Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 PlayStation 3
Published by: Tecmo Koei Europe
Developed by: Tecmo
Ninja Gaiden II on the Xbox 360 (you can read our review here) was a fine action game but it wasn't without its share of problems. Problems such as a wayward camera, a frame rate that was not consistent, and frustrating difficulty spikes prevented the game from being as good as it could have been. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 isn't simply a version of Ninja Gaiden II for the PlayStation 3. A lot of the problems have been resolved here, and that by itself makes Sigma 2 the best version of Ninja Gaiden 2 you can purchase. In addition, there's quite a bit of additional content here to make the game appealing to those who have already played through the Xbox 360 version.
The game begins with a young woman in search of the game's central character, Ryu Hayabusa. This young woman turns out to be Sonia, a CIA agent for the U.S. government. She's investigating a top-secret case and needs to talk to Ryu. Whilst Sonia is enquiring about Ryu at Muramasa's store, the Black Spider Ninja Clan launches an attack and kidnaps Sonia. Ryu appears but he's too late to prevent Sonia from being taken away. This then is the beginning to another fiercely difficult Ninja Gaiden action game but you're getting more than just the original storyline in Sigma 2.
To begin with you'll need to go through an eight minute installation process. PlayStation 3 installation processes can be tedious affairs but whilst the game is installing you'll get read a comic strip, entitled Ninja Gaiden 2 prologue, which should keep you entertained for most of those eight minutes. On starting a new game you can either choose the "Path of the Acolyte" or "Path of the Warrior" with the former offering a lower difficulty level which gives people like me a chance to complete the game without becoming maddeningly frustrated. With the original Ninja Gaiden 2 even the lower difficulty level had its fair share of difficulty spikes. Things are not so bad in Sigma 2 and the difficulty level seems more even throughout.
What you'll find in Sigma 2, apart from certain aspects of the game being improved, is three new levels that allow you to play as three different female characters (Rachel, Momiji and Ayane). These levels are short but enjoyable to play and the levels don't feel too out of place with those in the original game. For some, no doubt kinky reason, you can also jiggle their breasts by shaking the Sixaxis controller. Whilst this might do something for some people, it certainly does nothing for the game-play but thankfully it's a feature that can be easily ignored. The original missions have been improved a little too with additional enemies and bosses to deal with. There is also a chapter challenge mode (unlocked when you've completed the game), which allows you to play though the storyline's missions again, and there are also a generous amount of co-operative levels to play through. You can either play with an AI companion or head online to find someone to assist you. For the most part these missions are enjoyable. These features alone make it appealing for those who've already played through Ninja Gaiden II.
Sigma 2 is just as visually impressive as Ninja Gaiden II. Graphically the game is just as sharp although you'll notice a lack of the profuse blood splatters in Sigma 2 that Ninja Gaiden II had. The frame rate here is noticeably better however and it's smooth throughout most of the game. Even when there are occasional dips, they aren't as dramatic as in the Xbox 360 version. The camera can still be a annoying at times and it's a real shame that this hasn't been rectified as it was probably the biggest source of irritation with Ninja Gaiden II. You'll also notice some screen tearing in Sigma 2 which is unfortunate and it's a shame a vsync option hasn't been included. There are some new cut scenes featuring the additional playable characters and they look great.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is subtitled although the subtitles are disabled by default. The subtitles don't have any character names or portraits placed alongside the dialogue but it seldom causes any problems. The game's cutscenes are subtitled so you'll have no problems enjoying the storyline. All of the tutorial tips in the game are shown in text and you can read them at your own pace. Whilst there are no captions/visual clues for unseen enemy sounds, it doesn't put you at any kind of disadvantage. The game is equally harsh on hearing gamers who will also have virtually no warning of the enemies that suddenly appear in front of them. After half an hour or so into the game, you learn to expect enemies appearing from out of nowhere or to have objects thrown at you with no warning.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 contains all of the great combat and challenging boss fights of Ninja Gaiden II and contains enough improvements and additional features to make it appealing to those who have already purchased the Xbox 360 game. Almost all of the new additions are worthwhile, aside from the ability to wobble the playable female characters' boobs, and it's easy to recommend this over the original release of Ninja Gaiden II. It's a shame that the camera problems haven't been completely remedied however, but it's still a great action game and easily one of the more challenging ones on the console.