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Gaming Journalism Has Hit a New Low

May 27, 2008

With the release of Ninja Gaiden 2 fast approaching, reviews of this highly anticipated action title are beginning to pour in and so far, the game has been getting pretty mixed reviews. But…one review in particular stands out from the crowd and that review is from GamesRadar. It doesn’t stand out for its score or for a superb writing style…no…it stands out for something far worse. So, what could be so terrible as to prompt me to write an editorial piece with the horribly hyperbolic title I’ve stamped on it? Well, since I’ve caught your attention, read on.

The following is a direct quote from GamesRadar’s review of Ninja Gaiden 2.

The saving grace here is the fanbase. If you’re in this group, there’s no reason why you won’t love Ninja Gaiden 2, despite its faults. You don’t care about next-gen graphics, level design and fairness, right? You like having Tomonobu Itagaki stamp on your ego, rob you of your sanity and piss down your throat.

Now I don’t have a problem with the rest of the review, despite the fact that the reviewer sounds like the game pissed him off halfway through and decided to use the review to vent his frustrations. My problem is with that comment, a comment I find to be rather unprofessional and unbecoming of a man in his position. He blatantly insults the intelligence of fans of Team Ninja’s (Tomonobu Itagaki’s studio, for those who don’t know) games, reducing them to the level of blind sheep that will, no matter what the cost, follow their shepherd where ever he leads them, even into the depths of hell.

Yes, the game is going to be difficult, that much we can be sure of considering the series’ pedigree. I wonder though, should I buy this game and love it, despite its flaws, would that make me one of the folks who don’t care about next-gen graphics, level design and fairness? Would I be allowing Tomonobu Itagaki to stamp on my ego, rob me of my sanity and…well, I’m not going to repeat that last part. Or, perhaps, would I just be enjoying the game for what it is? A hearty challenge.

The trick to successfully pulling off a level of difficulty that’s so high, almost to the point of being cheap is to give the player an immense sense of satisfaction and worth, having overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. This is something Ninja Gaiden pulled off on the Xbox and what I expect Ninja Gaiden 2 is going to do on the Xbox 360. But I’m getting away from the topic, aren’t I?

I find it ridiculous that a reviewer would say such things about a game’s fanbase. Words such as those, which can be very easily perceived as insulting toward many readers, have no place in a professional review or anywhere else, really. Perhaps I’m taking things out of context here. Perhaps those words weren’t meant to sound so condescending. Maybe the game is as punishingly difficult, to the point of being cheap, as the review states. I guess we’ll see soon enough when the game releases next week and I submit to having my ego stepped on.

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One comment

  1. Good Post! The Xbox Domain could use a writer like you.



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