Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (Review)

Source: Review Copy
Price: £32.99 (or £39.99 for the Master Collection), Gaiden Sigma 1, 2, 3 included. Controller necessary.
Where To Get It: Steam

Now that I, Ryu Hayabusa, ninja who has gone from blue to deep, edgy black, have learned that Triple Buffering is bad for my games, I can properly be an awful ninja who forgets how to block and dodge, despite those being terribly important things, in the second installment of Team Ninja’s Ninja Gaiden, Sigma 2. Which is, honestly, a friendlier game, for the most part.

As in the first game, however, the camera can be your worst damn enemy.

Not the biggest fan of RB being “snap the camera back to somewhere over Ryu’s right shoulder” and hold RB for “Show me the path to go”, not only because that makes things awkward, but also because the way not to go often contains goodies, and the way to go inevitably contains fights I’m not so hot at with anything between two and… does a fingermath… Silly amounts of enemies (Okay, okay, the upper limit’s generally about eight, with more spawning in in longer battles.) Once again, controller mandatory, this is a character action game, so there’s a lot of blocking, dodging, combos, special Ninpo Arts, weapon switching, item switching, camera struggling… Less camera struggling than the first game, but definitely not free of it…

There be a lot of buttons, although your main ones are the fighty ones. Switch items mid-battle when you’re good at it, and maybe choose Hero mode.

However, when it’s not, congrats, you can enjoy some fun murdertimes.

In any case, the second installment is much more bombastic from the get-go. The team of Eeeeevil Ninjas, the Spider Clan, are once again up to no good, trying to claim demon artefacts to get demon powers while also being very devilish themselves, and your first boss fight is against… Buddha. Okay, okay, a gigantic Buddha statue, but it allows me to say that Ryu Hayabusa is a big believer in “If you meet the Buddha, kill him.”

Aesthetically, it’s definitely an improvement, pretty solid by today’s standards, visually nice, good music, much more organic sounds of death and blood, and, in a nice touch, you can either have the censored version’s purple smoke for blood, or, y’know… Blood. Oddly, the censors still allowed dismemberment. Maybe because it’s such a big part of the game. Cut a limb with a weapon off, bam, they’re less useful. Cut a leg off, they’re not going to do much, movement wise. Cut both legs off a Spider Clan ninja and you’re silly enough not to use the simple instakill-when-wounded of “Hit Y when you’re next to an enemy for a kill animation”, and they’ll try to grab you and self destruct.

“Ah. Clearly, this is Thursday. I never could quite get the hang of Thursdays…”

It’s still a peanut butter style deal, still not an entry level character fighter (although it’s likely as good as you’re going to get in this combo heavy, don’t button-mash but consider your movey type deal), but I’d more comfortably recommend this one to players looking to get into games where single people (sometimes different single people in certain chapters) beat the living snot out of multiple people at once, then beat the living daylights out of a boss, usually a loud and powerful one.

The Mad Welshman would kill the Buddha on the road, but the Buddha’s kind of far away, and he’s rather tired, and just not up to it. Here, this Buddha’s yours…

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