Die and Try Again
Team Ninja is at it once again with the sequel to arguably the best action game on the old Xbox system, promising to deliver fast paced action that’ll test your reflexes to the limits and perhaps result in numerous shattered controllers (and egos) across the world. The player will get to reprise the role of the young but ruthless ninja named Ryu Hayabusa—the last descendant of the dragon lineage and son of Joe Hayabusa, from the original Ninja Gaiden games.
Fans of the series will not find too many new elements in the game, especially if you have played Ninja Gaiden Sigma on the PlayStation 3. To help Ryu fend off the fiends, there are three classes of weapons—melee, ranged and nimpo (magic)—with bracelets being dropped out this time. There are weapons that do slashing, piercing or bludgeoning damage, and each of them can be upgraded to increase their power and unlock more devastating combos... And it is here where I think the game really shines. The animation (and decapitation) in the game are a joy to watch, and to the spectator, the game may look like an ordinary button-masher. However, the one behind the controller knows that what one sees on the screen is carefully thought out sequence of combos, counter attacks and ultimate techniques. As some of you may already know, this game can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to mistakes as hordes of enemies are rallied against you. To make matters worse, the camera control system has not seen any improvements and this can be very frustrating at times.
However, to make the game more accessible, the developers have tweaked some of the game elements. The most notable change is the healing system, where after an encounter you may find some of your health restored. Also, there are several save points scattered throughout the game and they have an added benefit of completely refilling your health bar the first time you use one. Ranged weapons, especially the bow have been reworked making it more useful in combat, and not just useful for solving puzzles.
For those of you who look for a deep story line in every game, will be sorely disappointed. The plot of the game and its characters are inconsequential and the only thing that matters is killing everything that moves till there are none left. The fun of the game lies in felling your opponents in the most stylish and gruesome way to rack up Karma points and aspire to see your name high up on the XBL leader boards. This does not mean the game is shallow and unfulfilling—it's just that combat mechanics more than make up for the lack of depth and sense in the game plot. Additionally, there are a few un-lockable things, like costumes, difficulty levels and challenges, enough to keep you engaged for days and even months.
After all is said and done, we would say this is one of those games that you'd either absolutely love and never set it down till you've mastered every bit of it or you'll throw the game away in one of those boxes labeled ‘oh, why did I ever buy this', never to set eyes on it again. The game may seem very daunting at first; however after you've got the hang of it, you'll rarely find a game with more fulfilling combat system. What you may need though, is the persistence and resilience of a true Ninja to pull this one off.