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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Tecmo
Developed by: Team Ninja
Genre: Third-Person Action
Players: 1
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: July 3, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

When Tecmo released Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox back in 2004, it took gamers and the industry by storm. There was no title that matched its visual capabilities, shear immersive worlds, and over the top difficulty level, which tested gamerís abilities to the fullest. For the team over at Tecmo, they wanted to perfect their winning formula, so they released an updated version of the smash hit known as Ninja Gaiden Black. Black, very similar to the original title, offered up the mission mode, which is included within Sigma and new enemies that raised the bar and the difficulty level to new heights.

Itís now 2007, and the Playstation 3 gets its chance at the hallmark franchise with Ninja Gaiden Sigma. For those new to the series, Sigma is a reworked version of both Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black. Content was added to distinguish Ninja Gaiden from Black, and the same can be said with Sigma. Sigma brought back the immersive mission mode, brought about new enemies, new areas to explore, gameplay tweaks, and the ability to play as the voluptuous Rachael. Honestly, looking at Sigma, the sayingÖ ďThird times a charmĒ, is definitely true.

For those who are looking for an unparalleled title, look no further than Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Though the game core mechanics are roughly three years old, the Playstation 3 version boast several new features and enhanced to the gameplay, that are sure to entice new gamers and hardcore gamers around the world. The first notable addition to the game is the ability to use Rachael as a playable character. Considering the gameplay within Sigma is very fast-paced, itís hard to see how Rachael would fit into the grand scheme, but somehow sheís able to pull it off with very few jiggles. Her role within Sigma is a fiend hunter out to find her sister, who has turned into a fiend. Though a small role within the game, here three missions help flesh out the confusing storyline of the game and help make some since of the gameís overall story.

Rachael is portrayed as a slow, yet powerful individual to control. So many people wonít take to her style of fighting, which requires a lot more blocking than attacking. In the case of Ryu, heís all about speed and devastating combos, so itís much easier to be drawn to his in-depth fighting capabilities. But seeing how this game is about blocking and counters when you canít attack, Rachael does shine brightly. She has a counter that would allow her to flip over an enemy while blocking, then wipe at them from behind.

Another addition to Sigma is an arsenal of new enemies scattered throughout the game. There are also detailed touch-ups to all the existing characters as well. One example would be the spider ninjas, which dawn a highly detailed and stylized ninja suite with a white spider on the back. Within the previous Ninja Gaiden titles, the Black Spider ninjas look like your regular run of the mill ninjas, but in Sigma, they look more lethal than ever. Not stopping there, Ryu also has the ability to yield a new weapon known as Dragonís Claw and Tigerís Fang. These dual katanas are just as powerful as the Dragon sword, but offer up a new variety of attacks and combos that are beautiful to watch.

Being a fan of the original titles, I have to say the most enjoyment comes in the ability to take on Doku early on in the game. At the start of the second chapter, Ryu heads back to his village only to notice that itís burning to the ground. As you make you way through the village, you will come to a burning building, where you will fight several enemies, then fight the dark and deadly Doku. Seeing how the game is ultimately about seeking revenge on him, you wonít be able to kill him in your first encounter, but itís certainly nice being able to try. Just when you think you are about to kill him, the game cuts to a cutscene showing yourself being defeated, which sets the tone for the rest of the game.

Last, but certainly not the least, there are some notable tweaks to the gameplay, which includes the ability to climb up small ledges and boxes automatically, and even run across the surface of water. Not as big as some of the other features, but these are subtle things that make life and your gaming experience a little easier.

Visually, thereís no denying that Ninja Gaiden Sigma is one of the best looking titles we have seen since the start of the next generation wars, dating all the way back to 2005. Thereís no title to date that compares to the immersive landscaping, highly stylized and detailed character models, all while running at an astonishing 60fps (frames per second). This is all great, but when we look at the foundation of the title, itís simply a port of the two Xbox titles, just visually on another level. Certain FMV sequences within Sigma have been redone to take full advantage of the Playstation 3ís powerful processor. Looking at the lighting within the game, while very impressive, still falls along the lines of the Xbox titles.

Once gamers have completed the single player campaign on normal, they can truly test their ninja skills by trying to beat the game on hard, and if successful, the harder difficulty level. But if you want a little more action, you can compete within the Mission mode. This mode is locked initially for a reason and thatís because it will either bring out the ultimate ninja in you, or it will make a nice example of your lack of skill. You will also have access to additional costumes and various hair pieces for Ryu and Rachael to dawn. Though we all know this wouldnít happen, a multiplayer mode would be nice to have, allowing you to show your skills against your fellow gamers around the world, all vying for the ďUltimate NinjaĒ title.

There are very few titles that stand the test of time. We have seen Resident Evil 4 make the transition from the Gamecube to the Wii perfectly, and the same can be said for Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the Playstation 3. A simple port would have been fine, but Tecmo wanted to do the series and title justice but including new content and upgrading the overall experience for a new breed of gamers. Playing as Rachael and being able to fight Doku early within the game are the true turning points of the series transition to the next generation. For those who own Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black and even for those new to the series, this is a title worth owning. SO for those who havenít picked up the game, hurry up and purchase Tecmoís hallmark title of 2007.


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