Ninja Gaiden II XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.7
Graphics 8.6
Sound 8.9
Value 8.8
Distributor: Microsoft
Review Date:
June 2008
Vernon Kiper


Ninja Gaiden II

Once again Ryu, ninja extraordinaire returns on the XBox 360 which transformers gamers into a deadly assassin during the feudal times of ancient Japan. The game revisits this popular franchise of combat, puzzles and graphics that could only be considered pure eye candy thanks to developers Team Ninja which makes this one of the most impressive looking titles on the console to date.

The story revolves around our deadly assassin Ryu Hayabusa as he must avenge his clan and also save the human race from destruction in this classic tale of good versus evil. In its essence, the game is your classic adventure action and more specifically fighting game as you fight your way through a plethora of enemies, hopefully using “stealth” in order to complete a variety of set objectives. Puzzles range from easy to difficult, however where the game does shine is through its combat system.


  • Exhilarating ninja action. Assuming the role of a ninja warrior, players will experience an all-new combat system that requires skill and mastery of their full arsenal of weapons, including Obliteration Techniques that allow players to quickly and stylishly finish off an opponent. In addition to the variety of brutal new primary weapons and enhanced versions of previous favorites, Ninja Gaiden 2 will feature unique acrobatic combat and attacks used not only by Ryu Hayabusa but also by his formidable enemies.

  • Easy to play but hard to master. The new auto-healing system in Ninja Gaiden 2, featuring semi-permanent damage restored at save points, is the natural evolution of the franchise’s distinctive gameplay and introduces a new twist to managing health. With a newly implemented auto-healing functionality and save-point system, as well as an extensive story mode and multiple difficulty levels available from the start of the game, the gameplay of Ninja Gaiden 2 will be both accessible to more casual players and challenging to even the most demanding gamers.

  • Massive content and engrossing story. The themes of revenge and friendship in Ninja Gaiden 2 give rise to a series of dramatic events to create a truly compelling story. From Tokyo to New York and to the netherworld, the story will lead players through a lengthy, action-packed story mode as they skillfully maneuver Ryu Hayabusa through a demonized world fraught with peril and danger. In addition to the single-player campaign, players can upload Karma scores to Xbox LIVE leaderboards and participate in an all-new Master Ninja Tournament.

  • Realistic graphics in next-generation gaming. Built from the ground up from Team Ninja’s in-house gaming engine for the next-generation Xbox 360 platform, Ninja Gaiden 2 represents the best in amazing visuals, responsive control and thrilling combat with an extensive assortment of ninja weaponry.

The control system of Ninja Gaiden 2 has made thorough use of the XBox 360 controller, however the learning curve is a little steep for uninitiated players and at certain stages in the game, the control system can become frustrating at the best of times. The combat of Ninja Gaiden II is great when you are fighting one-on-one, however the title does become difficult as you are being attacked by long-range weapons which makes it difficult to reach your intended destination.

The unfortunate aspect of the combat is the re-spawning of enemies that makes this reminiscent of the Final Fantasy series and it would have been more productive if the enemies stayed dead.

Where the title does excel in the combat world is through its varied weapons which are thoroughly enjoyable and the control system, once mastered lets you slice and dice your way through the enemies. The title also contains some challenging bosses that will challenge your skills as a ninja, however depending on your difficulty level, this could prove challenging or sometimes almost impossible.

Graphically, the title is quite visually impressive with extremely detailed character animations and realistic textures. The background environments are also quite detailed; however some levels are a little lackluster. What sets this title apart from the previous incarnation is the extremely realistic battle scenes and more specifically the over the top violence and brutality such as decapitation which suits the title to a “T”. You can even sever arms and legs with as the blood begins to fly with realistic giblets flying off your opponents.

Ryu however is the star of the game as the attention to detail on this character is quite impressive and at times it is almost like you are watching a pre-rendered CGI cutscene as he moves with a human-like grace who interacts well with the gaming environment.

The only downside of the visually impressive graphics is that the frame rate does suffer at certain staged in the game, especially when running in 1080p, however if you drop the frame rate, this issue does go away. It’s a shame because on 1080p, the game is definitely pure eye candy with high resolution graphics with a matching colour palette.

The soundtrack suits the genre perfectly and assists in immersing you into this varied gaming universe as do the sound effects from screams to hacking and slashing plus the background ambience. If you have the game playing through a decent surround sound system, the sound will almost be like a new experience. Unlike the few issues with the graphics, this part of the game is perfect.

In conclusion, Ninja Gaiden II is an entertaining action adventure game with a healthy amount of combat and puzzles that will keep most gamers pleased. Matched with majestic graphics, depending on your resolution, the title will definitely give you a run for your money as you hack and slash your way through a plethora of enemies in order to reach your final destination. It’s challenging, frustrating, entertaining and if you can make it to the end, you will definitely be rewarded.

Recommended to both fans and newcomers.


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