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
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
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.
to both fans and newcomers.