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Video Game / RONIN (2015)

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RONIN is a (sometimes) turn-based action game released in 2015 for PC, and ported to Playstation 4 the following year. It casts the player as an unnamed, always-helmeted swordsperson in a vaguely Cyberpunk setting. Their only goal: track down and kill the five people who murdered their father.

The gameplay itself takes one of two forms. When the player hasn't yet been discovered by guards, they move in real time, and can attempt to evade or stealth-kill enemies freely. If they are seen, however, play switches to a turn-based mode where the action "freezes" until the player takes an action (enemies acting afterwards). Cue desperately maneuvering to cut down everyone in the room without getting hit yourself.

The Special Edition comes with a comic titled RONIN: Tiny Steps.

RONIN provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: The Special Edition comes with RONIN: Tiny Steps, essentially a short comic book. While most of it merely shows the Ronin going through a short mission of some kind, the last page implies that the Ronin is the little girl seen in the photograph at the beginning of every level.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Samurai have a tendency to jump out of windows while trying to attack you. This is generally considered amusing and a convenient way to kill a rather annoying enemy.
  • Badass Biker: The Ronin always makes a getaway on a stylish street bike. Not to mention the everpresent helmet.
  • Big Bad: The boss, natch.
  • Boomerang Comeback: The sword-return power can be used like this with a little planning: it still does damage when it's returning.
  • Charles Atlas Super Power: Ronin dodges bullets through reflex alone.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: The last level. Can be considered Playing with a Trope: It's the level where Heroic Willpower is in play, and hence the only one where you can still win if you get shot: it's probably to encourage the trope.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: While not exactly a cutscene, RONIN: Tiny Steps follows this trope. The Ronin is surprised by a surveillance drone (drones do not appear in the game) to investigate a broken window (broken windows are almost never noticed by anyone who isn't nearby) and immediately call in some guards, who appear to fire faster than guards ever do in-game, and the Ronin breaks a window she's climbing on, rather than needing to jump off to break through.
  • Destination Defenestration: It won't kill a mook unless the fall's high enough, but it still looks really cool. It's also considered a good way to defeat samurai by just dodging as they do their Dash Attack and a window with a high drop happens to be handy.
  • Deadly Dodging: The simple way to dispose of samurai.
  • Dodge the Bullet: The main combat mechanic.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Doctor and anyone else you end up kicking out a window.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Old Man, the Wisegal, the Doctor, the Officer, the Boss, and the Ronin.
  • Evil, Inc.: The antagonists seem to be the chief leaders of a typical cyberpunk corporation. Wisegal appears to be a gangster or the moneywoman, or possibly both. The Officer is either the military contact or leader of an in-house military force. The Doctor was clearly the R&D guy, and so on.
  • Excuse Plot: Your father was killed by a group of people, so you kill their leaders for revenge. Who are they? Why did they kill him? Why did the Old Man accept his fate, and where are the men in the photograph who you didn't kill? Borders on No Plot? No Problem!.
    • Also applies to several individual levels. The Wisegal is found in an upscale nightclub. The Officer is found in a level in which he just finished an attack (in which about a dozen people were killed), apparently to steal unspecified train cargo.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Old Man, in contrast to the other bosses.
  • The Faceless: The Ronin. Although it turns out that you do have a photograph of her when she was younger.
  • Fake Difficulty: Admitted. "The arc lies." Just because the white line showing your jump arc appears to be free of bullet trajectories or land on a ledge doesn't mean it actually is. Sometimes you can land right next to a mook on a ledge and gut him while a bullet whizzes just past your head. Sometimes you'll catch a bullet between your eyes. Sometimes you'll miss and hit power lines. Sometimes your headshotted body will hit the power lines. Breathe deep and try again. Or don't.
  • Falling Damage: Averted with Ronin, but played straight with the enemies. It's made very apparent at the end of The Doctor's level, where you can kick an enemies out the same drop you have to go to to exit the level, and you land fine while he dies.
  • Five-Man Band: Despite the overall lack of story, it's pretty clear who fulfills which role: The Boss, obviously, The Wisegalnote , and The Doctor, who is stated to have designed the gadgets the Ronin, and presumably the antagonists, use. Then there's The Officer, big, powerful, leads attacks on some kind of target. And finally The Old Man. The others try to resist your attempts at revenge, either by running (the Doctor) or fighting (everyone else). The Old Man simply accepts his fate with dignity.
  • Friendly Fireproof: the mooks would definitely kill each-other with their gunfire if it wasn't for this trope.
  • Flash Step: With the right skills, you can teleport to a previously placed decoy, or to any enemy in range. Chaining the latter can be a great way to clear the room.
  • Flechette Storm: The shuriken skill: it does no damage, but the shuriken knock down or interrupt every enemy in reach, making it a lifesaver when you're surrounded or caught out.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Subverted with The Doctor, who ends up killing himself in his attempt to flee.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Allows the Ronin to swing on ceilings and walls, and allows Vertical Kidnapping with an upgrade.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Downplayed. They can still kill you stone dead, but the enemies with swords are significantly more dangerous, as is our protagonist.
  • Heroic Willpower: The Ronin can ignore fatal wounds to get her revenge on The Boss.
  • Hologram: Usable to provide a distraction and gets the mooks to shoot away from you for once.
    • One of the inventions of the Doctor. he uses it against you in order to escape, for all the good it does him.
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: It looks like a pale-blue version of Ronin. also The Doctor's hologram, which looks normal untill you touch it and he flees.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Machine gun guards are often less of a threat than normal ones; while they can lay down suppressing fire, they're also "locked in place" until they finish shooting. Not so during New Game Plus, where they can adjust their aim while firing.
  • In a Single Bound: Your main method of dodging or stunning enemies is via superhuamnly fast leaping.
  • King Mook: The Officer, who's wearing a bright red version of the typical samurai suit, and dies as easily.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: The Samurai cannot be killed by sword-throw, will kill you if you tackle them, and are only mildly inconvenienced by shuriken...much to your consternation.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!"!: Averted. Landmines detonate pretty much the instant you're in range.
  • Landinthe Saddle: you can do this to get on your bike an end the level, but it's basically pointless except to look cool.
  • Laser Sight: Everyone, even the Samurai have these: purely an Acceptable Break from Reality, as it would be impossible to dodge their attacks otherwise.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Possibly the samurai, if they're not wearing Powered Armor. They make a very mechanical scream when killed...but so does the Officer (who we can clearly see from the photograph is at least partially human), and all enemies also spurt blood when killed.
  • Missing Mom: In RONIN: Tiny Steps, the Ronin says "They took my father, my only family." As with much in RONIN, the state of the Ronin's mother is not touched upon.
  • Mooks: Gunmen, Riflemen, Samurai, and Cyclopses.
  • Multiple Endings: You get two. And both once you kill the last boss. If you survive the last mission, the Good End is the credits rolling with the picture in the background, the Boss finally crossed out. If you bled out during the last mission, the sequence is the same, but the center of the picture is burned away, again implying the Ronin is the girl in the picture.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Killing civilians prevents you from getting a skill point for the level.
  • New Game Plus: Allows you to play through from the beginning with all skills unlocked, but more difficult enemy placement. Also, "avoid triggering alarms" becomes mandatory rather than optional.
  • Nintendo Hard: With the Ronin being a One-Hit-Point Wonder, as you get up in levels, they start to approach this. The last mission is in an office building brimming with mines and mooks, They trigger reinforcements, mooks in opposing rooms can support each other, and stealth is of limited use. Then there's New Game Plus.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: In the final level, if you are shot, you don't die. Instead, a timer begins counting down to your death, which you can reset by killing someone. With skill, you can keep yourself alive long enough to kill The Boss.
  • No-Sell: Samurai will kill you if you try tackling them, and can deflect your sword throws.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: All the bosses are a downplayed version of this, except for the Old Man, who plays it straight, and the Officer, who averts it. All of them are just as tough (or rather just as weak) as a normal mook, and are not any more accurate ethier.
    • The Doctor as well. When you encounter him he tries to flee...emphasis on tries.
  • No Name Given: The protagonist, the enemiesnote , and just about everything except the levels, skills, and five "bosses" are unnamed. Even the bosses only get titles.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Getting shot even once means death.
    • This also applies to the enemies, with the exception of the samurai, who block your attacks but leaves them vulnerable to a followup.
  • Palette Swap: The Officer has black rather than white armor, and a different helmet, but is otherwise identical to standard samurai. While they look significantly different, the Wisegal and the Boss act identical to the standard guards.
  • Protagonist Title: Generally assumed.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: if the Ronin is fatally wounded killing the Boss.
  • Real-Time with Pause: In combat and when jumping, so the player can set up their trajectory.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The motivation of the Ronin. Probably.
  • Rōnin: The protagonist, unsurprisingly, seems to fill the setting-appropriate role more or less, though they operates much more like a Ninja.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Everything in the game dies in one or two hits tops, including yourself.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Skill tree style.
  • Stealth-Based Game: Downplayed: while stealth will make the game much easier and is somewhat required for 100%, you also need to kill all enemies on the map in order to unlock the full extent of the skill tree. Lampshaded in one of the hints.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Several missions, especially the ones leading towards The Doctor, involved civilians that will raise the alarm if they see you or if you leave a corpse where they can see it. Hence, performing a 100% run of the game involves avoiding them without killing them.
  • Samus Is a Girl: RONIN: Tiny Steps suggests that the Ronin is the little blonde girl in the photograph.
  • Smug Snake: The Wisegal is implied to be one in the opening introduction to her stage. Notably, while she does have the foresight to have a small squad already in firing position at the entrance to her nightclub, it seems that she never considered the windows.
    She thinks she is untouchable. Wasn't hard to find.
  • Sneak Attack: If you're unspotted and on a ceiling not too high above a mook, you can get a stealth kill. The Ronin does these by launching a noose which wraps around a mooks neck, and reels them up. If you're quick and savvy enough, you can chain them fairly easily.
  • Super Window Jump: You'll do this all the goddamn time.
    • Parodied with The Doctor; He gets through the first one fine, but screws up the landing.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Unless you throw it at a samurai or the Officer; both of them block it.
    • What's more, you can recall it to your hand, negating one of the main drawbacks of this trope.
  • Too Fast to Stop: Samurai: this is integral both to dodging their attacks and counter-attacking them.
    • It can apply to yourself if you screw up a jump: Particularly with Gunners, whose assault rifles fire lasts for two turns and not one, which can be a problem when they cover all the usable ground with said gunfire...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Innocent workers are no more immune to your attacks than the guards.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You can't get skill points at the end of the level if you kill civilians.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: Stealth Kills, with the added morbid bonus that it's done via a grappling-hook that immediately hangs them in the process, and leaves them hanging from the ceiling for the world to enjoy.
  • Wall Crawling: The Ronin can cling to walls and ceilings, and traverse them with ease. Probably due to some kind of gadget, but it's left kind of ambiguous.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The photograph shown at the beginning of every level shows ten people: The five you need to kill, an old man sitting down, a sickly-looking man in a suit, a man kneeling next to a little girl, and a samurai. The samurai is probably just a random mook, and the comic available with the Special Edition suggests the two in front are the protagonist and her father, but that leaves two unaccounted for.
    • In the prologue before fighting The Officer Ronin says that they were both taught their sword skills by the same man. Based on his dress, it is likely that the old man sitting down next to a sword was their master. This still leaves his ultimate fate unknown, however.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: The Boss.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Wisegirl and Ronin, according to the latter.
  • You Killed My Father: Ronin's motivation, and all the excuse you really need.

Alternative Title(s): RONIN