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My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:00 pm
by julius-ruler4
It has been 10 years since Ninja Gaiden Sigma was released, and I finally decided to give you my personal thoughts about this game.

From what we've seen in the cut-scene at the main menu, it looked like a promising game but it is flawed on so many areas and Team Ninja hasn't even bothered to look at it and patch the necessary bugs that are in the game. I will also put some good stuff in it as well.

Bad things in the game:

1. The AI aggressiveness:

Over the past years since I played this game, even when playing casual, I noticed that the enemies became more and more aggressive when a new update from Sony was released (noticed increased aggressiveness on every game I played). It is not the task of the distributor to adjust several pieces of code to every game like increasing AI from enemies. Even on my runs that I tried to do for karma, something always goes wrong because of the increased intelligence and aggressiveness. Team Ninja, NGS would outclass NGB if only the AI is being reset to its original level. Despite people loving a challenge, for some Karma runners like me, it becomes impossible to do some things as the AI is extremely agressive even on Normal difficulty.

2. Weapon arsenal:

Unlike NGB, the player starts the game on every difficulty with only the "Dragon Sword" and can only get the "Lunar" and "Nunchaku" on chapter 4, which is extremely bad for players that played NGB a lot. On NGB on Hard difficulty and Very Hard difficulty the player not only gets the "Dragon Sword" but also the "Nunchaku". Later in chapter 1 on those difficulties the player also gets the "Lunar". On Master Ninja difficulty the player gets all three mentioned weapons from the very start of the game. On NGS the "lunar" and "Nunchaku" are out of place and it would seriously help to get them in the first 3 chapters. Although the "Dragons Claw and Tigers Fang" are ne nice addition to the weapon arsenal, it doesn't really help when going for score since the first hit can make sure when a boss is one hit away from finishing a chapter, then you lose 5,000 points.

3. UT bug and bugged smoke bombs:

One of the most annoying things in NGS is the goddamn UT bug. It is like this, that with 2 essences you sometimes only get an ET even if both essences were acquired at the exact same time. It can really screw over a player who is going for score. Not to mention that sometimes the smoke bombs don't even work either which really screw up a lot of players. Even when active, sometimes an enemy can see you through the smoke bombs and makes it impossible to get the score you want on the first attempt.

4. Messed up time limits and kill limits:

Some time limits are pretty much impossible to make even in the best conditions. Chapter 3 time limit on Normal is only 13 minutes while a player needs at least 18. If only 7 minutes were added or the Fiend challenge was removed then the time limit could be met. Chapter 6, and a lot of fights have to be finished very quickly in order to make the time limit. on the same chapter you also are forced to spend at least 2 minutes trying to farm enemies to meet the kill limit for the EOC bonus. That requirement is less strict on higher difficulties but still hard to do. If those limits are there just to make sure that you keep the total time limit for the game unchanged then Team Ninja, you are a bunch of idiots. If a limit is there, it is there for a reason, to make it and get the 10k. Also some time limits are not possible to make for players that are trying a Karma run on perhaps Master Ninja Difficulty while fighting a Clone Ryu.

5. Points not awarded:

Some points are not awarded while doing either boss fights or getting UT's. Chapter 6, the 3 Lizzard Fiend, you are not getting any points for killing all three of them. This really costs players 13k and can mess up your gameplay. Same for Chapter 2 where you slide down a slope. You have to jump twice to get that fight timed or it will not be a timed fight, which then will cost you 38,000 points and causes players to reset their game. Same goes for Awakened Alma on Chapter 16. After defeating her, you should get at least 100,000 points but due to a bug in the game, those points are not granted. Though it is timed, it is not fun in a KR as this doesn't give you any reward, but forces you to get 3 or 4 UT's which is impossible on Normal difficulty. Another example is the first form of the Vigoor emperor. This boss forces you to get as many UT's as possible in 180 seconds while killing him in the time limit doesn't grant you any points due to a bug in the game, though it is timed. Also another example is the no-look-attack. When hitting an enemy off-screen the game doesn't grant you the points for getting a UT or a kill while the timer didn't start. In NGB if you would do a no-look-attack it would grant you the kill/UT.

6. Weird fights:

in some cases without looking at an enemy, it would start the timer and could really screw over an attempt for a KR and causes a player to reset his game. It has always been annoying as mostly these fights are part of a big gauntlet that you have to commit yourself to in order to save yourself some time on the chapter.

7. Leaderboard hackers and exploiters:

It has been several years since the cheaters decided to get to the top of the leaderboards for every single difficulty. I see in the story leaderboards and mission mode leaderboards some people who used a "Game Genie" to get modded scores that are going above 1 billion or even get almost 2 billion. These people have been invading the leaderboards for years and no single thing has been done to weed those people out or ban their accounts. This is not appropriate, nor fun as it really ruins the fun of people who do highscore runs legitimately.

8. Failed inputs:

Most people suffer from an issue called "input lag". It is an issue that makes sure when you perform a command with your controller that Ryu does something completely else. A few examples are "->Y" being registered as a "-> HOLD Y", UT being registered as a Fiend sealer, roll and return ->Y as a 360Y, ninpo being registered as counter, fail rolling and more. This makes people rage like crazy and I sometimes wonder if this isn't done on purpose just to screw people and piss everyone else off.

These points are the most irritating things that would ruin your game forever if you really committed to it. I hoped that some things would have been patched by this time but unfortunately things have never been done to fix these problems. I sincerely hope they remaster this for the PS4 as they made NGB reverse compatible on Xbone.

On overall, this game is quite good for casual gamers but for the Karma Runners among us, this game is mostly a nightmare. To many people the new features are very nice to have compared to NGB but again, without decent polishing, the game is flawed to the extreme.

One note I would like to add is the fact that Rachel has some significant flaws in terms of her movement. She cannot do any wallruns unlike NGS2 where she could do it without any problems. In hindsight, it would have been better if everything was way better designed and cared for instead of taking the code from NGB and add a few new features. Clearly rushed and untested, since the bugs persist today.

In retrospect, it wasn't very smart to let Itagaki go while he could perfect this game and make it even more enjoyable for every single player. This was a guy that was way ahead of his time in terms of game design, graphics, enemy aggressiveness, enemy balancing and area design. While NGB got released in 2005, NGS got released in 2007. While some people of Team Ninja worked on NGS till 2007, Itagaki was working on his second masterpiece, NG2. Itagaki mentioned that NGS was flawed in many ways just like I did recently. Just one patch to fix these 8 points that cause problems for players would do a serious number on the general popularity of the game itself.

My only hope for the future is that Hayashi learned from his mistakes with NGS, NGS2, NG3 and NG3:RE when making NG4. He got two masterpieces to get inspiration from and these are NGB and NG2. NGB for score system, timed fights, weapon UT animations and EOC requirements. NG2 for combat engine, UT charging speed and projectile UT's. Many more things could be added but it would be pointless as most people have a different opinion on games like NGS.

Re: My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:06 pm
by Royta
For me, personally, Sigma 1 was always 1 step forward, 2 steps back. While I can't really find myself in your points since I'm a handicap runner, not a karma runner, I can understand your problem with this. For me my biggest complaint of Sigma 1 was that it added things to add things, not because they were well designed or thought out.

They just threw another weapon in there, another character, some extra Fiend Challenges, items, a menu system and aerial bow combat and just rolled with it. They didn't check what it did to the game, they didn't think of the implications, they didn't polish it. To me the biggest flaw this game has is just not caring about itself, but just flaunting pointless new features.

Re: My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:00 pm
by Bigalski
Wow great analysis. While I enjoyed NGS, it just wasn't as polished as NGB. If I had to pick one thing, it'd be the impossible time limits.

Re: My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:38 pm
by julius-ruler4
Believe me, if I had the ability to fix this game, I would do it. Hayashi really has a lot to learn if he wants to come even close to the level Itagaki operated. The game needs refinement and polishing to the extreme to make it the same way NGB is right now: perfect.

Comparing NGB to NGS. Fine wine gets better over the years, bad wine turns into vinegar after a short period of time.

Re: My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:49 am
by Alhazard
I prefer NGS for KRing. Long NGB time limits meant that you had to figure out the optimal UT farming strategies, which is boring to me, where in NGS, time limits are tighter so you have to figure out how much you can squeeze in the short times.

1. Didn't really see a difference.
2. Agreed on the lunar, which is a real shame.
3. Smoke bomb does work in most of the fights even without the visual que. The only time this matters is in the 2nd fight of the Aquaduct chapter where dropping the bomb in the water does nothing, which is flavorful. I liked that twist even if that made the fight incredibly hard.
4. Yeah some are impossible but I made the time limit on multiple fights that no one could before (Doku, 2nd fight of airship MN, laser heli fight on airship MN, monastery gate fight on chp 6 MN, etc) so maybe more are possible then thought? Do agree though that time limits especially on challenges are not scaled.
5. Bad polish agreed.
6. Didnt have a problem
7. I just shrug it off since this is a universal problem with leaderboards.
8. Disagree heavily since another major reason I like NGS is because Dual Shock 3 >>>>>>> 360 controller. So much easier to do 360s on the PS thumbpad.

Re: My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:43 pm
by julius-ruler4
Well, before I conclude this here, there are a few things I have forgotten to mention.

1. Off-screen attacks from mainly Berserkers and (M)SAT:

I've noticed that sometimes the enemies can attack you off-screen and it causes the timer to start in all cases that I've experienced. It is really annoying as it costs you at least 2 or 3 seconds and most likely an ET or a UT. What bugs me even more is that they allow you to block the Vigoorian Berserkers but they received an buff as well, the ability to do they ground-stab off-screen. What could fix this is that they remove the off-screen attack from the Berserkers and only allow you to block a Berserker while you wear the "Armlet of the Moon". In NGB this is not there, so again a buff to Ryu but at the cost of off-screen safety in NGS. Who had this idea in his mind, I could seriously kill him for that ...

2. Credits:

Since you have to see the credits over and over if you complete the game it really annoys players who play this game for karma or casual or a different type of run. You cannot skip the credits, unlike NGB. Watch the credits from start to finish before you can even skip the final cutscene, to be able to see how well you played on the game in total. Make the credits skippable, and you shall have many thanks from players, because who watches credits, huh? Little embarrassing TBH ...

3. Scoring system:

While I admire the scoring system they use in NGB and NGS for the regular encounters and boss fights, I really believe that they should base the EoC scoring system partially on NG2. If you did the Test of Valor on a certain chapter then your total bonus for kills and time is doubled from 130,000 to 260,000. Fiend challenges are pretty much also Tests of Valor but only shorter and within the map area. Those were pretty fun to do if you had the right weaponry equipped. What I really want to see back in the game again is the "intercept technique" and let players also choose which scoring system they want to play with. Ah, nostalgia ...

4. No successive play or NG+:

Unlike NG2 and NGO, that player cannot do any "successive play" or do a "new game +" like you could in NG2 if you completed the game before on that specific difficulty. They should allow you to start a new game with all the weaponry you finished the game with, except that your weaponry is reduced to it's base level. And you start with all the weapons, even the ones that are scarab rewards. I intentionally exclude the armlets because if you would start with all armlets too then you would only use the "Armlet of Celerity" as it charges your UT's a lot quicker. If you decide to do "successive play", then you play the game with all weapons at the level you ended the game with, even the "True Dragon Sword" or the "Dragon Sword" at level 3. Also all your ninpo is available at the level it was when finishing the game. Would be most likely overkill as one hit would destroy a brown ninja or even kill 3 enemies in 1 single UT ...

5. Rachel:

I already mentioned her before but there are a few things that bother me and I can go into detail about it now. Her movement is very slow compared to what speed she has in NGS2. She has no ability to do any wallruns like Ryu and she cannot do a flying bird flip like Ryu can. Also she is very slow when it comes to attacking enemies. another thing I believe she should have is a more extended weaponry, because her "War Hammer' is only for short to mid-range. Give her at least a sword or let her use the sword she carries on her back or give her a long range UT weapon like a dabilahro or something in the style of the UF but designed for her only. Let her start with it as the wooden sword and let her upgrade it to the UF but in a lesser amount of upgrades. And her "Sword" should have the same ability to be upgraded as well as move set from the "Dragon Sword" when you do upgrades with it. You could also add some more variety in the projectile weapons. A little bit more variance in the Rachel chapters in general would make them more enjoyable, and players would even love to play with her. Oh Rachel, what love you would get from the casual gamers ...

6. EoC Time limits:

This may have been analyzed before but I would like to point out - with Chapter 3 time limit as a perfect example - that some time limits to do a specific chapter should be buffed. I'll take Hard as an example for NGS. The time limits for the Rachel Chapters on any difficulty are actually fine so no buff is required for those. But on Hard you only get 6:56:00 to complete the game. Chapter 3 should give you 20 minutes as a EoC time limit. Unfortunately it's only 12 minutes so it's impossible to even get the full 100,000 for the time limit. Chapter 6 gives you only 14 minutes like on normal with less kills required but it is still pretty hard as you have to finish some fights a lot quicker and you don't have the time to farm for karma. The ideal time limit for Chapter 6 should be -IMO at least - 19 minutes, so that players don't have to commit themselves to long gauntlets. Chapter 9 only gives you 30 minutes and 32 on Normal, so that is a 2 minute penalty. Ideal time would be - my personal opinion - 45 minutes so that you can also save a lot more often and again, not commit yourselves to a frickin' gauntlet. Another example is Chapter 17. 13 minutes for the entire chapter, while it should be - IMO again - at least 20 as you have to do a 3 berserker fight. Last thing is Chapter 18. Only 25 minutes to do the entire chapter, while it should give you 40 minutes for it. This is just on the Hard difficulty, and we're not even talking about Normal, VH and MN. Generally, CH3 EoC time limit should be buffed till 20 minutes for normal and Hard and 25 minutes for VH and MN.
The ideal Total Time for each difficulty should be like this, so that you are allowed to save more often and it might grant a player even some extra time if he gets a "Game Over" screen. The time limits written below are with buffs on all chapters if in certain chapters an extra savepoint is added.

Normal = 8:30:00
Hard = 10:20:00
Very Hard = 13:10:00
Master Ninja = 16:00:00

I think many would disagree with VH and MN, but it would be to make sure that you could add some extra seconds here and there in some of the fights as it would significantly buff your chances of 10,000 extra points. The Reason Normal and Hard have a lot more "ideal time" is because on Normal and Hard you have to commit yourself again to many long gauntlets, and having more chapter time would actually allow you to save a lot more often to reduce the gauntlet length and get better gameplay. Chapters 4, 6 and 17 are clear examples for this. Although, there is never enough time ...

Hope you people understand how I believe the game could be perfect and if it would happen (just keep dreaming man, it will never happen or not a least in the near future), then Hayashi could call NGS his "Masterpiece". Only then will he be at the same level Itagaki was in his years at Team Ninja, a Master.

Yours sincerely

Re: My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:35 am
by H.Smoke
Agreed with points 4, 5 & 6. The time limits are especially retarded when you analyze the whole thing a bit, there is no way that wasn't intentional.

Can't say a lot about the first point because I can't tell either NGB or NGS is objectively harder. Personally I believe NGS is slighty easier but for completely different reasons from the ones you are probably looking.

I liked the little location changes they made with some of the weapons, makes the first couple of chapters on MN more challenging.

The failed input thing happens to some extent in a lot of games, even in Razor's Edge which is probably the NG with the most fluid combat so don't think too much about it :shrug:

Finally regarding Rachel I always had the same opinion: make her chapters separated from the main campaign. That's probably my main issue with Hayashi, the dude would rather commit seppuku than stop shoving Rachel/Momiji/DoA girl of the month in-between Ryu's antics, drives me mad. Even in RE which he added a mode to play the whole thing with either Ayane/Momiji/Kasumi he had the audacity to still shove a bunch of Ayane's chapters in there just in case you forgot about his waifu :banghead:

Although you already realized I dislike playing as any other character that is not Ryu, I don't have any issue with them being in the game as alternatives, just don't force me to play with them in the first place.

Re: My thoughts on NGS

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:22 pm
by julius-ruler4
I actually agree with you, Smoke. They should have put the other characters' missions or chapters as a DLC but like the ones R* always give. I also believe that TN should do the same as R* when patching stuff, doing it on a very small time-interval. This way you'll prevent any bugs from entering the game and you have the ability to let players see if some things need fine-tuning for either time limits or mission difficulty. Just some fine-tuning here and there and TN games would be great again like in 2004 and 2005.