demoskinos's Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PlayStation 3) review

Truely a summation of its parts

 Sigma is a character in the Greek Alphabet that means “Sum of all values”. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for the Playstation 3 takes the title of “Sigma” and truly delivers on its meaning. This installment of Ninja Gaiden is truly a summation of the series.

As its title suggests the game is an enhanced port from the Xbox 360 version that was released in June 2008 amidst some heavy in-fighting and company strife at Tecmo.
While the first version version was fun it showed a lack of polish that is not common with Team Ninja titles.

The first difference you will notice about Sigma 2 is the fact that almost the entire game has been re-textured with added lighting and visual effects. The game isn't going to completely blow you away especially if you've already played graphic heavy titles like Gears of War 2 or Killzone 2 however the game does look gorgeous.

The game follows the same story as its Xbox 360 counterpart so not much new added here except for a cameo of a certain someone that I won't spoil for you. If you haven't played the original well the story isn't that good or important for that matter but in summary it basically involves Ryu globe hopping around the world chasing down the greater Fiend Elizibet to stop her plans to resurrect the Archfiend.

Ninja Gaiden has never been a game for its story and that's more than fine because the action really makes up for any other lacking parts of the game. The framerate most of the time stays at a good and solid. The combat is very fluid and there are many different teqniques to master like Obliteration Techniques and Ultimate Techniques.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 also adds 3 new playable characters. Rachel from Ninja Gaiden Sigma returns alongside Ayane who has appeared in previous Gaiden games along with the DOA games. Finally there is Momiji who most probably are not familiar with but she has appeared in Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword for the Nintendo DS.

All three girls have a playable level dedicated to just them. These levels are short but at the same time fun and it makes for a nice break in the action from playing with Ryu. And the additional characters make a bigger impact in the completely new mode for the Ninja Gaiden series called Team Mission Mode.

Mission mode has appeared in previous gaiden games in where the game would pit you with a task most usually revolving around murdering anything that moves. These were always solo affairs in the previous games. However this time you get to choose who you want to play as and bring a partner along with you too. And since this is a co-op mode it translates easily into online play which this game does offer. It's also the suggested option of the two as the AI in the offline Team missions mode is rather well…. dumb.

Now even if you're a solo player and don't really enjoy online romps there is much replayability to be had with this game. Once you beat the story mode you unlock more difficulty settings along with chapter challenge mode. Chapter challenge mode lets you choose what level you want practice it and try to score as many points as possible to upload your score onto an online leaderboard. There are also unlockable costumes to be had for each of the four featured characters in the game.

However while this game is great it may not be all a bed of roses for some. This version has drastically reduced the amount of gore in the game and depending on your tastes that may be either a good or bad thing. Although this change does however lend itself to making the game more palatable to a wider audience. Speaking of a wider audience the difficulty has also been tweaked the first two difficulty modes are much easier than previous Gaiden games. The game however remains brutal on the final two difficulty modes as on the highest difficulty even one slip up could mean a game over screen.

A few technical issues are apperent in the game as well. If the screen fills up with too many baddies the frame rate does suffer a bit and screen tearing while not a huge problem will occur at times. Finally many people not already used to wielding Ninja Gaiden's camera system may be put off a bit at first at trying to control the camera and keeping up with the blistering action.

All in all though this is the version to own of Ninja Gaiden 2. It has more content out of the box and on top of that promises of downloadable content loom in the future. If you are a fan of the series or a shy newbie that has always wanted to play the game this is a must buy. There is plenty to like here for the casual players and the hardcore fans alike.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is a solid entry into the series.

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