Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
++ Smooth, intuitive control scheme
++ Rewards skilled gameplay
++ Excellent Weapon Variety
++ Team Missions are great
+ Enormous levels
+ Additional Character levels are solid
+ Extremely Difficult
-- Too many regular enemies
- Bosses don’t increase in difficulty as the game goes on
- Reusage of old X Box game textures for half the game
- Hardest Team Missions are impossible without exploits
- Excessive Fanservice
Ninja Gaiden 2 is a pretty solid game, though once you start getting better at it the bosses tend to fall over after you go through an enormous gauntlet of regular enemies. A single playthrough has well over 1500 enemies facing you to go with 20 or so boss fights in 17 levels. It is extremely combat heavy to say the least, but the amount of time you fighting regular enemies is a bit excessive and feels sort of like padding. This was already a long game prior to the additional 3 levels and team missions but now a campaign takes 15 hours on the standard difficulty setting, increasing substantially with each uptick thereafter. I intend to eventually beat the game on the two harder settings but fighting through 20 enemies perfectly only to die to some random cheap grab attack at the end is rather irritating so I’m taking it slow (checkpoints are a little sparse at times).
Once you get better weapons the game starts to pick up a bit as you can take off limbs in just a few hits and have “ranged” area of effect ultimate techniques instead of ones that only take out 1 or 2 enemies. However at this point you are also presumably starting to get better at the game as well and figure out how to block and dodge more effectively (though actually mastering the combat system takes much longer still) to defeat bosses. After I got to this point I pretty much decimated every boss on the first or second try (one of the earlier bosses in the game took me over 20 tries by comparison, granted it was a secondary character level and 2 bosses at once). Chugging through 30-45 minutes of normal enemies between bosses got quite irritating by the end; though the size of the environments is impressive I only wish they built some platforming or trap dodging into it instead of just a legion of enemies.
As noted above Sigma adds 3 extra characters, naturally with jiggle physics and 100 enemies alongside a boss to fight in one of the environments Hayabusa has already visited. This ultimately amounts to having 3 more weapon styles to add to the 10 already in the game (each having 25-30 vaguely similar moves) and a few ultimate Ninpo attacks. Ayame and Rachel both feel relatively unique, though Rachel is much more satisfying. Instead of a ubiquitous Izuna Drop (Swirly tornado bomb of doom from DOA) you can use her machinegun in mid air to do a surprising amount of damage. Rachel also has one of the best bugs in the game so in the insanely difficult Team Mission replays she is often present.
Team Missions are online co-op with some random person, and astonishingly there are still a good number of people playing this game (I suppose pointing to the depth of the combat system as well as the absurd difficulty on harder missions). However doing some of the “Ultimate Ninja” (a difficulty not present in the main campaign) missions requires you having a pretty solid partner and the capacity to retry hundreds of times. In virtually every strategy I’ve seen for the hardest missions one player simply dodges back in forth in such a way that they’re invincible to lure away 2 of 3 boss enemies that you have to fight in unison. Granted the dude who has to fight the last boss 1 on 1 still has to be virtually perfect to win but the tuning here is a tad absurd. Only 3000 scores are charted for the harder missions (for a game which came out 2 years ago) undoubtedly numerous of those being repeats from people retrying it. To get a platinum trophy in this game would take hundreds, if not thousands of hours (finally one to rival Star Ocean 4).
Final Score: 8/10