March 18th, 2014 was a pretty significant day for game releases. Two series that have been around since the original Nintendo Entertainment System were due to have their latest titles hit the market. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the next gen debut of the much loved franchise... but only serves as a prologue to the much grander Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Meanwhile, Ninja Gaiden is going in a new direction with a new art style, new protagonist, and a new multicultural dev team with Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. The series has struggled to find a voice since the departure of Team Ninja's Tomonobu Itagaki. Under the guidance of Keiji Inafune, the creator of series like MegaMan and Onimusha, it was expected that the series could return to its former glory.
So why is it a digital only, monochromatic indie game is totally kicking their asses?
As it stands right now, Ground Zeroes is sitting on a Metacritic score of 74, Yaiba lurching forward at a 51 score, and Luftrausers flying high at 84. Vlambeer... the guy who created Ridiculous Fishing for your smartphone... released a higher scoring game than Hideo Kojima and Keiji Inafune. Is this a clear sign that the games industry should be shifting away from AAA development? That's a matter of opinion, this opinion piece I wrote to be exact.
So where does Ground Zeroes and Yaiba go wrong, where Luftrausers goes right? Expectation is a nasty thing in game reviewing. Kojima is known for making amazing games, but there's much debate on whether or not Ground Zeroes is just a $30 demo. Luftrausers is only $9 and arguably has more content. Yaiba... well... is unfortunately just a bad game. Even with Inafune and Hayashi involved, the bulk of development was handed to Spark Unlimited-- their last title was Lost Planet 3. The worst game is also the most expensive one, with a $60 price tag.
Luftrausers is an incredibly fun game at a great price. I'll let the release trailer speak for itself.