Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Review: "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2"

So one day I was walking around Seow Chun and chanced upon Sigma 2's trailer on their wide screen plasma TV. For the first 10 seconds, I was pretty sure the graphics are better, and then when I saw that you can play other characters other than Ryu Hayabusa (namely Rachel, Momoji and Ayane <3),>Co-op is another reason too, but playing Ayane is more important to me XD

I never really played much of Ninja Gaiden 2 for the X360. I only went halfway through Mentor Mode, in which I gave up because of its difficulty and frustration (I kept thinking that I was wasting my time). Jeer at me if you want for not being hardcore enough, but I have other stuff to do at that point of time.

I buy only for Ayane XD

NGS2, compared to NG2, is relatively easier. Not only the AI stop using cheap tactics to murder you (like dying ninjas jihad-ing you one by one when you let your guard down for a every small moment), but you also gain the use of the Izuna combo early in the game. In fact all your level 1 weapons now comes with the Izuna combo, so it becomes a staple combo for everything.

For those who doesn't know what is Izuna, it is actually an fast air combo (which means it rarely gets interrupted) which deals tons of damage to a character that can be lifted. It is especially useful early game, since everyone then can be lifted. Here's a vid on Izuna Drop:

On to another point: Blood. I thought that the lack of blood wouldn't upset me, just a minor setback...but I was wrong. Throughout my play through NGS2, I really missed the spill of blood everywhere when Ryu forces his blade through the victims' joints. Now it's replaced by some lame blue aura. Just try searching YouTube for NG2 for X360. You'll see how bloody it is.

Where did all the blood go?

Gameplay is still pretty much the same. You kill people, they spawn 'Essences'. There are 3 kinds of 'Essences': Blue to replenishing health, Red for replenishing mana and Yellow for cash. Essences is also used for boosting your Ultimate Technique (read on for those who doesn't know what I'm talking about).

The Blacksmith no longer uses cash for upgrades though. Instead, every Blacksmith shop you find is limited to one upgrade, so you can no longer grind to upgrade your weapons anymore. On the bright side, now you can spend all your money on healing items (I had MAX for every item at mentor mode at almost all times, and I'm not even THAT good).

WTF is this?!

On to characters, Ryu himself have lost several of his ranged equipments, leaving him only the Bow/Arrow and a huge gun. I spent like a long time searching the entire sewers for his Incendiary Shuriken which he gets at NG2 only to give up, search the FAQs and realize he doesn't get it anymore. That's my only gripe about Ryu. Other than that, he's still solid.

Between some of the original chapters, there are 3 more chapters, each allowing you to play as one of the new characters. Although all of them only uses one weapon and ninpou (magic), they are still significantly different.

Co-op character selection!

Momoji has good range, has double jump and an air Ultimate Technique. For those who don't know, Ultimate Technique is a charge up move with 3 levels. Level 2 and 3 will automatically unleash series of deadly combos to a target. If there are 'Essences' nearby, you will attract them while you are charging the Ultimate Technique. One essence, regardless of size and color, will instantly level up the Ultimate Technique.

Rachel's Ultimate Technique is a shockwave. She also carries a very potent ranged weapon that can actually kill (it's a machine gun..). Also her damage seems to be quite high.

Ayane is very short ranged, so compared to all the characters, she will look somewhat handicapped. I still haven't found out anything espacially good about Ayane (sadly DX) but she has explosive shurikens at least (so that's where my incendiary shurikens went!). It's still fun to play her though! (I'm being biased here)

All in all, I will never regret purchasing NGS2. One fun addon is the availability of co-op mode, where you can pair up with others online to complete mission maps. Gameplay is still the same in co-op, just less people to defeat and Essence management may be a little screwed up (like if 1 Blue Essence is sitting around, who will it go to?).

MUA2? Nah, just my imagination..

So is easier good? I would say that that is the wrong question to ask. It's not that easy, yet not that hard, a nice balance for an average player. Also, some might consider both to be different games due to the different mechanics and the different audiences it seems to target: NG2 for hardcore bloodthirsty people and NGS2 for the less hardcore, 'play-for-fun' people.

And I agree with that. Saying that NG2 sucks because it's difficult is just being short-sighted but that's another rant ;)

NeetGeek gives Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2: 8.5/10

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