Ninja Gaiden II

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Ninja Gaiden II
Ninja Gaiden II.jpg
European cover art
Developer(s) Team Ninja
Publisher(s) Ninja Gaiden 2
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Designer(s) Tomonobu Itagaki
Artist(s) Masahiro Nose
Composer(s) Hiroyuki Akiyama
Ryo Koike
Takumi Saito
Series Ninja Gaiden
Engine Hybrid Engine[1]
Platform(s) Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
PlayStation Vita
Release
Genre(s) Action-adventure, hack and slash
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Ninja Gaiden II is a hack and slash action-adventure video game developed by Team Ninja and published by Microsoft Corporation. It is the sequel to the 2004 title Ninja Gaiden and was released worldwide for the Xbox 360 in June 2008. An updated version, titled Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 was released for the PlayStation 3 later in 2009, and was published by Tecmo.

A sequel, dubbed Ninja Gaiden 3, was released in 2012.

Gameplay[edit]

Ryu Hayabusa fighting enemies in Ninja Gaiden II

Ninja Gaiden II's new combat system allows Ryu to dismember his enemies, severing their limbs and tearing their bodies apart covering his weapon and everything around with blood. Compared to Ninja Gaiden, the sequel contains more gore and graphic violence.[4] Dismemberment will weaken or slow down an enemy, depending on if an arm or leg is severed, but not necessarily kill it. In fact, an injured enemy will be prone to use suicide tactics such as pinning Ryu down and planting an incendiary shuriken on him, forcing the player to quickly finish off his opponents using new, brutal Obliteration Techniques before injured enemies can get the upper hand.[5] This new mechanic can also be triggered in the presence of boss characters. Compared to other action-adventure titles, the player can be just as vulnerable to attack as the enemies can during fight encounters.

Aside from his standard melee techniques, Ryu can absorb nearby essence in combat. These colored globes of energy are released from the bodies of slain enemies, and absorbed into Ryu's body when he comes close to them. Essence has an important role towards general game play, acting to heal Ryu, restore his ki, or increase his cash. However, the player can cause Ryu to deliberately draw in essence, which can then be used to unleash powerful attacks known as Ultimate Techniques. When Ryu fights and takes damage, there is a red bar that starts building on the right of Ryu's health bar, which is called lasting damage. After Ryu has slaughtered all of his enemies in that particular area, his health recharges, but only to the point where the red bar starts. Herbs of Spiritual Life and Save Statues can heal this lasting damage, however. Also when Ryu is done fighting, he performs a chiburui (the act of swatting blood off of his weapon). He does this for every weapon, with a different animation for each one. Ryu can stand still and attempt to block attacks (though enemies can break his guard and leave him vulnerable to attack) or he can dodge by dashing away in a maneuver called Reverse Wind. The game also takes two elements from the "Hurricane Pack" upgrade from the original game: camera rotation and the ability to charge up for an Ultimate technique without the need for essence (this takes time to charge up; essence can still be absorbed to speed up the process).

Ryu will use his signature Dragon Sword in combat, but new weapons, such as the Eclipse Scythe, Dragon's Claw and Tiger's Fang swords, Tonfa, Kusari-gama and the Falcon's Talons ninja claws will allow the player more variety in dispatching enemies. Ryu's new magical spells, in the form of ninpo, includes the Art of the Flame Phoenix, Art of the Wind Blades, and the Art of the Piercing Void. However, weapons and ninpo from the original Ninja Gaiden will return in the form of the Art of the Inferno and the Vigoorian Flail. The returning Windmill Shuriken, Incendiary Shurikens, and bow (Renamed the Fiend's Bane Bow), can now draw in essences like all of Ryu's melee weapons to discharge their own Ultimate Technique.

Plot[edit]

One year after Ninja Gaiden Black, master blacksmith Muramasa is setting up shop in Tokyo, Japan. A CIA agent named Sonia enters the place and asks for Ryu Hayabusa's whereabouts, until members of the Black Spider Ninja Clan attack the shop and kidnap her. Enter the Dragon Ninja Ryu, who fails to stop Sonia's kidnapping and makes haste around the Tokyo skyscrapers and rescues the agent, who informs him of an attack on the Hayabusa Village by the Black Spider Ninjas, who wish to steal the Demon Statue they possess and protect.

Ryu returns to his home and finds his father, Joe Hayabusa dueling with Genshin, leader of the Black Spider Ninja Clan. Unfortunately, the Demon Statue is taken away by Queen of the Greater Fiends and the Ruler of Blood, Elizébet, and Joe urges his son to retrieve the statue at all costs. Ryu travels around the world with Sonia, in pursuit of Elizébet and the Demon Statue, while encountering legions of Black Spider Ninjas, Fiends, and three other Greater Fiends: Alexei, the Graceful Ruler of Lightning; Volf, the Invincible Ruler of Storms; and Zedonius, the Malevolent Ruler of Flame.

Ryu tracks Elizébet down to South America, where she offers the Demon Statue to Infernal High Priest Dagra Dai, in order to resurrect the ancient Archfiend, Vazdah. Elizébet duels with Ryu and he defeats her, but Elizébet proclaims her return. An overlooking Genshin explains that the fiends are looking to resurrect the Archfiend who is supposed to emerge from Mount Fuji back in Japan. The mountain is also the place which bound both the Black Spider Clan and The Dragon Lineage. Ryu returns home, cautioning Sonia not to follow him.

As Ryu overlooks the fire-brimming Mount Fuji, Ayane enters with the Eye of the Dragon, a gift from Joe Hayabusa, and Ryu equips the relic onto his Dragon Sword, forming the True Dragon Sword again. Heading to the mountain's summit, Ryu finds Genshin waiting for him at the crater's entrance. As Mount Fuji erupts, Genshin reveals to Ryu that he never cared for "tantrums of the archfiend" and that their moment has finally arrived. The two ninjas fight to the death before Genshin falls dead and Ryu leaps into Mount Fuji. Elizébet appears over a deceased Genshin looking to revive him as a fiend as Ryu descends into Mount Fuji.

Ryu fights past hordes of Fiends and singlehandedly defeats Zedonius, Volf, and Alexei, and rescues a captured Sonia. He instructs her to stay put and to not move. Ryu heads into another room and finds a resurrected Genshin, transformed into a Fiend, back for a fourth and final battle. The two ninja battle in another arduous battle ending with Ryu eventually cutting Genshin down, even splitting his face armor doing so. Genshin and Ryu, though mortal adversaries, share a final mutual respect as ninja in Genshin's dying moment. Genshin shares with Ryu that all of his actions were meant to strengthen the Black Spider Clan as a whole (his cause all along) and has no regrets of pursuing that. He acknowledges Ryu as a great warrior, and in support of Ryu's cause hands him the cursed blade of the archfiend for use before dying. A furious Elizébet appears, and chastises the Black Spider Ninja for losing, even with his power. Ryu attacks Elizébet, and angrily cuts her down to red dust with the combination of his own dragon sword and Genshin's blade of the archfiend. He states that the overlord had more to live for than she ever would.

Traveling deeper into the Underworld, Ryu confronts Dagra Dai, who is nearly finished with the Archfiend's resurrection, and defeats him. As a last resort, the Infernal High Priest offers his life to Vazdah, and the Archfiend is reborn. Ryu takes down the monstrosity and heads to the surface with Sonia, but a drop of his blood from an open wound accidentally spills onto the fiend and revitalizes Vazdah, who ascends to the summit in its true form. Amidst an erupting Mount Fuji, Ryu squares off with the Archfiend in a climatic duel to decide humanity's fate and wins. Sonia and Ryu reunite and climb to the top of the mountain, sharing the sunrise together.

In a post-credits scene, amongst a field with countless number of blades embedded into the ground, Ryu plants Genshin's Blade of the Archfiend into the ground and bows in respect for the Black Spider Overlord. The Dragon Ninja takes one last look before taking off into the fog.

Development[edit]

Promotion of Ninja Gaiden II at the Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Taiwan

Initial screenshots of Ninja Gaiden II surfaced on the Japanese official Xbox 360 website, but were removed within a matter of hours in October 2007. Aside from new weapons shown, new locales were revealed. Ninja Gaiden II was officially shown at the Tokyo Game Show 2007,[6] with the first released trailer. It was previewed at Microsoft's Tokyo Game Show Press Conference and was confirmed as an Xbox 360 Exclusive. Director Tomonobu Itagaki was quoted during the event as saying "Now please enjoy the world's best action game, running on the world's best hardware."[7]

The localization was overseen by Team Ninja member Andrew Szymanski, in collaboration with AltJapan Co., Ltd.[8]

A Ninja Gaiden II game demo was released on the Xbox Live in Japan on May 31, 2008, and in Europe and the United States on June 8, 2008.[9][10]

The game has not been released in Germany due to lack of a USK rating.[11]

Other versions[edit]

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2[edit]

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, stylized as Ninja Gaiden Σ2, is an enhanced port of the 2008 Xbox 360 video game Ninja Gaiden II, and developed by Team Ninja exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It includes the entirety of the original story mode as well as additional enhancements made to improve the game, along with updated textures and a 720p resolution. The game can be considered a spiritual sequel to Ninja Gaiden Sigma, as it expands on II in the same way Sigma expanded on the original. A port for the PlayStation Vita, titled Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus, was released in February 2013.[12]

Cooperative gameplay in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, featuring Rachel and Ayane

The game features new large-scale bosses, an online co-operative gameplay mode and the PlayStation Network Trophy support.[13][14][15] Unlike the first game, the Sixaxis motion sensing of the PlayStation 3 controller was not used for "charging" the Ninpo magic, but instead utilized as a secret way to jiggle the breasts of female characters.[16]

While Sigma 2 has additional content not in the original Ninja Gaiden II a large amount of content was also removed from the game, or altered. With Team Mission mode, where two players can play at once in cooperative gameplay, the second character will be CPU-controller partner if there is no human partner or the player is offline. In Story mode, Karma Scoring is removed and now only done in Chapter Challenge. Tests of Valor were also removed, scattering the rewards across Ryu's chapters.

Enemies' health was raised to compensate fewer enemies appearing on screen. Five new bosses were added, replacing two old boss encounters. There is one new boss for each alternate character's chapter (including returning bosses from NG:DS and NG). Almost all the gore has been removed. Purple mist now bursts from enemies, along with reduced blood splashes. Dismembered body parts no longer stay on the ground, but vanish. Additionally, cinematics have been altered to remove dismemberment, dissection and blood effects. In the Japanese version of NGS2 the player can only decapitate monsters and non-humans. Even the pause menu and game over screens are colored blue instead of red to reflect this change. The Vita version however restored all the gore with the exception of the Japanese version.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 booth at Tokyo Game Show 2009

Though Team Ninja developed the title, the series' creator Tomonobu Itagaki did not design it, as he left Team Ninja after completing Ninja Gaiden II. Yosuke Hayashi, director of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, produced and directed NGS2.[17] Hayashi as the new director of Team Ninja had the game ported from its original Xbox 360 engine to the engine used to create Ninja Gaiden Sigma. The game's native resolution became 720p, compared to the original 585p in the original Xbox 360 version, with an increased use of bloom lighting effect.[18] Eurogamer commented that the game "has the visual edge, not just thanks to its massively increased resolution but also through the accomplished use of the RSX's pixel shaders."[19]

As a trade off for increased resolution, the amount of on-screen action has been reduced in the PS3 version to keep the game running at an acceptable speed. Eurogamer pointed out that there are fewer enemies spawned at one time in the PS3 version of the game, and the developers "blatantly remove polygons in the Sigma edition in order to maintain frame-rate."[19] Also of note is the reduction of bloodshed and gore-related violence than the Xbox 360 version.[20] Sprays of blood have been replaced by purple mist, and dead enemies and severed limbs will vanish from the battlefield "almost instantly" after killing an enemy.[18] Hayashi had many textures replaced to vastly improve the visual appeal of each environment, but left most character textures unchanged.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus[edit]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.25%[21]
Metacritic 81/100[22]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B-[23]
Edge 8/10[24]
Eurogamer 7/10 [25]
Game Informer 8.75/10[26]
Game Revolution B/A+[27]
GameTrailers 8.4/10[28]
GameZone 8.8/10[29]
IGN 8.7/10[30]
OXM (US) 8.5/10[31]
TeamXbox 9/10 [32]
Game Planet 8.5/10[33]
GameDaily 9/10

Ninja Gaiden II has been met with generally positive reviews. However, GameSpot nominated it for the award of 'Least Improved Sequel' in its 2008 video game awards.[34]

On August 28, 2008, Ninja Gaiden II was reported as having sold over one million copies.[35]

In 2011, G4tv.com ranked it as the fourth goriest game of all time.[36]

Ninja Gaiden Σ 2 has an overall Metacritic rating of 83.[37] The game received an 8.4 from IGN.com and an 8.5 from Game Informer.[38][39] In 2012, ScrewAttack included it on their 2012 list of top ten "games that make you want to bone".[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gamasutra:Q&A: The Way of Team Ninja - Hayashi on Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
  2. ^ Tanaka, John (2009-07-01). "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Dated in Japan". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  3. ^ Scammell, David (2009-07-27). "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 hitting UK in October". GamerZines. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  4. ^ TGS07: Cutting Through Ninja Gaiden II Archived November 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "TGS: The Violence of Ninja Gaiden II - Edge Magazine". Next-gen.biz. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  6. ^ "This Web site coming soon". Gamers-creed.com. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  7. ^ Sep 16, 2007 (2007-09-16). "Microsoft - TGS 2007 Ninja Gaiden II Developer Walkthrough". GameTrailers.com. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  8. ^ "The Meaning of Ninjy". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  9. ^ Demo: Ninja Gaiden II - Xbox Lives Major Nelson Archived January 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Demo: Ninja Gaiden II Playable (Canada and US) - Xbox Lives Major Nelson Archived November 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Ninja Gaiden 2: Keine Veröffentlichung in Deutschland vorgesehen News // Xbox 360 /// Eurogamer.de Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Mitchell, Richard (2012-09-19). "Team Ninja reveals Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus headed to PS Vita". Joystiq. AOL Tech. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  13. ^ Torres, Ricardo (March 24, 2009). "GDC 2009: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 First Look". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  14. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (March 17, 2009). "Xbox 360 Exclusive Ninja Gaiden II Coming To PS3". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  15. ^ "E3 09: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2". GameTrailers. June 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  16. ^ Kotaku - Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Gets SixAxis Jiggle Support
  17. ^ Stewart, Kemuel (2009-03-17). "Ninja Gaiden Σ II Coming To PS3 [Updated]". Game Centre Online. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  18. ^ a b Digital Foundry at Eurogamer: Face-Off: Ninja Gaiden 2 vs. Sigma 2
  19. ^ a b Digital Foundry at Eurogamer: Face-Off: Ninja Gaiden 2 vs. Sigma 2 (page 2)
  20. ^ "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 will contain less violence". IGN. 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  21. ^ "Ninja Gaiden II rankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  22. ^ "Ninja Gaiden II metascore". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  23. ^ Nick Suttner (2008-05-27). "1UP: Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox 360)". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  24. ^ "Edge". 191. Future Publishing. August 2008: 92–93. 
  25. ^ Rob Fahey (2008-03-07). "Eurogamer: Ninja Gaiden II Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  26. ^ Reeves, Ben. "Gameinformer review". GameInformer. Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  27. ^ Geoff Hunt (2008-06-30). "Ninja Gaiden II review". Game Revolution. 
  28. ^ GameTrailers (2008-05-26). "Ninja Gaiden 2 review". GameTrailers. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  29. ^ Louis Bedigian (2008-06-03). "Ninja Gaiden II Review". GameZone. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  30. ^ Eric Brudvig (2008-05-26). "IGN: Ninja Gaiden II Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  31. ^ McCaffrey, Ryan. "Official Xbox Magazine review". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  32. ^ Dale Nardozzi (2008-06-02). "Ninja Gaiden 2 Review (Xbox 360)". TeamXbox. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  33. ^ Gameplanet (2008-06-11). "Ninja Gaiden 2 review". Gameplanet. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  34. ^ "Least Improved Sequel". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  35. ^ "Ninja Gaiden II Breaks One Million Barrier". Exophase. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  36. ^ 7 Goriest Games of All Time Part 2 – G4tv.com
  37. ^ "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  38. ^ Ryckert, Dan (September 30, 2009). "Lady Ninjas Join This Wholesome Remake - Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 - PlayStation 3". Game Informer. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  39. ^ Clayman, David (September 22, 2009). "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  40. ^ ScrewAttack, Top 10 Games That Make You Want to Bone, ScrewAttack's Top 10, GameTrailers.com, 02/13/2012.

External links[edit]