Monday, March 4, 2013

Ryu Hayabusa is back again with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus

Just a few short weeks after Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus became available free to PS Plus users on the Vita, we are graced with the second epic action, gore filled, ninja hack and slash for the portable console with the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus. While Ninja Gaiden 2 has been out for a couple years now, Sigma 2 Plus provides more to fans and those that may have missed it the first time. More of what, you say? More places to play from on the portable console, more characters to play as, more game modes, and most all, more Ryu Hayabusa. In Ninja Gaiden 2, Ryu has to locate the Demon Statue, stolen by the Black Spider Ninja Clan, to put stop to the resurrection of the Archfiend in battles taking place from Tokyo to New York. I had a great time with Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, let's see if the second can surpass the first attempt of the portable port.

Visually Sigma 2 Plus is far and away better than the first, with added content and better graphics from the first. The cutscenes look amazing and while Ninja Gaiden 2 was my favorite in the series and having already beat on the 360, it was still fun to go back and play with the different weapons and multiple costumes. The gory finishing moves never got old and the huge epic boss fights were still as memorable as before, albeit without the lightning fast gameplay and that polish you get playing on the home console. The unlockables and replay value is what had me coming back for more. As you complete levels, you also unlock chapter challenges as you play through the story along with costumes and weapons for multiple characters in Tag Mode.

Unfortunately, there are a couple things that take away from the gameplay with the visual overhaul. When things get hectic, five or more enemies on the screen at once, things slow down. Not just slow down but get rough and pixelated. I feel that I would have rather had the smooth playability over the shinier graphics, much like Mortal Kombat’s Vita entry. As a fan of the series, I am not an adopter of the “Hero” playstyle as it gimps the gameplay making the game a bit of a breeze, which goes against what the Ninja Gaiden titles were all about, challenging levels with frantic button mashing to stay alive. Lastly, some of the game mode feel like they were added as filler, while some modes are nice to have like the Ninja Race, and Tag Mode would have been great if it had online multiplayer support.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus is a great game for the Vita. While it is a port of a Team Ninja classic, new content helps justify the purchase. I did say that the slowdown and pixelation was pretty bad, but don’t let that dissuade you from purchasing as it has many hours to offer, along with great rewards and equal amount frustration. It took me about a half an hour to get used to the slower gameplay, but the rewards and new moves kept me coming back for more. I hope for the success of this title, mainly to see if the Vita will get it’s own Ninja Gaiden, like the DS did, but more fun and less touch controls.