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A Slice of Life- Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Review

Few of our eight-bit era heroes have aged as remarkably well as Ryu Hayabusa. Sure, Mario is alive and still kicking Koopa shell, his contemporary adventures still evoking the vigor of his renowned NES exploits. But the illustrious plumber is no match for Hayabusa; 2004’s Ninja Gaiden remake endowed the celebrated assassin with prodigious speed and precision, rejuvenating actions games in the process.

It’s a shame that the game’s 2008 sequel was hampered by attacks from unseen foes, an overwhelming difficulty, and an uncooperative camera. Gamers that could look underneath Ninja Gaiden 2’s jagged exterior could see the potential for a very solid action title. The recently released Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for the Playstation 3 looks to remedy most of those woes.

The title’s most pressing afflictions have been well remedied. Cheap shots from ninjas with explosive shuriken and the infamous detonating armadillo boss(es) have been corrected. Fetch quests through areas cleared of Black Spider members have been excised, creating a more intense play experience. The game’s camera shows remarkable improvement, only occasionally becoming obstructed by an environmental object. A quick tap of the R1 button resets the camera, while holding it down directs the player to the next objective.

Beyond resolving issues with Ninja Gaiden 2, the game adds a wealth of additional content to the game. New bosses like a Buddha statue or the Statue of Liberty have a wonderful sense of scale that evokes the God of War series. Once players complete a level, they may view their carnage via the game’s Ninja Theatre. For players stuck on a particularly thorny boss, downloading an expert player’s playthrough is an especially welcome contribution. Strangely, the blacksmithing options in Muramasa’s shop have been scaled back from Ninja Gaiden 2.

The title’s main campaign is skillfully augmented with chapters featuring recurrently Tecmo protagonists- Rachel, Ayane, and Momiji. Each of the femme fatales handles quite differently, as each character possesses a unique repertoire of moves and an individualized weapon set. Rachel crushes foes with her burley war hammer while Momiji’s impales adversaries with her elongated naginata.  Outside the central storyline, Sigma 2 adds twenty cooperative missions where a duo can battle an onslaught of foes. Although stages vary greatly in difficulty, each requires teamwork for success. From allowing players to revive fallen comrades to coordinating Ultimate ninpo magic attacks, each level cunningly requires solidarity if players are hoping to rank on the online leaderboards. 

Sigma 2’s environments and character design are certainly visually impressive; owners of 1080p televisions will surely delight in the game’s opulence, even if the sporadic screen tear is noticeable. Watching each of the well-animated protagonists zip around the screen, obliterating rivals is undeniably pleasing. Some will likely mourn the 360’s version Grand Guignol. Arterial sprays, severed limbs and heads have all been mysteriously excised, and replaced with an equally lascivious boob-bouncing mechanic. The game’s soundtrack and voice work retain the competency of the Xbox 360 iteration; no changes appeared to be made to Sigma 2’s apt sound design.

Easily frustrated gamers may want to spend some time with Ryu Hayabusa before committing to the path of the assassin. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2’s difficultly doesn’t reach the sadistic depths of the Xbox 360 iteration, but the title will challenge the most skillful action aficionados.  Gamers blessed with cat-like reflexes or those seeking the definitive version of the title will undoubtedly be pleased with Sigma 2, the game’s place among the top Playstation 3 action games is nearly indisputable.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

43 comments

  1. Good review. I love the title BTW. Any alternate choices?

  2. How bad is the screen tearing? Does it happen all the time?

  3. How many new weapons are in the game? Or any of them better then the Dragon Sword?

  4. I never liked the NG games. The combats ok, but the boss battles suck ass.

  5. Doesn’t seem like the fixed the camera from the demo. It still dooesn’t follow the action very good.

  6. It’s noticeable. I was playing a friends 360 version and you can totally see it when you move around. But most of the time, you’ll be too bust killing to notice or care.

  7. Is the Deluxe edition worth the money?

  8. Do the graphics still look all plastic fantastic?

  9. The book is ok, nothing great. Don’t buy it for the strategy guide; it’s only the first level, but at least there’s a comic. The soundtrack I haven’t listen to yet.

  10. A definite rental at best.

  11. “the title will challenge the most skillful action aficionados.” QFT

    I cant get past Buddha after the spider boss. Please help. I go far and he spanning the laser, close and he swats me away or grabs me.

  12. Did they ever fix the 360 version? For a while, you couldn’t beat the game.

  13. When I heard they were working on “Other M” I almost peed on myself with excitement. Love the NG games.

  14. Think about it, if the camera followed the action if would be all spastic, and people would be throwing up all over the place.

  15. Look at the size of that gun? Are your suffering from envy, DE?

  16. They totally ripped off GoW with that statue! Tell me you don’t poke it in the eye!

  17. Never played the first Sigma. How much is that running for these days?

  18. No blood=no buy. Screw that shit, it’s an “M” rated game.

  19. Q: How many ninjas does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A: Two. One to screw in the light bulb and the other to flip out and kill you with throwing stars.

  20. Got this but haven’t had too much time to play. The coop missions sound cool. They’re online right?

  21. Great review! How many levels are in the game?

  22. I thought the same exact thing.

  23. Has anyone explained why they got rid of it?

  24. Is there an install for this?

  25. Are those f’ing werewolves in Chapter 5 still a royal pain in the ass?

  26. What about the ninjas on the staircase sequence in the 10th stage? This caused the 360 version to sssslllloooowwww down like crazy. Did they fix this?

  27. Sissy! The right weapon cuts through them. I forgot which one. Look it up, though.

  28. Yep, that section had some massive slowdown. I hope they fixed that.

  29. I’m so glad they fixed what’s wrong with the 360 version. Worth the wait if you ask me.

  30. I never knew how good the NG games were until I played Afro Samurai.

  31. Good review, but I will probably pass on this one. NG Black was too frustrating.

  32. I’ll pick this up eventually.

  33. Yeah they are and if it’s just you a CPU player assists you

  34. Sounds like it’s fun and has a lot more stuff than the 360 version, but you can buy this one for $60 or the 360 version for $10. I might have to go with cheap.

  35. Ninja Gaiden’s boss battles drive me nuts. I feel if I get this, I’m just gonna raise my blood pressure.

  36. AS wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad at all! I liked the graphics and slo-mo.

  37. Will definitely buy this game.

  38. I saw thus today and almost bought it. I think I’ll get the CE.

  39. Note to developers: hard isn’t always better. I’d rather things be too easy then never be able to see advanced levels.

  40. Good review. Might have to trade some crap in.

  41. I need ninja stealth to get this one past the GF; she’s been guarding our money like a expert Samurai lately.

  42. Man, this game’s come along way since it’s NES roots. Much more than Mario who does the same thing, just in 3D now. Still, I like Mario better. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing.

  43. QFT! I dont have 20 spare hours to develop my skills. Add a difficulty for people that have to work for a living!