When one console receives a game a lot later than another, we expect a few enhancements and some extra content as compensation for the wait, whether it’s the inclusion of all the current extra content or a few extra stages. So far, Tecmo has trumped all other developers when it comes to souped-up late releases, first with their excellent port of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, and now again with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is an enhanced version of the original Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360, which was released last year. To compensate PS3 owners for the incredible wait, Tecmo has added extra characters, weapons, stages, and tweaked the graphics a little. The result is one of the PS3’s slickest action games to date, with tight controls and tons of style. The story is so simple and unoriginal that it doesn’t warrant a big explanation. Bottom line: Ryu Hayabusa’s village was attacked, a sacred statue was stolen, and now he has to get it back. Right, that’s the premise out of the way, now onto the action.
In some ways, the action is more forgiving in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 than in it was in the previous game. After each encounter, Ryu seems to regain a large chunk of any health that he lost, even on the harder difficulties. This is probably to compensate for the increased danger. Ryu will face all kinds of enemies, ranging from relatively human-looking ninja, right up to multi-legged mutants and skyscraper-sized living statues. Now, rather than simply beating enemies to death, Ryu can hack their limbs off. Any dismembered enemy can then be dispatched in a quick and gory fashion by simply pressing the hard attack button – but this is a double-edged sword. Dismembered enemies will also try to launch a desperate suicide attack on Ryu, clinging to him and blowing themselves up, causing huge amounts of damage. Players can waggle the sticks to push enemies off Ryu before they blow up, but they have to be quick.
Ryu can acquire an impressive arsenal of weapons, including his trusty Dragon Sword, dual katana, a staff, claws, a big hammer, a bow, and a huge matchlock cannon. Each of these weapons can be upgraded to allow Ryu to perform more moves and more impressive combos. In addition to Ryu, players will occasionally be able to control three sexy female characters in the main game, and in a special co-op mode in which two players play together to defeat waves of enemies either on one machine or online. First up is Momiji, a spear-wielding ninja from Ryu’s clan; the next is Ayane, Ryu’s purple-haired ally from the Mugen Tenshin Clan; and last up is Rachel, the leather-clad, axe-wielding bombshell from Ninja Gaiden Sigma.
For an action game, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 has it all: tons of action, a good challenge, nice visuals, an entertaining co-op mode, and some cool extras, making it easily one of the best action games currently on the PS3.