Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 ReviewDustin Wright
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is a title that aims to improve on last summers mediocre Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360. While Ninja Gaiden 2 was fun at times, the ninja action title was nowhere near as enjoyable as the previous Ninja Gaiden title as it was plagued with a terrible camera, cheap ways of dying (even more so than the original), and areas that outright broke the fast, frenzied, ninja action the Ninja Gaiden series has become famous for over the last five years.
With that being said, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for the most part succeeds in fixing what was broken about the previous version. It takes what was good about Ninja Gaiden 2 and leaves it in game while leaving what was annoying and generally not fun out. What the player finds in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is a definitive version, one that definitely has more muscle and fun than Ninja Gaiden 2.
However upon first stating the game, it does not look much different than Ninja Gaiden 2. The same cheesy storyline is intact, with a rampaging Statue of Liberty and all (yes, you have to fight the Statue of Liberty at one point). For many people, this would seem to be one of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2s (and the entire Ninja Gaiden series for that matter) downfalls, but I disagree. While the characters in the story do take themselves too seriously and the storyline is completely ridiculous, it gives a much needed comedic break in between the intense gameplay. Its nice to be able to laugh at the Statue of Liberty coming to life and ready to kill you after an intense boss battle, and I promise you will not be able not to laugh. Its unintentional comedy at its best and in a weird way makes me enjoy the game more.
At this point you may be wondering why is the Statue of Liberty trying to kill a ninja? Im not going into it as Im honestly not sure of what is going on, or with the story for that matter.
While the story may leave a bad taste in the mouth or a hilarious one, the gameplay is nothing to scoff at; in fact, if you go into the game thinking it will be a cake walk youre in for a rude awakening. While the easiest difficulty is not as hard as the original Ninja Gaiden (said to be one of the most challenging titles of this decade), it is still incredibly tough. Although I knew the kind of gameplay had an idea of what I was in for, it still did not prepare me for what lied ahead, as my butt was kicked numerous times despite the countless hours Ive invested into the original Ninja Gaiden. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 proves that even if you think you know Ninja Gaiden, its still going to spit in your face and laugh, and I couldnt have it any other way.
As previously stated, the camera was one of the aspects of last years Ninja Gaiden 2 that borderline killed its fun. Its a fast game without question, and because the player has to constantly be on their toes and move frantically throughout the areas of the game, the camera must be in the middle of the action at all times, something that did not happen in last years version. Luckily, that is all changed as the camera has been drastically improved over Ninja Gaiden 2s camera. The camera can be moved freely to ones liking, and in addition there is a camera reset button that resets the camera behind the character. While the camera isnt perfect (and it never has been in any of the Ninja Gaiden titles), it is at least manageable and most importantly, does not come close to killing the fun this time around.
In addition to the camera being fixed, the areas of the game have been fixed as well. Gone are the areas that possessed last years boring puzzles and backtracking to find items, a much welcome change. Also, entire levels have been altered and new areas have been added as well as new boss battles, giving those who had a previous run through with Ninja Gaiden 2 a somewhat new experience.
Also included in this version is a co-op mode called Team Mission, in which two players can fight waves of enemies together online. Players will have to develop strategies on the whim in order to complete the missions, with the missions ranging from being easy to nearly impossible. It is a great alternative to the single player campaign, and players who love online play with others while attempting to perfect their game will enjoy it immensely.
Overall, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is a game you absolutely must first try before you buy. It isnt for everyone as some will find the gameplay too challenging and frustrating, while others will absolutely love it. It will take a few days to complete, but it is the type of game that can take months to master. If you already own Ninja Gaiden 2 you may want to think twice before paying $60 for an improved copy of the same game. However, if you have curious about Ninja Gaiden 2 or the franchise in general, do yourself a favor and rent this game. The gameplay is more challenging than virtually any title available this console generation, and because of that notion alone it arguably is worth $60.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.