The first I heard about Ninja Gaiden Σ2 was because of all the wrong reasons and thought, eh, this can’t possibly be a good game. Then one lazy afternoon Shiben downloaded the demo of this, yet to be released game, and I played it once, just once. I was awe-struck, I just had to have it and this was the first game that I bought 🙂
I have played this game many times and at various difficulty levels and I have always enjoyed it, the good parts and the frustrating parts.
Σ2 is part of a very long franchise of Ninja Gaiden games. They are infamous for their difficulty but I feel that Σ2 is a well balanced game, if it were any easier it would be boring. Here are some funnies about the difficulty of other Ninja Gaiden games ( courtesy: IGN & Penny Arcade)
“Ninja Gaiden is back for another go around on your Xbox and this time it is going to make you weep like a newborn baby.” — Ninja Gaiden Black
“Have you experienced any of the following signs: extreme aggravation, excessive swearing, controller throwing, or immediate powering off of the PS3 after dying? If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, you may have what’s known as “Ninja Gaidenitis” – a disorder that manifests itself after repeated voluntary exposure to Ninja Gaiden Sigma.” — Ninja Gaiden SigmaThis game is not without its flaws.
For example, there is hardly any story, you just go around stabbing people in the face, awesome as that maybe, I really like nice complex stories and lore that makes me care about the mission and the universe.
Then there is the goddamn PSN thing. If, for some reason, you get disconnected from PSN, game kicks you out to menu screen. It doesn’t care if you are playing single player or offline challenges, you have to start over. So here is a tip, unless you are playing online, sign-out of PSN before you start the game.
The camera is good most of the times but when it sucks, oh boy, does it ever suck. It will put you under the character or zoomed really in. Some monsters are huge, with wings, so when you are fighting them you can’t see anything, they will just twitch and bleed to the strokes of your awesome weapons and all this while you can’t see a thing.
Arrgh, the menu switch, come on people, each time I get a new scroll or open the Muramasa shop, why does it take the life-age of the universe? huh? Before the latest patch, it would sometimes even crash.
The voice acting is ok but the dialogues are crappy at best, there is a lot of grunting and moaning and it just makes the whole game look bad. If you end up playing the game, you would hear a lot of grunts from Ryu and a bunch of “Hmmph” from the ladies. Lame!
In spite of all this, I guarantee that you will fall in love with the game. There are so many good things that I have to say about this game, I had better get started.
The art work is amazing, the only other game with such good artwork that I know is Devil May Cry. It is unique and colorful. Basically you fight in 6 places. Tokyo, New York, Venice (plus Colosseum), Moscow, the South American Jungles and the Underworld. Each place is unique and beautifully designed. They have paid a lot of attention to the ambiance, it changes from day, to night, twilight and rain. New york is dark and there is lightning everywhere, Venice is bright and white, Moscow is snowy and cold. The Jungles are green with the undergrowth and tall trees and filled with ponds and rivers. The stages in the underworld and eerie, dark and the environment reflects the ominous situation. There is a place where a rain of blood starts and you can see that it not just “Red water”. It is thick and sticky and you can feel it in the environment.
There is a lot of attention to detail and it just makes for a very immersive gaming experience.
So you are a ninja and you fight other ninjas and monsters of various shapes and sizes and you have a bazillion moves and combos. So if you chop some guy’s arm off, he won’t be able to use his Bow and arrows. If you lop off his leg, he will start limping and so on. There is combo called the “Obliteration Technique”, if some poor suckers has lot his/its limbs you will slice his head off, if he has no head, you will obliterate him into teeny tiny pieces. Each of these combos work differently with different weapons and there are 9 weapons in the game and about 20 odd combos per weapon. So you can see that a lot of work has gone into perfecting the ninja moves of Ryu Hayabusa. The results are magnificent, you feel a part of the ninja world and there are few things that you can think off that Ryu can’t pull. One last thing, all this beheading and impaling leaves that pesky blood and goo of the enemies on the weapons, so if Ryu catches a breather, he will clean if off with a stunning move 🙂
The game moves so fast that literally 1-2 seconds will feel long. The Ultimate Technique, which just a fancy way of saying “You’re really fucked now!” takes 2-4 seconds to charge up and as you play the game you will realize why you can’t do this all the time. The speed and agility of the game doesn’t impede the graphics in any manner, you can be slashing away and getting 40-50 hits in under 2 secs, it is no big deal. I didn’t experience any choppiness or frames and even when there are 30-40 enemies or a really big area, the game handles quite well.
The maps are very well designed and although it is mostly straight forward, there is some platforming (ninja-style) and puzzles. Some parts can be frustrating, like climbing the inside of that clock and falling of off gears again and again but you get used to it.
The music is very good and changes wonderfully with the changing ambiance.
There are a lot of boss battles, and each of them is more jaw-dropping than the other. You will fight the same boss again and again and even though I don’t like repetitive games, here it makes sense. By the time you are reaching the end, regular enemies just get cut down left and right. So boss battles offer the challenge that a good ninja hungers for. The arenas for these fights are breathtakingly beautiful, I just wish I the time to pause and admire them but by then dragon or flaming armadillo would have finished me off.
You play the campaign with Ryu Hayabusa, ninja-master, monster-eviscerator and fiend-ball-crusher. But you also play with Rachel, Momiji and Ayane and those mini-missions are fun as well.
I think anyone who enjoys hack and slash games, should try this game, I am pretty sure you will play this over and over. I wish PS3 had the ability to take screenshots, I wanted to post so many more images.