a little noise when thrown, but that's the only time a guard can detect them. When they land and activate, any guard that walks over it dies gruesomely, which in turn freaks out any guard that sees it.
  • ERROL FLYNN, THE OG NINJA. Ninjas are, of course, renowned for their showmanship.
  • THEY TOOK A SWIPE AT US, FIRST. According to Count Karajan, Hessian Services is actually retaliating against the Hisomu clan for something they did. Which corroborates with what Corporal Kelly (Australian chin man) said to Master Azai earlier. Not sure what they mean exactly though.
  • FIRST UP, GOTTA WRECK THE GAS MAIN. Once that's done, this level becomes considerably more freeform, as you go around opening up gas vents all willy nilly. I also forget to call the elevator to the floor so I can actually progress. I'm smort.
  • CALISCRUB POPS IN. Hi!
  • OH, I THINK I MAY HAVE BEEN NOTICED. The quick thinking around 11:09 is not only effective, but hilarious.
  • FANBOYMASTER WILL NOT BE APPEARING YET. Next series of videos we do, though.
  • DISTRACTION FLARE. These are like noisemakers, but functioning by sight instead of sound. As such, they can be much better at luring guards further out of position, but tougher to cause guards to look in directions they don't normally. Distraction flares also have another benefit in later areas, but for now they're basically weaker than noisemakers.
  • LOADOUTS ARE COMPLEX. You can get by with really any setup, although when the game gives you new toys it expects you to use them. That said, I keep finding myself wishing I had the actual tools I needed for the job.
  • THEY TOOK MY LEFT NUT. Torture isn't cool, kids.
  • CHALLENGE ROOM AND TMNT DEEP CUTS. I only vaguely remember watching the TV show as a kid, so I don't have quite the nostalgia for it that everyone else does, but I know enough to know that these are some wild tales.
  • PATH OF THE HUNTER. This is the first of the four optional paths that modifies your loadout, and it's unlocked upon achieving three aggression (dragon) seals. It's got a heavy focus on killing guards with traps and stealth, but it also limits your items to two attack items (we only have one) and they don't replenish at checkpoints, only upgrade points where you can change your loadout. It's probably my least favorite, but it's pretty solid if you have enough of a handle on your stealth.
  • EXTREMELY POOR ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING. Seriously, you should get that checked out, someone could get killed even if a ninja doesn't start a gas leak to kill everyone inside.
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Old 06-04-2018, 05:47 PM
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If you throw a trap through a motion sensor will it set off the alarm?
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:52 PM
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I don't know! I don't think it does, but we'll try that sometime tonight.

PART 05

CORPORAL KELLY
THE FALL OF HESSIAN TOWER

COWARDS WHO WOULD DESERT A DYING MAN
Trynant, CaliScrub

In which the ninja is not a samurai.

NOTES
  • BEAT HEADS OFF TO GO BE RESPONSIBLE. As such, this will be a quieter episode than the last few.
  • HANGING GUARDS. There are two abilities that can do this, and it's one of the best ways to "hide" a guard body, because anyone who sees the guard hanging there will freak out. Terrified guards are much easier to deal with, as they will respond to basically any suspicious noise or sight by stumbling back and firing blindly at it. This will alert their allies as well, which means one hanging guard can turn a room of well-trained mercenaries into a panicky mob of friendly fire.
  • HARD MODE DISCUSSION. In New Game Plus, you retain all of your honor and upgrades, but you have a bunch of new UI challenges: no visuals for soundwaves, no visuals on anything unless you're facing that way, and any injury you take is immediately lethal.
  • DO NOT BREAK LIGHTS. This is an easy one to forget about, since lights are such an easy way to make noise in this game, but it's not especially hard to avoid doing.
  • STEALTH AND PUZZLES ARE SIMILAR IN MINDSET. I still get where BEAT was coming from about things since the skillsets aren't 1:1.
  • TRICKIER ROOM SETUPS. There's a few places in Hessian Tower where the lights and the motion sensors are rigged to the same things, so you can have one or the other. Knowing whether to go for lights or motion sensors is important, and I particularly like the solution I came up for in the first room with the flare guard.
  • NEVER MIND THE FIRE, WE NEED TO SECURE THE TOWER. Eventually our ruse is figured out, and Karajan orders his guards back to Hessian Tower, making our mission trickier. This is scripted, so it always happens at the same point, but this feels like the sort of game where the faster you go, the easier it is.
  • ARMORED SLEEVES JUST GIVES EXTRA HP. Not especially worth investing in for me, at least not yet.
  • TRYNANT'S PUN SKILLS ARE TOP TIER. Teach me your secrets.
  • HOLD THEM OFF WHILE I LEAVE. Karajan continues to be a Good Leader, ordering his right hand man Corporal Kelly to stay behind and fight the unstoppable murderninja while he leaves to his summer home to drink more of Otto van Bismarck's wine.
  • HANGMAN'S HYMN IS RIDICULOUS. Seriously, the reach on that move is insane.
  • SNIPERS. Just like any sniper in video games, they have a hair trigger and lethal firepower, wrecked by their inability to move or look around more than a very limited range. Functionally they're the same as the thick laser traps, but with a guard as the operating mechanism. They should not be a threat for any proper ninja.
  • CORPORAL KELLY IS A FLAMING IDIOT. I like this encounter a lot, because the game is clearly trying to portray the encounter as a boss fight, when everything about the genre is saying "don't put a boss fight here". I've complained about that before, where games add boss fights where they really don't need to be. So Corporal Kelly subverts that by him bellowing into the dark while you completely ignore him and go about sabotaging everything around him.
  • KNIFE MIMES. That actually is a terrifying image right there.
  • I STILL MAINTAIN THAT ORA'S LINE ABOUT SAMURAI IS BAD. It's cheesy and I hate it. Other people love it, apparently.
  • WITH KELLY DEAD, WE NOW PURSUE KARAJAN TO THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THE STORY. Which I'll probably be recording later today! Wow!
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:13 AM
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IT'S A DANG OL' INTERMISSION POST

ABOUT KLEI'S APPROACH TO STEALTH GAMES

Hi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
I wish any other company was even half as good at implementing stealth as Klei. They just took what previously seemed to be an intractable problem and make it seem effortlessly amazing. They just make stealth work, in two wildly disparate genres.

Anyway, looking forward to this, because this game is rad! It was easily my game of the year in whatever year I finally got around to playing it.
First off, thank you olive oil man for your kind words.

Second: I wanted to talk about this today because while 99% of this assessment is correct, and Klei just walked into the room and didn't loudly announce that they'd perfected stealth games because they were sneaking through and avoiding notice? It wasn't really effortless. The development of the game very nearly fell into many of the same pitfalls as the countless other games that have tried and failed to make stealth enjoyable before it. I'd argue that even games like Metal Gear Solid screwed up in ways that very nearly got into Mark of the Ninja.

But that aside: what are some of the ways that Mark of the Ninja does stealth well?

INFORMATION

Generally speaking, stealth games are going to be asymmetric by design. One person hiding from lots of other people who are stronger than they are. In order to make this any fun whatsoever, there has to be a shift in the power here, and the first way to do that is in the info you get. In Mark of the Ninja, you basically know how a guard will react to whatever's going on at any time. Sure, the more complex interactions are a factor of experimentation, but generally speaking, the usage of light, line of sight, sound waves, and a tool we're going to get in the next segment let the ninja have far more info about the world than the guards do.

YOU SUCK AT FIGHTING

Similarly, stealth games tend to break apart when the player has too many ways to fight enemies, especially head-on. Mark of the Ninja, I feel, still has a few too many ways to do this, but most of those are special unlocks, including the Path of Might that restricts you by virtue of being mutually exclusive with any other path. A vanilla ninja, if spotted, has extremely ineffective martial arts and not much else to deal with guards. They will flat lose to the guy with the assault rifle. It's rarely going to get you killed if you're spotted, but you will get killed if you stick around to fight rather than fleeing and coming up with a new plan. In related news:

LOSING IS FUN

In the highly likely event a novice ninja is spotted, one of two things will happen. The first and most likely is that the guards will shoot them fatally, and the ninja will respawn basically right next to where they died due to the very generous checkpoints in the game. The second is that through quick thinking, reactions, and sheer panic, the ninja will end up creating a situation that, while not strictly as effective or elegant as pure stealth, will nonetheless end up with them escaping with their life intact. Compared with most players' familiarity of stealth in, say, Zelda, where being caught is usually a lengthy animation, sometimes textboxes, and being chucked a considerable ways back, it's barely a penalty at all.

LINEARLY FREEFORM

Finally: the game has the same approach to encounters as Breath of the Wild, where it's more about your environment and stuff you have to win an encounter rather than you memorizing the exact thing needed to clear the area as in a Mega Man title. There are lots of places where you can approach a challenge in a bunch of different ways, none of which is the wrong one. The levels are still pretty linear on the whole, so it's hard to get lost, but your path from start to end can vary quite a bit. I'd compare the layouts to a classic Sonic title, if Sonic was renowned for stealth rather than speed.

Thanks for read, I'll have an actual video later tonight.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:50 PM
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PART 06

LIGHTNING DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY
AN ANCESTRAL HOME

FREQUENT FLYERS
Trynant, fanboymaster

In which the ninja heads to somewhere in Eastern Europe. Let's say Latvia.

NOTES
  • THEY SAY IT CAN DRIVE YOU MAD, BUT I'M NOT SO SURE. Before we head off, Dosan the tattoo artist adds to our Mark. He also has some complaints about the quality of the ink, but Azai won't give him any details, so he's considering heading to the Tabriz greenhouse for more plants. There's also concerns raised about the side effects of the ink, but so far the ninja seems to be doing pretty fine. At the very least, we're no more bloodthirsty than Ora.
  • LIGHTNING. Throughout the Karajan Castle stages, we'll be dealing with a stormy atmosphere. Any time we're outside, we run the risk of being lit up by lightning. The meteorology here is built to service the gameplay rather than realism, which is always the correct answer. Thunder happens, then you have about a second before being lit up.
  • I START BREAKING OUT NEW PATHS. Path of the Hunter first, which is a popular choice for most players. I personally find myself missing the distraction items, though.
  • FARSIGHT. Dosan's addition isn't solely cosmetic, and we get access to the Farsight power. This allows us to scroll our vision around and see guards through walls, as well as what devices connect to what. You have to stay still and focus without stopping time to maintain the effect, but it's still very powerful for planning your next move in safety.
  • DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY USED TO CALL THE ONES THAT GOT THE MARK? Sounds like Ora isn't totally happy with us having accepted the Mark for this mission. I mean, it's hard to say we'd have gotten this far without it, but we're still gonna have to kill one last person after Karajan, and it's gonna be even harder.
  • CALTROPS. What they lack in power compared to the Spike Mine, they make up for in number, which counts for a lot when running Path of the Hunter. That said, they aren't as showy or efficient, so generally speaking I find the Spike Mine better.
  • YOU DO GET TO TOTALLY RUIN THEIR DEBATE SKILLS. Never stop the puns.
  • I UNLOCK THE PATH OF NIGHTMARES. Since it's more interesting than the Path of the Hunter, I switch to it at the earliest convenience. While you only get one attack item, this set makes it ridiculously easy to scare guards, since seeing any dead body will panic them, as well as seeing a stealth kill if they can't also detect you (that second part is the hard part). This is also a decent set for using the caltrops, especially once you get a certain stealth kill.
  • THE CATACOMBS. We get a short preview of the gimmick that will be prevalent in the next area: poison. Functionally it's using the same breath meter in any video game, but on a VERY small threshold. You can stick around for only a second or so before it starts chipping your health away rapidly.
  • CALTROPS ARE NOT GREAT. As you can see, while I can consistently stick two guards with them, the third one stops to see what happened for long enough that I can't just get in there and kill them cleanly. I still try, repeatedly, like a moron. Really, it would've just been better to go for a spike mine to incapacitate one of them and terrify the others.
  • THAT WAS A VERY BLOODY STAGE. This is what I meant above about how Mark of the Ninja doesn't quite devalue combat strength enough. It is not only viable, but honestly recommended, to kill the hell out of every guard you can.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:59 PM
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PART 07

FUNCTIONALLY THE SEWER LEVEL
ABOVE A BOTTOMLESS CHASM

PIT BULLS
Trynant, fanboymaster

In which the ninja takes a shortcut through the catacombs full of Death Smoke.

NOTES
  • I FEEL LIKE NINJAS ARE JUST MERCENARIES WITH MORE MAGIC. Also ridiculously draconian rules about "honor" I think.
  • MORE CONVENTIONAL VIDEOGAMEY TRAPS HERE. Spikes, bottomless pits, toxic clouds, the works. There's also platforms that get destroyed shortly after landing on them or grappling to them; these show up as red when aiming the grappling hook and viewing them with Farsight.
  • GAS MASK GUARDS. Obviously, they're immune to the poison of the catacombs. Less obviously, they possess night vision goggles, letting them see the ninja in the dark, albeit with lesser range. A close enough Distraction Flare can temporarily blind them, which is functionally the same as using caltrops on them.
  • CONVEYOR CRATES. You're able to climb on any side of the crate freely, which makes them honestly kind of fun.
  • OH, THESE GUYS WEREN'T IN POISON GAS. Also that stealth kill bungle was amazing. It's a good thing Rising Snake is really powerful as far as unarmed combat goes! Roundhouse kicking a guard in the chin will usually put them down long enough to finish the job. Especially with the backing of the last path...
  • PATH OF MIGHT. Commonly viewed as the weakest of the choices, this grants you extra bonus health, a full heal after every stealth kill, and much stronger unarmed attacks, at the cost of no timestop during focus. I appreciate it for what it is: a good way for a player who does trip alarms often to turn frustrating failures into manageable ones. That said, all of its benefits hinge on the player failing in the first place. Good for newbies, at least.
  • RIDE THE CRATE TO THE TOP OF THE SHAFT. It's not really hard, it's mostly just a tutorial for the challenge room that extends the mechanic of conveyor crates further. Still kind of neat to spider all over it though.
  • WHAAAAAAT? OKAY. A miracle occurs around 10:24. It's easy to see WHY it occurs, but that doesn't make it any less miraculous.
  • BENEATH THE OLD GATE. The last challenge for this area is a timed challenge, where we're stuck in a room full of escalating threats. I make the foolish claim that the Path of Might is a good answer to this problem and am quickly proven a bumbling fool. Path of Nightmares is by far the better option, as even a single kill turns the entire counter toothless almost instantly.
  • YOU CAN STAY HIDDEN IN THE SAME AREA FOR A LONG TIME. Really, the big problem is that the only way they can flush you out of hiding places is by relying on either dogs or poison gas. If you're clear of both of those, you're set.
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  #14  
Old 06-10-2018, 09:50 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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PART 08

NO HELICOPTERS ALLOWED
THE INNER KEEP

KRAV MAGA INSTRUCTORS
Trynant, fanboymaster

In which the ninja tries to take down a guy asking for it.

NOTES
  • PINEAPPLE ON THE DEATH PIZZA. Trynant is a normal person.
  • ULTIMATE NINJA TECHNIQUE: JUST WALK IN. Hey, they can't all be super stealthy evasion shows.
  • I AM DEFINITELY NOT A NINJA PLANNING MORE MURDER LATER. So you're a COP planning more murder.
  • TERRORIZING A GUARD INTO SHOOTING ANOTHER USUALLY REQUIRES VERY SPECIFIC AREAS. My first attempt is wrecked because while the guard in the lower area can hear and wants to investigate the gunshots, he can't actually get up there. You ideally want a few guards in the same hallway.
  • OH, I LITERALLY JUST WALKED ALL THE WAY AROUND THIS CHECKPOINT. Sometimes that can happen, I guess!
  • HE'S HOLDING A SHOTGUN ONE-HANDED AND HIS CHIN IS AMAZING. Elite guards are new, but not that new, since Corporal Kelly was technically one of them. When we encountered him, we lacked any method of stunning him save for the good ol' electrical grid to the face. Now, though, we have caltrops, and even lethal attack items like spike mines will stun them. You can't stealth kill them if they're not stunned, their MMA is too strong.
  • I'M NOT SCARED OF NINJAS! That said, you can kill them by other methods. Always dunk this dumbass with a chandelier.
  • THE CHALLENGE ROOM IS ABOUT USING DEAD GUYS AS SECURITY TOOLS. That's not a weird thing to hallucinate about or anything.
  • HEY LOOK, IT'S PLACEHOLDER MAN! When you reach the helipad to disable Karajan's escape route, you can either kill the pilot (who is visible in the brief instructions in the menus as the example guard for some reason) or smash up the fuel supply. I always prefer the fuel supply route because the helicopter path is extremely open and guarded by two elites, but a sufficiently badass ninja could take that route instead.
  • I'M TRYING TO GET YOU GUYS TO SEE THE GRIM SPECTER OF DEATH OVER HERE. That last area can be really good for doing the friendly fire seal, at least.
  • THAT LAST SCROLL UNDER THE ENDING CUTSCENE IS A DICK MOVE. If you miss it, hope you like replaying the whole level just to get it. You're just lucky you're a good fun game, Mark of the Ninja.
  • YOU! ALL OF YOU! GUARD ME WITH YOUR LIVES! Karajan is cornered and terrified, and I don't blame him. We've been carving through legions of his mercs, including his right hand man, like they're not even there, and we don't care about his money or power. All we want is him, dead.

Last edited by Kalir; 06-20-2018 at 10:02 AM.
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  #15  
Old 06-10-2018, 10:12 PM
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bug report from guards : "Ninja physics OP, plz nerf."
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  #16  
Old 06-11-2018, 11:55 PM
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PART 09

THE DEADLIEST TECHNIQUE
A BLADE AT HIS NECK

HIGH TECH SECURITY MEASURES
Trynant, fanboymaster

In which the ninja finds out more than they were expecting to.

NOTES
  • PATH OF SILENCE IS OBJECTIVELY THE BEST FOR THIS MISSION. I don't just mean that it works well for the enemy set you'll be facing, but that much is definitely true. The best part I will save for last. Anyway, it lets you carry two distraction items and allows totally silent running, which is great, but you also can't perform stealth kills at all. It's a really neat way to play, but not really advisable for your first playthrough.
  • PICKPOCKET OR MURDER. Again, functionally identical, but one of them lets you say you completed the mission nonlethally and also lets you feel cooler.
  • LASER MAZE SOUNDS LIKE A GAME YOU'D PLAY IN THE ARCADE IN 1982. The challenge area here isn't too hard, but I miss out on a basic assumption for a long time that hamstrings all of my attempts. Including...
  • SOUNDS LIKE WHATEVER FOLLOWED "SCREW IT" DIDN'T WORK. Apparently you can't use distraction items to totally cheese the challenge rooms. THANKS BUNCHES, GAME.
  • BUT YEAH YOU CAN TOTALLY MOVE AROUND WHILE THE CONVEYOR THINGS ARE MOVING. I've played this game before, I swear.
  • GET SMELLED BY ALL THE DOGS. The first time you encounter dogs, you might consider them just as deadly as night vision guards. Not so, of course, they can't personally raise the alarm or shoot you, and scent isn't that reliable. Providing a challenge that forces you to bait that sense and experience how it works is a good way to teach the game.
  • DOG SMELLS TROUBLE, KEEP AN EYE OUT! The guard AI loop at 15 minutes in is just beautiful. You should view it with your eyeballs.
  • THROUGHOUT THE LEVEL, KARAJAN TRIES TALKING TO US. Course, the comms are one-way, but that doesn't stop him from a wide range of threats, bribes, and pleading to stop us. Ironically, this is the mission where we're not killing our way through.
  • THE PANIC ROOM IS THE LAST CHALLENGE HERE. While Corporal Kelly's room was a "boss fight" about circling around a challenger setting up a sabotage, Count Karajan's area is more about peeling away his layers of defenses until we can get into his hideout. Given the high security and lack of guards for this final area, this is a big factor in why I prefer the Path of Silence; having lots of distraction items works out really well.
  • WHERE IS HE? IS HE GONE? And then we kill Karajan. I won't spoil what happens here with the Path of Silence, you'll just have to watch the video.
  • HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT NOT KILLING YOURSELF? After we finish the mission, there's a lot of plot to unpack considering the excuse plot we've had up until now, which means HAAAAAY another intermission post.
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  #17  
Old 06-12-2018, 12:17 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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JUST LIKE HE SAID, AN INTERMISSION POST

SUMMARIZING THE PLOT SO FAR

Yes, really.

Mark of the Ninja is similar to Hotline Miami in a lot of ways, not least in the fact that you're here to slaughter everyone, ideally without being noticed, and dying isn't going to set you back very far. It's also similar in that the story has a lot of depth if you know what to look for, although Hotline Miami beats the hell out of it in that regard (on account of hiding the entire premise of the games so hard that you won't even know the plot until you're almost done with both).

A lot of this is buried in the Voice of the Hisomu scrolls we've mostly gotten throughout the levels, so let's start with...

THE HISOMU CLAN

The ninja who serves as our protagonist is a proud member of the Hisomu clan of ninjas, founded by a master by the name of Tetsuji. The traditional sword of the Hisomu clan even bears his name, and is never brought to bear unless it will kill a foe in one strike. Tetsuji was plenty badass on his own, but he really became known when he led the Hisomu clan to follow the guidance of some merchants near Tabriz. There, he found a strange flower that had extremely toxic petals. Not only were they a powerful and deadly hallucinogen, they also had a number of side benefits. This is how the practice of the Mark came along.

THE MARK

The Mark is a special sort of tattoo, using ink made from the toxin of the Tabriz flowers. As we've seen, it grants incredible powers, including the ability to drastically enhance your senses and focus your mind, but reportedly has side effects that will drive the user mad. Historically, Tetsuji used the Mark without any kind of check to his power, resulting in the Hisomu clan's downfall as he became bloodthirsty and unpredictable. When his successor Otomo came to power, severe restrictions were placed on the Mark's usage: only novice ninjas could use the Mark, and any ninja that did would be required, at the conclusion of their mission, to kill themselves, sparing innocent members of the clan, and themselves, from a berserk rage that nobody could stop.

PRESENT DAY

Today, the Hisomu clan continues the trends of old, including the restrictions on the Mark and a taboo on the technology of outsiders, especially weaponry. But here we have Azai arming some ninjas with high tech gear from Hessian Services, so what's the deal with that?

Turns out that when Corporal Kelly said "you picked the wrong guys to rob, Sensei", he was telling the truth. Azai attempted to steal weaponry and armor from Hessian Services, and got tracked down, getting lots of ninja killed in the process. He also preemptively assigned the Mark to one of his students, and tasked them with eliminating the head of Hessian Services, Count Karajan, under the false pretense of their "unprovoked" attack on the clan. When that ninja completed his mission, that pretty much left Hessian Services dead in the water and free to loot.

DOSAN'S SUSPICION

It's not just our ninja and Ora who distrust Azai about this, either. Dosan's coming from a different angle, though: when he gives us the second Mark, he notes the poor quality of the ink, as though Azai was holding out on him. Dissatisfied, Dosan has traveled to the bandit hideout near Tabriz, where they have been hired by the Hisomu clan to guard the greenhouse where the flowers are stored. That's where we'll be heading as well; with any luck, we'll find what we need to confront Azai.
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  #18  
Old 06-14-2018, 11:27 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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PART 10

ANCIENT PERSIAN AUTO SHOP
A SHATTERED STRONGHOLD

TATTOO ENTHUSIASTS
Trynant, fanboymaster

In which the ninja discovers the wonders of boxes.

NOTES
  • SEE LOOK, HERE'S A BOX. Works like in Metal Gear Solid, except better! You only have one box, but that's all you really need since you can just keep the box when it's not in use.
  • WELCOME TO TABRIZ. While this is meant to be a bandit hideout, the Tabriz section of the game is pretty... bad. Not necessarily in gameplay, but in representation, because the aesthetic they went for is "generic Middle East terrorist hideout" complete with car bombs. This would be pretty dicey in a vacuum, but the fact that the writers specifically mention Tabriz, which a cursory amount of research indicates is actually a pretty nice place, makes this segment all the more dissonant.
  • ANYWAY, EXPLOSIVES EVERYWHERE. The car bombs are proximity explosives, but have a generous timer, so they're mostly more lethal noisemakers. There's also a lot more of the crumbly bits that we were introduced to in Castle Karajan, and explosive packages that go off as soon as anyone touches them. They can be dropped using your darts, making them great for dealing with the bandits. Some of the cover items are even rigged to explode if you use them. Use Farsight to detect these beforehand.
  • THIS STUPID SAND, I CAN'T SEE A THING. You also have the environment to worry about here. Normal vision barely gets ahead of you when outside in the sandstorms, forcing you to rely on Farsight to check your course. Which is a neat idea on paper, but usually means just tapping it on and off every few feet to ensure you don't blunder right into a bandit.
  • THE BOX IS NOT THAT RELIABLE IN METAL GEAR. I feel like that's you failing the Box.
  • THE HALF DEAD RAT HASN'T BROKEN YET, BUT GIVE IT TIME. Sounds like the bandits figured out about the Mark. Which I guess makes sense since their ancestors told our ancestors about them in the first place.
  • FIND THE KEYS TO UNLOCK THESE CHAINS, AND FIND THE TOOLS THEY STOLE FROM ME. This is where the stage gets a little nonlinear, sort of. Basically how it works is if you think of most stages as a thread going from start to finish, this one instead has the thread loop backwards over itself to connect to this spot. In short, we can take the upper or lower path first, with the expectation that we'll backtrack along the route we didn't take. I usually prefer the lower route first.
  • THE LOWER ROUTE HAS LOTS OF UNSTABLE STONEWORK. These make for excellent traps to dispatch or alert bandits. The first area in particular is a great place to learn about how they work, with an abundance of traps around a solitary bandit, who is likely to trip one or two just by walking.
  • THE EXPLOSIVES ARE ALL IN THE MIND. Or the ninja is just tripping balls and faceplanting into walls IRL. Who knows. Let's ask Axiom Verge.
  • NINJA STORY TIME. At around 18:10 I get into how the popular conception of The Ninja came to be. It also has a bonus feature: why does the word "ghost" have an H? The answer may surprise you!
  • THE SUMI ROOM ISN'T TOO HARD. Mostly it's just the multi-level terrain and the traps to worry about, but those barely pose a threat. I basically neutralize the room with one spike mine.
  • GET THE KEYS WITHOUT USING ITEMS. This one can be really hard for a pacifist player, but if you aren't pacifist, then it's a little easier. Just mind the snipers as you go and you can get to the jailer no problem.
  • MISCLICK. Mind your cursor when hanging out above bandits.
  • TATTOO NEEDLES ARE ALSO EASY. Seriously, why even bother with caltrops when spike mines exist?
  • THE FLOWERS HAVE BEEN DEAD A YEAR, MAYBE MORE. So that's Azai's secret. The ink for the Mark can't be made anymore, but rather than telling the Hisomu clan, Azai instead staged a reason for us to assassinate Count Karajan and steal his gear to arm the ninja clan. Faced with this threat to the clan's existence, Dosan swears to use the last of the ink to finish the Mark.
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  #19  
Old 06-15-2018, 11:41 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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PART 11

NONLETHAL THWOMPS
A TALE FROM THE PAST

ANIMAL METAPHORS
Trynant, fanboymaster, muteKi, BEAT

In which a younger Dosan establishes the background with the bandits of Tabriz.

NOTES
  • DOSAN'S TALE. This standalone DLC chapter can be played at any time when downloaded, but it seems most fitting to play it just after reaching the Tabriz area for the first time. First off, you're playing as Dosan, represented by the Path of Wisdom and its nonlethal takedowns. They're very powerful.
  • I HAVE IMMEDIATELY FAILED IN USING THIS RELIABLY. Or as BEAT might put it, LOLDEAD.
  • WISDOM TAKEDOWNS EARN NO POINTS. Which leads one to believe that it might be best suited for pacifist runs, which rely heavily on the end-of-level bonuses to score highly, especially given that guards can revive fallen teammates. This isn't quite the case for a few reasons, but we'll get to those.
  • MUTEKI FINALLY MAKES AN AUDIBLE APPEARANCE. For the duration of the stream, he's present, but tech difficulties on his end make him unable to reliably contribute to the call. These things happen.
  • DUSK MOTHS. All of the DLC stuff skews towards the higher end of the power scale for their respective slots. The Dusk Moths are exceptionally powerful, able to noiselessly shut down any light source for a short time, or to stun a guard as the moths blind them. Ordinarily, you'd only have the two parcels, putting it more in line with the 3-packs that most distraction items can hold, but the Path of Wisdom allows for double stocked and replenished consumables, so we get four total for this mission, and two more per checkpoint. Most pacifist speedruns abuse the hell out of dusk moths to disable that one guard that really ties the room together.
  • THEN THERE ARE THE BLOCK TRAPS. These extremely beneficial tools allow Dosan to drop a heavy block onto guards, which miraculously does not kill them, only stun them and glue them to the underside of the block. This is still basically lethal since guards up there can't be dislodged and any guard that sees this will become terrified, but it does mean you get no points immediately for an Indirect Kill. They're extremely silly.
  • FUNGAL SPORES. These are comparable to spike mines in their method. Throw them at a guard and they instantly die, and that guard then becomes a poisonous trap for the first guard who sees them die. I say in the video that they're blatantly overpowered, but I think part of that is that caltrops and spike mines are the only real attack items we've seen, and caltrops are worthless. They're still really good for being able to instantly and silently kill a guard and turning their body into a distracting trap, though.
  • I KNEW WHERE TO FIND THE THREE LEVERS THAT ARMED THE TRAPS. At first, this stage is very painless even considering it's in Tabriz (which they misspell in this chapter apparently). However, the three layers of traps gradually ramp up the threat of this area, mostly to yourself rather than the guards, until such time as it's a threat of its own. Your goal is to activate all three sets, and the routes you take and order you activate the traps in can change up the threats you face significantly.
  • I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU THREW GEORGE HARRISON AT A MAN. I know, right? What a way to go!
  • HEY, I'M ALIVE. BEAT joins the stream right around the time I drop a chandelier on an unconscious man for no reason at all.
  • I APPARENTLY GOT AN INDIRECT KILL AT SOME POINT - OHH! Enabling the spiked vents kills any guards I may have KO'd and stashed in the vents beforehand. You can play Dosan's Tale nonlethal, it's just hard.
  • I GET AN ACHIEVEMENT. More importantly: you get a seal for activating two levers without being seen, but somehow I get seen multiple times and an alarm is never raised. I think it's because they see me right as I go for the CQC? Not sure. Weird.
  • THE ROOM. Listen to the shenanigans around 17:10, or just make up your own answer to what stupid references to The Room people make. I give you the gift of IMAGINATION.
  • I MAKE THE ACTIVATION OF THE THIRD TRAP LOOK ALMOST EASY. Going under the obvious trap sprinting segment was pretty clever, if you ask me.
  • GOT AN INDIRECT KILL BY BODYSLAMMING HIM INTO A GRENADE. I think that counts as a direct kill.
  • THE CONSERVATORY HAS TWO OBJECTIVES, EITHER OF WHICH WILL RESULT IN A VIC- haha yeah no screw that you win the conservatory by nonlethal thwomping everything you can reach until you start getting haunted floating bandits. OBVIOUSLY.
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  #20  
Old 06-16-2018, 11:40 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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PART 12

WHEN ALL YOU HAVE IS UNLIMITED POWER
SET TO FLIGHT

LASER NINJAS
Trynant, fanboymaster, muteKi, BEAT

In which the ninja runs away in the most badass fashion possible.

NOTES
  • THE STAKES ARE RAISED. Immediately after Dosan finishes his magnum opus, granting us the final Mark, Azai's newly-equipped agents track us down and wordlessly open fire. Now, our ninja has just attained the highest possible power available to ninjas and possibly humanity, and Ora is a senior ninja so adept that nobody has yet called any attention to her at all, so both of them are fine. Dosan, though, is elderly, likely unarmed and unarmored, and has been tortured and starved for nearly a week. The fact that he manages to clear the window at all is amazing, but that plus a shot to the gut spells his end.
  • WE HAD TO LEAVE EVERYTHING BEHIND EXCEPT YOUR DARTS. But who cares, because now we have the Path of Serenity. This is basically the game's way of ensuring the final Mark power doesn't overlap with any other Path: with the Path of Serenity, our distraction item slot is now the ability to teleport on cooldown. It's not imperceptible, but it is extremely safe in all other regards. This is also likely the method of triggering things that say that the ninja is temporarily in two spots at once that was mentioned far earlier.
  • THE STALKERS ARE IN PLAY NOW. These are the most dangerous guards in the game, with their highly lethal laser weaponry, natural ninja agility that lets them pursue us on any path we could take, and ability to sense motion around them and see in the dark. Needless to say, they also have nerves of steel and cannot be terrified. Killing them isn't impossible at the level we're at, but it is much harder, not that we have the ability to do so without a sword.
  • OKAY, WE GOT THE SEAL, NOW WE CAN EXPERIMENT. It takes a comedically short amount of time for me to get chumped after that.
  • BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO WEAPONS FOR THIS STAGE, YOUR KILLS ARE ALL BASED ON USING ENVIRONMENTAL TRAPS. Which makes it a good thing that there are so dang many of them!
  • OH NO THEY FOUND THE BODY AND AN ALARM WAS RAISED WHATEVER WILL I DOOOOOOO. I'm thinking you're just gonna hang out for a second?
  • I LEGITIMATELY BREAK THE PUZZLE ROOM. I think flipping the lever more than once before it finished resolving the first time did it, but for whatever reason I find myself wholly unable to hard reset the puzzle to its original state. More's the pity. At least you all got to see what the answer is supposed to be.
  • I DIDN'T EVEN TRIP THAT, WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING? So for whatever reason, the final underground segment of the map is a place where the stalkers will easily trip the traps themselves without the ninja being anywhere near them, frequently leading to a chain of investigations that will get half the enemies in the area killed and disarm all the traps for you. I have to wonder if some of these traps were modified very late into development and weren't properly tested, but hey, it's funny at least.
  • YOU KNOW WHAT YOU MUST DO. Anyway we escaped, so clearly next we have to go murder Azai for singlehandedly wrecking the ninja clan and consigning us to madness and death. As one does.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:37 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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PART 13

I'M BACK BABY
THE RETURN

HALLUCINATORY MERCENARIES
Trynant, fanboymaster, muteKi, BEAT

In which the ninja returns home by swimming in a river of madness.

NOTES
  • I DON'T THINK ANYONE WILL BE PLEASED TO SEE US. We're still unarmed and have to sneak into the dojo to confront (murder) Azai. What sorts of ninja trickery will we encounter here?
  • HIDDEN IN LIGHT, SHOWN IN SHADOW. This level has a bunch of weird elements to it, first being these shadow blocks that go away when illuminated. Cool concept gameplay wise, but what does that mean in-story?
  • EVERYTHING IS EXTREMELY NORMAL RIGHT NOW. There's also the oni faces in the wall as a new form of security. If they are illuminated, they open their eyes, which can in turn open locks or trigger traps.
  • ALSO THERE'S TRAINS. The secret entrance to the dojo apparently uses tunnels in the subway, which we could theoretically handle without the Mark of Serenity. Those trains are, of course, lethal if they hit you, to say nothing of the electrified tracks.
  • ARE THE HALLUCINATIONS GETTING STRONGER? Thaaaat explains a lot. Especially the fact that Hessian Services guards are just kind of all over the place despite their operation's dissolution. Seems like the last Mark (and all that cross-continental travel) is making the time limit on our lives all the shorter.
  • REALISM IS EXTREMELY OVERRATED. The last challenge is pretty tricky since it incorporates a few mechanics we've only just learned about in-game, plus the Mark of Serenity.
  • GOOD OL' TAIRA. We get our sword back and are immediately allowed to spend the vast amount of honor we have accrued. We spend it on getting a bunch of silly capabilities for the ninja, most of which we won't be using at the moment. We will, however, use the Parachute Cloth and the Ravenous Insects.
  • HALLUCINATIONS TURN INTO NINJAS WHEN KILLED. Which means we're not just going after Azai or his closest supporters, but basically any ninja in the Hisomu clan who happens to be anywhere even slightly inconvenient for us.
  • TRULY, WHICH TURTLE ARE YOU? The nature of the soul of humanity cannot be so succinctly answered, and yet we try anyway.
  • RAVENOUS INSECTS ARE POWERFUL. They take longer than Fungal Spores and can't chain kills, but they hide the body and terrify anyone who sees it. You can also use them on already dead bodies to speedily hide them.
  • TULPA TALK. I don't even know. At least it leads indirectly to Dr. McNinja.
  • THEIR GRADUATION REQUIREMENT WAS TO STEP ON SPIKE MINES. Amazingly, Ravenous Insects can kill elite guards. So that's cool.
  • DO YOU REMEMBER THIS TEST? Apparently the lock to open the garden is also the neophyte training halls to avoid detection. I wonder if they also got to use swords. Anyway, it's got snipers and gas mask guards for the first part, but it's not too bad, it's mostly a puzzle.
  • RIDICULOUS SNIPER CAPABILITIES. Dear Klei: y'all wanna explain the hell just happened at 28:14?
  • THIS IS PART OF THE TEST, TOO. When we pull the lever, all the other hallucinations, dead or alive, vanish and a trio of stalkers come in. Evade them for long enough, get back to the entrance, and you've won the game!
  • WELCOME HOME. We'll save the ending for the next episode. It kinda deserves it.
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  #22  
Old 06-20-2018, 09:44 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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PART 14

I'VE NEVER LIED TO YOU
A MOONLIT GARDEN

FACES IN THE FOREST
Trynant, fanboymaster, muteKi, BEAT

In which the ninja chooses.

NOTES
  • WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO? Right out of the gate, the ending hits us with the big plot twist. Sure, we've been hallucinating almost everything we've seen during this last mission, and there've been those weird gongs that transported us to challenge rooms, but for the most part, we've had some fairly grounded experiences in these missions. But suppose that we were imagining one common thread throughout the whole thing, and only now has our perception of it, or rather, her, been actively challenged.
  • I WILL LEAVE YOU TO MAKE YOUR DECISION. So the only thing we really do for this mission is make a choice about the ending. Azai walks further into the ancestral shrine, and awaits our arrival. All we have to do is reflect on our actions, and the actions of those involved in the story.
  • A LITTLE WALK THROUGH THE FOREST. The ending sequence for this game really takes the plot twist we've just had up to the nines, as we travel less through a forest and more through a page covered with ink, showing all the major plot points of the game as a quick refresher before we make our final decision. It's honestly kind of beautiful.
  • THERE IS NO GOOD ENDING. At the end of our walk, we must make our choice. Either we can kill Azai, avenging the curse of the Mark he's brought upon us and the damage he has done to the clan through his lies, or we can silence Ora, and her words of slaughter, by ending our own life. There's arguments here to be made about "honor" but neither choice really gets anywhere in terms of that. You are free to make either choice, but there is no way to spare (or kill) them both.
  • BEAT MAKES THE CHOICE ON THE STREAM. He mixes up the names but otherwise gets a good argument going, and before long we have brought the story to an end.
  • YAAAEY WE WIN That's the LP, everyone! Thank you all for joining up on this magical murderous adventure.
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