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Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.5
Sound 8.0
Value 8.0
Review Date:
November 2009
Jamie Kirk


Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

Ninja Gaiden has earned its place in the video game hall of fame. Itís one of those games that even if you havenít played it, you know of it for some reason. Ninja Gaiden has become so well known due to its high difficulty level and precise use of combos, blocks and counter attacking. Another reason it is well known is for its love of gore. Amputations are commonplace, accompanied by bucketfuls of blood and ruthless finishing moves. It seems odd then that in the PS3 port of Ninja Gaiden 2, they have toned down the very two things the game is so famous for.  However there is still plenty of ninja action to be found.

To explain the plot of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 would waste a paragraph, as it is so silly and convoluted. Basically some bad stuff goes down and it is up to Ryu Hayabusa to hack and slash his way through the evil Spider Ninja Clan and save the day. Some incredibly large breasted women help Ryu throughout his quest, this being a Team Ninja game after all (As a PS3 bonus you can shake the sixaxis to jiggle the breasts). That is really all you need to know before the quest begins, and the quest itself is pretty meaty. The game consists of 20 plus chapters so the game is not over quickly, and for those wondering just how much they toned down the difficulty, donít get too upset, as the game is still bastard hard. It is not really unfair in its difficulty, just unforgiving if you donít take the time to master the fighting system. Button Mashing will not get you very far in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, it requires much more careful thought than that. Fighting in this came requires a thorough knowledge of all the combos available to you, knowledge of when to block and counter, and the study of characters attack moves so Ryu knows exactly when to strike. This may seem rather difficult at first when the game chucks waves and waves of enemies at Ryu from the first level. But once a few dozen have been defeated, the ways of dispatching them becomes clearer. This knowledge goes double for boss fights, where careful study of their attack patterns must be done, because otherwise much cursing and possible controller throwing will occur. Study Ninja Gaiden, and a pleasant experience can be had. Itís likely that there will still be multiple frustrating deaths a level, but it is better than the alternative route of playing the first level over and over again before giving up and crying in your room.

That being said there are still a few minor niggles here and there. For a master ninja, Ryu Hayabusa is really not that agile. We are to believe that Ryu can jump off buildings and then run up them, yet in game play he cannot jump between some of the smallest gaps. Obviously Team Ninja wants the player to use some of Ryuís cool ninja tricks but it seems a little stupid that he just canít jump small distances sometimes. Also for those that lack the patience to study all the combos Ninja Gaiden is not an overly accessible game, as even on the easy difficulty level in just cannot be waded in to. This may be the point of the entire series but it still seems a little punishing.

There is no doubt about it, the game looks really bad ass during fights. Ryu moves fluidly and the fighting animations are top notch. Blood will stick to Ryuís weapons before he flicks it off at the end of an area. This is where the graphics shine the most, as usually there will be multiple enemies on screen at once and the game never shows signs of slowdown. However sometimes the level layouts can be a little generic, consisting of multiple walkways or halls that make the game feel a little restrictive. There are cool touches here and there, like the rain in New York, but often the levels feel a little empty and devoid of life. Most of the levels just serve as open spaces to kill enemies, but it would have been cool if the levels actually felt like they made a difference, instead of an average looking backdrop. While we are on the graphics, and some of the letdowns, it seems a little absurd that the violence is missing in the PS3 version. Ninja Gaiden is famous for its flying streams of blood, so why take it out? Gore shouldnít be the most important aspect of a game, but here it makes it feel like a lesser game. Instead of blood we get purple waves of air, which seems a little stupid. The gore in Ninja Gaiden is part of the fun, and definitely part of the visuals in the awesome fight sequences.

One area where PS3 fans get it better is the addition of a co-op mode. Here the player can go online with a friend or stranger and ninja their way through a selection of stand alone missions. Co-op can also be played offline with a computer controlled partner, who unfortunately isnít the smartest of ninjas. But people who play co-op will undoubtedly do so because they want to play with a mate, and finding a willing partner will unlock hours of fun. There will still be a lot of dying, but thatís just part of the game.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is a good action game, a great one even. There are just some minor things that stop a whole hearted recommendation. The steep difficulty level certainly wonít appeal to everyone, so it isnít the best game to just pick up and play through. The removal of gore actually does feel like a piece of the games soul has gone with it. The last thing is something that is out of the games hands entirely. Its release coincides with the release of Uncharted 2, which pretty much rewrites the rule book on how action adventure games should be made. Along with Batman: Arkham Asylum, a port of an old Xbox 360 game doesnít quite hold up. This doesnít mean that Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 isnít worthy of a purchase, it just means that right now there are better games on offer, especially when we are playing a neutered version of an old game.


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