The Let's Play Archive

Ninja Gaiden II & Sigma 2

by ArclightBorealis, PSWII60

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Original Thread: Master Ninja vs Ninja Dog: Second Impact (Ninja Gaiden II + Sigma 2)



Those adept at battle walk the path of the Warrior at all times.
In the life of a true ninja, every day brings one closer to death.

Is this the Dark Sword of Chaos?
No, that’s the NES game. Ninja Gaiden II is the 2008 sequel to the critically acclaimed Ninja Gaiden on the original Xbox. It builds on the gameplay of the original to deliver an incredibly fast paced, bloody ninja power fantasy where the enemies and the player character Ryu Hayabusa are more aggressive than before. It’s also got a slightly unfair reputation attached to it as it was saddled with having to follow up on the masterpiece that was the first Ninja Gaiden, which is not easy. At all. Similar to DMC4, it falls short in various aspects such as environments (ditching the interconnected design of Vigoor in exchange for contained linear levels), enemy design, graphics being not that much more advanced than NG1, and the story being incredibly stupid (but still able to have fun with itself). But the core gameplay is heavily advanced from its predecessor, and for serious fans of this genre that is more than enough to make up for most of the aforementioned shortcomings.

Ninja Gaiden II was also the last Team Ninja game directed by Tomonobu Itagaki, before his departure from the company a month after release, and thus it became the last Xbox exclusive title from the developers before returning to multi-platform development. Following a year later after Yosuke Hayashi assumed the position as head of Team Ninja, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 was released for the PS3, setting out to use the PS3 hardware to create a better looking version of the 360 release as well as to correct the other issues in terms of game balancing and level design that were still remaining. In addition to that, exclusive content such as new playable characters and weapons are thrown into the mix, much like the original Ninja Gaiden Sigma did. So like before, what you get between the two versions are quite different experiences.

So is this another dual playthrough LP?
You bet your ass it is, but this time the tone will be a bit different. Ninja Gaiden Black and Sigma 1 were different versions of the same game that really had little need to add more than there already was, but the developers did anyway and a passerby could look at both games and not notice anything seriously different on a design level. I gave an in depth look at both games and they were given their fair shake.

With regards to the games being played here, Sigma 2 does not have this luxury. These are both very different games even on first glance, and Sigma 2’s lesser quality compared to its 360 counterpart is far more pronounced than the differences in Sigma 1 ever were. I won’t list all the reasons here for why this is the case, that’s what the videos are for. Needless to say, Sigma 2 suffers from a major case of overcorrection in response to criticisms (some legit and others perceived) of the 360 game, and now neither version is free of some glaring flaw or two that keeps it from the pantheon of quality titles occupied by the likes of Bayonetta and DMC3. This is a diamond in the rough that never got, and never will get, its “Ninja Gaiden II Black.” And that is a fucking shame.

If you couldn’t tell already, this is gonna be way more slanted against the Sigma version than the last LP was, where I was largely fair with both games. So get ready for a playthrough where my mode oscillates hard between excitement and disappointment with near every video.

Still no Master Ninja run for either?
Absolutely not. Ninja Gaiden II’s higher difficulties are not especially well balanced compared to the default, and while my reckless and super offensive playstyle would seem more viable here than it was in Ninja Gaiden 1, me trying to go through Path of the Mentor or even Master Ninja would be akin to me trying to LP a bullet hell shooter. Fun for a while, but eventually my senses give out and are completely overwhelmed by the bullshit that gets thrown at me. Sigma 2 is also not as fun on the higher difficulties, but again like everything else in Sigma 2, it’s because of a different set of problems. So normal playthroughs, the way the creators intended.

So sitback and enjoy as PSWII60 and I dive into the sequel to one of the greatest action games conceived. And remember...

...You must obliterate!

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