Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 : A Review

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Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

This is my first time reviewing a game, and honestly most games don’t leave a strong enough impression that I have something to say about them.  Not so with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.  This is a game which I have eagerly waited for since I finished Ninja Gaiden Sigma.  This game had me considering buying a 360.  Now that I have it, and have played it, beaten it, etc; here are my thoughts.

The Good

Graphics– Graphically this game is impressive.  The details are sharp and clean, character models look good (and evil).  Weapons are nicely represented and have a unique styling.  The Spider Clan ninjas look quite nicely revamped since NGS, especially the claw and magic ones.

Gameplay– The gameplay in NGS has always been my main draw.  The combat is fast, frantic and challenging.  The number of moves available with each weapon is staggering.  The number of different weapons in this game is itself quite stunning, yet each weapon has a time and place when it is applicable.  As challenging and sometimes frustrating as the combat can be, it is highly addictive.  At the end of a huge string of enemies as your health recharges and Ryu cleans off his weapon, you feel pretty badass.  There is a lot to love about combat that is so well executed.

Nods to famous mangaka and anime– Throughout NGS2 there are some very nice nods to certain legendary manga.  One of the fights reminded me of Berserk through and through.  A major point of character development seems to have been lifted directly out of Fist of the North Star. I’m not sure how much other gamers out there will pick up on these references, but it’s something that stands out in my mind as unique.

The Bad

Controls– Control is a huge issue in an action game. It needs to be fast responsive and sharp, like handling a powerful sports car.  While the control is not sloppy or loose, it seemed laggy and slow to me, making it very difficult to properly execute escapes or counters.  It was one of my main frustrations throughout the game.

First person shooting mode– This annoyed me quite a bit as well.  While auto aim is always intended as a help to the player, NGS2 almost always locks onto the wrong target, turns me around, or does the exact opposite of what I wanted it to do.

The Ugly

Camera control– In a 3rd person action game with heavy platforming elements, a simple necessity to make the game playable is a good working camera, which is either fixed or always adjustable.  While not so annoying as to make it to the bad section, the camera in NGS2  is unreliable at times.  It would not even be mentioned if it was unreliable in a predictable way, but when climbing the gears, the camera seemed to become sentient and go off for a walk somewhere.  In the final stages it would decide to just flip out at times.

Final boss battle- I was quite disappointed by the final boss battle in NGS2.  Part of it felt like it belonged in a different game entirely and made me quite angry.  The other half was too easy.  I felt like the end of the game was simply given to me, not giving that desired sense of accomplishment in crushing the final boss.  When compared to the marathon of aggravatingly difficult boss fights at the end of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, this seems hardly appropriate. When the final boss in that game drops dead, I remember taking a deep breath and thinking- “Holy hell, I hope its over. I don’t think I can take another boss fight!” whereas in NGS2, my thoughts were, “Oh that’s it?! This guy has been hyped up throughout the whole game and that’s all there is?”

Other Thoughts

The inclusion of multiplayer is a nice option.  However, if multiplayer is only 2 players why the hell not make it possible to play a local game with friends?  Why would I want to play this game with some random person I don’t know online?

The addition of extra playable characters is a nice thought as well, but if I buy a Ninja Gaiden title it’s because I want to play as a ninja, in particular Ryu Hayabusa.  I don’t want the main story interrupted for some throwaway nonsense about a shrine maiden, or make a pointless nod to the first game by making me play as Rachel.  Nor do I feel it necessary to play as a Dead Or Alive character for yet another throwaway mission.  The inclusion of these characters in itself is great, but it takes away from the playability of the game by forcing the player to learn a completely new play style every couple of levels for no apparent reason.  All this does is take away from the enjoyment of the game.  Personally, I think it would have been better to unlock each of the other characters after beating the game and allowing the player to play through it again as that character.

In spite of my gripes and complaints, I think that Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is a very good game. It is fun, challenging, and I see myself hanging onto it and playing again. As games go, it’s well worth adding to your library.

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