I play a lot of action games, and the ones that really matter are Devil May Cry, God of War and Ninja Gaiden. There are others that are solid, but those 3 are the big sluggers.
That said, each have a major advantage.
NG's advantage is that it focuses on combat mechanics. Its got the depth of a fighting game in an action game, in fact one of Ryu's weapons movelist competes with Neero's entire movelist in DMC4.
GoW's advantage is in it's storytelling and adventuring. The action isn't bad but it's mainly just graphic and violent, not necessarily hard or intense. But you visit incredibly interesting places with breathtaking visuals, and the traps are vicious and savage. It's like Indiana Jones.
And DMC's strength is stylishness. You're super human and the game rewards you for performing incredibly super human things that are WAY over the top. Dante is the hero that is "too cool to get scratched" in a conflict and he plays just like that.
For me, I just like action games. But I play them for such different reasons, I play God of War because I want to look around ancient ruins and solve interesting puzzles. I play Devil May Cry to just woop ass on poor defenseless people that stand no chance against me in rediculous ways most action games can't deliver. But I play Ninja Gaiden when I want to play a serious, evolved, classic action game. Ninja Gaiden is simply that, the evolution of the hardlined action game.
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