Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

Second Sigma

We go hands-on with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and offer up first impressions of just a snippet.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: July 27, 2009
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It's a little hard to describe the roller coaster of emotions that surged through the office when we received our preview build of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Everyone gathered around to watch as we fired up our debug and slipped the disc in, then waited for over five minutes as the game installed (all while a work-in-progress digital graphic novel told something of a prequel story for Ryu and his pappy, Joe, fighting against a demonic uberbaddie), then squealed with girlish glee as the title screen finally started up.

...And then we released Tecmo was only providing us with a taste of the full experience. Broken up into three levels, we could take a spin as returning mega-ninja Ryu as he raced through the opening Tokyo level from the vanilla Ninja Gaiden II fighting Black Spider Ninja Clan goons, and explore the choked streets of a sleepy European town with newcomers Ayane and Momiji (who first made an appearance in Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Swords on the DS). In the case of all three experiences, things were a bit truncated (most notably in Ryu's level, which teased us with the appearance of a giant Buddha statue tearing through the Tokyo skyline).

Worse still, we couldn't give the new online co-op a go because of weird network issues we're sure will be ironed out by the game's release. It's a bit of a bummer given that the multiplayer portion (which has you and a buddy picking your playable character then hopping into pre-selected challenges with the person that did the most slaying getting a bigger portion of the spoils) is probably the most significant addition to the Sigma iteration of the release over the original Xbox 360 version -- barring the new playable characters, of course.

Interestingly enough, Rachel, who appeared as a playable character in the first Sigma, wasn't playable in our preview build (though she's in the full game, of course). We mention it only because Rachel was probably the most different from Ryu's play style; both Momiji and Ayane have different weapons, attacks and abilities, but they play a bit more like alternates of Ryu rather than marked departures. Momiji actually plays most like her fellow Hayabusa Village native (which makes sense), but her longer staff-like sword gives her some serious range at the cost of a little speed. By contrast, Ayane is incredibly quick (well, in terms of Ninja Gaiden, which is already an insanely quick game to begin with), but doesn't pack the same kind of range of her ninja bro and sis though she does sport one hell of a semi-ridiculous bow.

In the case of all three characters, the levels stopped rather abruptly, though Momiji let us thump on a boss a little before he high-tailed it out of there with about a third of his total health. Ayane's open-air market conclusion was the most truncated, as there wasn't a real indication that the level was coming to a close. Even still, that's probably a good thing, as her section, winding alongside a series of canals, was rife with enemies that would attack with rocket launchers from off-screen.
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