Author’s Note: This review was originally published on January 14th, 2011. This was written just days after the review for Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Like other reviews of the time, I used “witty” taglines to separate each section.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is the enhanced port of Ninja Gaiden II. Yes, I’m not sure why the number two went from the symbol to the Greek alphabet representation, but that’s the way it is. If you are a fan of the 360 original, you’ll be glad to know that there are some unique differences that make NGS2 stand out. Whether or not you like these features, NGS2 is a blast from beginning to end, much like it’s predecessor. Unfortunately, the game has some issues that makes it seem as though Team Ninja took one small slash forward, but one large slash back.
Fiends and Females.
In the city of Tokyo, a beautiful CIA agent named Sonia is sipping tea at Muramasa’s shop. She inquires about the legendary ninja, Ryu Hayabusa. She gets taken captive by enemy ninja from the Black Spider Clan, but being the bad-ass that he is, Ryu arrives on the scene. After rescuing Sonia from the clutches of Black Spider Clan leader Genshin and the mysterious Eliza’bet, Ryu learns that fiends are on the loose again and only the owner of the Dragon Blade can stop the resurrection of the ultimate archfiend.
Ryu’s back and better than ever. This time, he means business. With the help of Sonia’s CIA connections, Ryu gears up for another journey that spans 17 chapters through a variety of locations. Like the first NGS, the sequel has snippets of story thrown in throughout the levels. Once you finish a chapter, more information is revealed until the conclusion. Also like the first NGS is the fact that NGS2 is all about action.
The Wild Women. The Rippin’ and the Tearin’.
Ryu’s arsenal makes a return in NGS2, including his favorite sword techniques like the Flying Swallow and the Izuna Drop. Yes, the Izuna Drop is still as satisfying as ever. Ryu’s standard acrobatic moves are back, too. However, some new additions have been made that make Ryu even more deadly than before. Alongside new weapons and ninpo, he acquires a bow with infinite arrows and a hand cannon with infinite ammunition. One of his most important new moves is the finishing strike. As he slashes and thrashes his foes, they will lose body parts. A maimed foe will do anything to destroy Ryu, and that includes performing a kamikaze type of move. Remember how in Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie the black knight wanted to keep going despite being a limbless stump? It’s like that, except enemy ninja and fiends are far more deadly. Luckily, with the push of the triangle button, Ryu will end the foe’s life with a swift, cool looking attack.
For those who are wondering whether or not NGS2 is challenging, the answer is mixed. Ryu’s inventory is much more limited, and there will be times he faces multiple bosses in a row. However, the save spots are able to fully recover your energy meter the first time they get used and items are more affordable. Ryu has infinite ammo, but aiming with his projectile weapons can be tricky when other enemies are aiming at you with their fireballs. Ryu can still find items laying about, and these do include Life of the Gods and the Life of the Thousand Gods. In lieu of Golden Scarabs, he can find Crystal Skulls that give him a discount at Muramasa’s shop. Speaking of which, he can upgrade your weapons for free. The downside is that he can only do one weapon per mission. Thus, you have to plan accordingly before you decide to waste your upgrade. So, the game is more challenging in some regards, but less challenging in others. Unfortunately, the fickle camera can make the game unnecessarily challenging. Pressing the R1 button will make the camera go behind Ryu, but for some reason, there is a lag that will cause it to not work immediately. Half of the time, this isn’t an issue but the other half it is because, during this half, enemies will swarm at you from all sides.
As a Playstation 3 exclusive, NGS2 has three stages that spice things up and allow you to play as one of the lovely ladies in the Ninja Gaiden world. The first is Momiji, a shrine maiden who wields a well-balanced naginata, a bow and arrow and has the ability to double jump. Rachel is back, too. Despite her Gatling gun, she is as slow and clunky as ever. Finally, my favorite character is Ayane. The purple haired kunoichi wields two fuma blades and moves at lightning speed to make up for her weaker attacks. It’s a shame there aren’t more stages that let you play as these fierce femmes.
NGS2 also features an extensive online mode. You can tackle special missions by yourself, but going online with friends is much more satisfying. Simply pick a character and have at it. The more you finish in story mode, the more you unlock in the missions so it pays to finish the game at least once before attempting the missions.
With all of it has to offer, NGS2 is usually a blast. It’s a shame that the sharp, responsive controls don’t carry over to the camera. While towering bosses and swarms of enemies are still as challenging as ever, they could be more manageable with a better camera.
Yes, for those of you who are interested, shaking the PS3 controller will cause the breasts of Momiji, Rachel, and Ayane to shake during their respective cut scenes. You shouldn’t be surprised; this is a Tecmo game! That aside, the game looks great. It’s sharper and more detailed than the Xbox 360 version. Unfortunately, it’s missing the copious amounts of blood from the original. Cutting off limbs of enemies should yield enough blood to make the Red Cross set for life. Instead, purple mist is shown where blood should be. I’m not sure why they toned it down; it’s rated M for a reason. That aside, NGS2 looks wonderful. The voice acting is excellent, as well. The music also got kicked up a notch. Heavy rock and roll guitars get the adrenaline going and make you want to slash up foes like never before.
Business as Usual.
Finishing the game on standard difficulty will unlock new outfits and another level of difficulty. Finishing the game on harder difficulty levels will yield even more rewards. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is a great title, despite the awful camera that acts up during the most inopportune times. Action gamers looking for a challenge, fans of the first Ninja Gaiden Sigma and those who enjoyed the 360 version will all find something to enjoy in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Ryu is back and he means business. Fortunately, his business means cutting foes apart limb by limb. In the world of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, business is booming.