Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 – The PS3 Attitude Review
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is more than just a simple port of the Xbox 360 version.
Containing more chapters, more playable characters, and a re-balancing of gameplay, not to mention beautiful graphics, the game has been deemed the definitive version by many.
Taking place one year after the first Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ryu Hayabusa finds himself defending the world against the Black Spider Ninja Clan as they attempt to resurrect the ancient Archfiend who has been locked away in Mt. Fuji by the Hayabusa Clan. Along the way, he’ll run into plenty of enemies including the four Greater Fiends and Elizébet, the Ruler of Blood. Thankfully, he’ll have the assistance of CIA agent Sonia in disposing of these beasts.
Gameplay remains relatively the same as it was in the original Sigma with some minor tweaks. Many of the weapons make a return such as the Lunar Staff and Vigorian Flail. Some variety is achieved with new additions such as the Eclipse Scythe and Falcon’s Talons, although we found ourselves sticking with the Dragon Sword most often.
All of these, including your signature weapon, are upgradable at Muramasa’s Shop scattered throughout the levels. Be wise in which weapons you decide to upgrade because you are only allowed one per special shop. Here you can also use what yellow essence you’ve collected to purchase valuable health items, with three being the max you can carry of each type. You’ll need as many as you can for the fight ahead of you.
Sigma 2 continues the tradition of being insanely difficult, relying on skill and technique rather than simple button mashing. Enemies with rush and attack in groups, block, and try everything in between to kill you. If you want to stay alive, you’re going to need to learn blocking and, more importantly, the Izuna Drop technique as that will dispose of an enemy in one go most of the time. The pesky little ghost fish return from Sigma so beware because they will drain you of your life in an instant.
Boss battles are more frequent than ever as well. To put things in perspective, there were three in the first chapter alone! The majority of them are larger than Ryu so be prepared for an uphill battle. You’ll even be double teamed by a group of devil looking fiends at one point. While there are plenty of encounters, many of them will have you facing the same foe for a second, or even third, time so don’t expect a slew of new fiends.
With that being said, Sigma 2 comes with an equal amount of frustration as well as enjoyment. Camera angles were the biggest problem of the first game and they have vastly improved over time. There is now an option to reset the camera to point you in the direction of your goal which helps immensely when you aren’t quite sure where to go. Still, despite a reworking of the camera system, there are still problems. You will still find yourself stuck in a corner while enemy ninjas hack and slash you and can’t see anything going on because of a poorly placed guard rail or banner.
Adding to the frustration are the controls. While most of the time, you’ll have Ryu do what you want him to do, there are times where he’ll run across the wall when you want to run up the wall or vice versa, resulting either in death or a second attempt. This becomes especially important when you doing one of the multiple parkour-type sequences.
Once you’ve had your fill of the main story, there are team missions for you and a partner, either online or offline, to tackle. Ranging in difficulty, you’ll attempt to defeat a group of enemies, sometimes bosses, with no health items. At the end of each mission, you’re given a Karma ranking along with the percentage of fighting you and your partner did.
Taking on these missions with a friend is much better than going solo with a CPU partner. Not only can you choose Ryu, but you can also take control of the femme fatales; Ayane, Mojimi, and Rachel. Gameplay of the missions has been tweaked to revolve around co-op. Now, partners can pull off an amazing dual Ultimate Ninpo that pretty much decimates everything on screen in a nuclear blast. They’re fun, quick, and challenging for you ninja experts out there.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 has improved in almost every way over its predecessors. Increasing difficulties, a variety of missions and challenges, and time consuming trophies will have you playing Sigma 2 for weeks to come. Despite the blood and gore has been toned down considerably, it’s still a fantastic experience on the PS3.