Stealth games are really about a guy trapped in a temporal loop, forced to repeat his actions until he can shake off the mysterious clumsiness that has overridden years of tip-toeing experience. “Why would I just roll into that spotlight like an idiot?” wonders the grizzled agent, now on his fifth run through a secret terrorist compound. “Crap, landing on that grate was much louder than I thought.” Cue alarms and a return to the last save point.
Mark of the Ninja makes it awfully hard to be an oaf dressed in black. No, it hasn’t been streamlined to the point of auto-play, and the inherent challenge of avoiding detection hasn’t been crushed into a pulp to please the plebes. Rather, developer Klei Entertainment has flattened the genre into a legible, two-dimensional blueprint. That’s why things are more likely to go according to plan.
Gallery: Mark of the Ninja (E3 2012)