Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
|Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2|
North American cover art
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3
|Genre(s)||Hack and slash, action-adventure|
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.
The game features new large-scale bosses, an online co-operative gameplay mode and the PlayStation Network Trophy support. 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.
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.
In the gameplay control system, the action button changed from RB/R1 to circle, circle is now also the shuriken button. Other ranged weapons were separated to the R2 button. This allowed both the Bow/Cannon to be equipped at the same time as the shurikens. The player cannot unequip the bow or cannon. Thus, the two weapons bulk up Ryu's appearance even though they do not appear in cutscenes. Keys were completely removed. Doors simply pop open now. Now (R1) tells the player where to go. Projectile spam was greatly reduced from NGII. Healing items were increased and are the only thing one can buy. Most chests now contain yellow, blue, or red essence. Players no longer can hold onto Life of the Gods, Lives of Thousand Gods, or Spirit of the Devil; instead, they are automatically consumed upon pickup.
Changes were made to Ryu's weapons. Enma's Fang, a greatsword, was added as a new melee weapon. The Incendiary Shuriken were removed for two reasons, opening paths and their power due to the removal of the ammo count, and is instead Ayane's main projectile weapon. The Fiend's Bane Bow, now with unlimited ammo, had its Ultimate Technique removed. The Howling Cannon, a heavy cannon with a slow projectile speed, served as a replacement. Additional removed weapons include the Windmill Shuriken and the Harpoon Gatling Gun. The Weapon Upgrade system was also altered to restrict upgrades, allowing only one upgrade at a time per shop. In addition, weapons can only be upgraded at shops where a blue flame is lit; items can be bought in both types of the shop.
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), a Dragon to replace the double Quetzalcoatl fight (though Quetzalcoatl can still be fought alone as in NGII), and two giant statues: a giant Buddha Statue and a Statue of Liberty animated by Alexei. The Tunnel Worm was omitted, causing Ryu to fall through a tunnel leading from dark night to bright day. Most flying enemies were removed due to infinite ammo.
Finally, 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.
The game's protagonist is Ryu Hayabusa is the central character of the Ninja Gaiden series, master ninja, descendant of the Dragon Ninja lineage and current wielder of the Dragon Sword. Exclusive to the Sigma version of the game are three new chapters starring three alternate playable characters: Ayane (a kunoichi from a friendly clan who helps Ryu, originally from the Dead or Alive series), Momiji (a female member of the Hayabusa clan who uses a naginata and was introduced in Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword) and Rachel (a Fiend hunter from the Holy Vigoor Empire who is in possession of the "Fiend's Blood" curse and first appeared in the 2004's Ninja Gaiden).
One year after the events of the Ninja Gaiden Sigma, master blacksmith Muramasa is setting up shop in Tokyo. A CIA agent named Sonia enters the place and asks for Ryu'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. 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. Ryu takes one last look before taking off into the fog. The plot is continued in Ninja Gaiden 3 and its expansion Razor's Edge.
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. 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. 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."
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." Also of note is the reduction of bloodshed and gore-related violence than the Xbox 360 version. 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. Hayashi had many textures replaced to vastly improve the visual appeal of each environment, but left most character textures unchanged.
Those who purchased the Collector's Edition were treated to a comic version of the prologue, titled The Vampire War, and the original soundtrack. The Collector's Edition was limited to GameStop in North America and HMV for the UK. Pre-ordering either edition at GameStop warranted a code for a special Sigma 2 costume, mildly resembling Joe Hayabusa's own outfit, which that costume along with others can be purchased from the PlayStation Store.
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2011)|
Ninja Gaiden Σ 2 has an overall Metacritic rating of 83. The game received an 8.4 from IGN.com and an 8.5 from Game Informer. In 2012, ScrewAttack included it on their 2012 list of top ten "games that make you want to bone".
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2013)|
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- ScrewAttack, Top 10 Games That Make You Want to Bone, GameTrailers.com, 02/13/2012.
- Official website (Japanese)