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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: 1-2
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

If there's something strange in your neighborhood, who you going to callÖ Nope not the Ghostbusters. If my lifeís on the line, I want Ryu Hayabusa from the Dragon Ninja Clan on my side. The main character of the Ninja Gaiden series is back again defending the world from being taken over by another evil clan of ninjas known as the Black Spider Ninja Clan. In this reboot of Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for the PS3 takes that same game, adds a few things and subtracts a few things to make a unique experience for the PS3 version of the game.

This franchise has been around for a long time, dating back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and as it has progressed over the years it has become one of the most sought after franchises for its intense and difficult gameplay. Now there are many games that are difficult, however many of them are difficult because of frustrating levels and bad gameplay design. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is difficult; but not do to errors that were made when the game was designed and created, but because the game and the computer AI is so well done that it challenges you. Combos, alongside the ability to block and counter attacks are an intricate factor to this game as it was for the predecessors.

Sigma 2 can be mastered over time, however in the mean time you donít need to be a master in order to defeat the game. A mastery of a couple or the combos will help you a lot, and learning to block even if you do not get the countering down will help greatly as well. To aid you with defeating the game, there are various statues throughout the game that will save and mark your point in the game as well as refill your health. These are key during the game because there will be moments after you have fought wave after wave of enemies, where you will barely have any health remaining. Also because they will allow you to progress throughout the game without the need to replay already completed areas. There is another statue marked Muramasaís shop where you can buy healing items, as well as visit the blacksmith to upgrade your weapons. You are only allowed to upgrade one weapon at a time, which means the bulk of essence that you earn from defeating enemies will go towards health.

The story during this game deals with the demon statue being stolen, and the archfiends and Greater Fiends being awoken. As you try to recover the statue, you have to fight the Black Spider Ninja Clan, which is behind the theft. It gets very confusing after that initial part and youíre not quite sure how the story is advancing as waves after waves of fiends and other enemies come after you. After the first couple of hours you really donít care about the story anymore, with your focus shifting to trying to survive. With devastating weapons at your disposal-- Dragon Sword, Talons, Staffs, Tonfas, etc. -- defeating your foes on your way to saving the world is all the more interesting. The use of Ninpo gives Ryu limited magic ability to help survive. I tended to use my Ninpo spells when I was surrounded and if it looked like I might die. There were also used offensively at times to help alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed. A steady hand goes a long way to keeping you alive. The more you panic during intense fighting sequences, the greater chance that you will die.

To help flesh out the story more and separate itself from the Xbox 360 version, the game adds several levels which require you to utilize a different character you come across within the story. There is Rachel, who was in Ninja Gaiden Sigma and who is a demon hunter searching for a relative who has been turned into a fiend. Then thereís Ayane, a ninja who helped Ryu in the first installment and of Dead or Alive fame. Rounding out the new cast of fighters is Momiji, a female ninja from the Hayabusa village who made her debut in Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for the Nintendo DS. All of these women have their own levels within the game, though short, provide lots of enjoyment. I liked Ayane a lot because sheís quick and deadly with her strikes. Not to mention that her weapons and Ninpo attacks would actually be a welcomed if utilized on levels played by Ryu. In addition, when playing with the women, their weapons and Ninpo level are maxed out so they are the strongest there are going to get. Also for those who donít know, you can utilize the Sixaxis controller to control the movement of the breasts of the female fighters. A very interesting addition, but shows the true dedication that Tecmo has for this project.

The visuals of the game are stylized and sharp, and the sound design immerses you into the memorable battle sequences. The music used during this game is very enthralling and gets you ready for battle. This is especially true when it comes to big battles like when you fight the Greater Fiends. The game looks really good with the highly detailed character models and immersive backdrops. A part of the visuals that is sorely missing from Sigma 2 is the pools of blood that were included within the Xbox 360 version of the game. This is a startling omission from the PS3 version in that this is a very violent game. Considering youíre hacking limbs and heads off, the ground and screen should be soaked with the blood of the demised. There still is blood within the game, however nowhere near that of its Xbox 360 counterpart.

The camera, as always, is very annoying and can cause some awkward moments as when you canít see your attackers striking you. While the camera in this game isnít as bad as I have seen in other games, especially when compared to the first installment, it can still get very frustrating. The only time it will really frustrate you is when you are doing obliteration, which is a kill move that you can perform when you cut off a limb of an enemy. The camera goes into a special showing of you doing this special move, while also taking away the full vision of your surrounding area. So if your performing this move, you wonít be able to see enemies approaching your character from behind.

Sigma 2 also boasts a multiplayer, as well as co-op mode, where you can play online and show off your scores to the world as well as play with a friend. Now normally multiplayer is a good thing and in this instance it is still pretty nice, Ninja Gaiden is designed as a solitary game --one man versus evil -- so as nice as it is, it just doesnít feel right. Once again, you will enjoy the experience these modes offer, though the game is meant to be played alone. There was also a slight lag when I played these modes, however it wasnít bad enough to ruin the experience.

Ninja Gaiden 2 Sigma is an excellent game. The level and sound design is excellently displayed; immersing players in the world of Ryu Hayabusa as he goes on a rampage destroying enemies and fiends along the way. The camera frustration is normal for games like this, but is not that big a drawback as it could have been. The lack of blood is very sad and missed in a game as violent as this one. The difficulty maybe a little tough to overcome for the average player even on the easier difficulty level, but practicing and perfecting 2 or 3 combos can help you out a great deal when playing. This game is a necessary play, especially if you are a fan of this franchise. So go out and buy or rent because you will not want to miss this epic battle.


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