The Path of the Ninja is a difficult and taxing one.
You must hone your reflexes to their fullest in order
to defeat the hordes of enemies that stand before you
Explain Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Gaiden is a 3D character action game developed by Team Ninja and directed by Tomonobu Itagaki, released for the original Xbox in 2004. It was a very significant game in the action genre with its fast paced, technical combat that made it stand out from other games in the genre following the original Devil May Cry. While DMC was about showing off, using your moveset to its fullest to create stylish combos, Ninja Gaiden is squarely focused on conflicts where every opponent was potentially as threatening and capable as the player character, requiring efficient use of your arsenal to overcome them. This approach was influenced more directly by fighting game design than any prior action game and Team Ninjas previous experience with the Dead or Alive series makes this quite evident.
Needless to say, it was critically well received and was a major showcase for the original Xboxs power late into its life cycle. But it didnt stop there for the game. Team Ninja supported it for a good year with two pieces of downloadable content called the Hurricane Packs, and even held multiple online competitions in what was known as the Master Ninja Tournament. With new content and balance changes being introduced to the game, Itagaki and co decided they would leave the Xbox with the ultimate action game package as they transitioned to the 360 in the form of Ninja Gaiden Black. Released in September of 2005, it is considered the definitive version by fans and the creator himself, and is the game that will be the focus of this LP well, half of the focus anyway.
For this LP, it's a Double Feature with the two best versions of the game: Black, and Sigma.
Wait, Why 2 Games?
Ninja Gaiden is notable in that there have been many rereleases of this game, but unlike most other games that would receive this treatment, Team Ninja were not content to just port the game as is with a shiny coat of paint but instead remix it and add new content in places to make it stand on its own. In the case of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, that version of the game was not directed by Itagaki, but rather current head of Team Ninja Yosuke Hayashi. Sigma uses Black as its base for the core game, and the changes applied are numerous to say the least. This has sparked many a debate on the merits of this version, whether it brings enough to the table that it can improve on the previous version the same way Black did for OG Ninja Gaiden.
The short answer is no, but its still worth playing if youve never bothered to own an OG Xbox or 360. To make the argument more convincing, a dual playthrough LP is what this will be all about. Showing off Black and Sigma for what they are, what they do well, and so on.
As a disclaimer, Im honestly no real expert when it comes to playing this game. I may know a lot mechanics wise and the theory behind why Ninja Gaidens gameplay works so well, but my playstyle is too reckless and highly un-optimal for higher difficulty play to be entertaining. Im no AccountingNightmare, Im no yoshesque, and Im sure as hell no Mike Kobb. So instead of forcing myself to climb up the spike laden rock cliff face that is Master Ninja Difficulty as a bonus, I figure this dual game approach would be more stand out. After all, its not often you see a game get two versions with a multitude of differences that vary from subtle to drastic.
So Just Normal Gameplay?
Yep. Both games on Normal, the default difficulty when starting the game for the first time. Black will be played with the intent of showing as much variety and details in the game as possible, while Sigma will be demonstrating whats known as a Karma Run, playing the game for speed and points above all else during combat. Both are fun ways to play the game, no matter which version. Youll see soon enough.
So sit back, and watch as me and my co commentator PSWII60 walk down the Path of the Ninja and show that its not quite as hard like many make it out to be. Well, maybe just a little.