|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Team Ninja||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Tecmo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 3, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
July 9, 2007 - Almost 2 years ago, the first Ninja Gaiden game came out for the Xbox, and was hailed as an instant classic. Action-packed gameplay, a thoughtful storyline, and not to mention some amazing visuals made the game a must-play on the original Xbox.
Unfortunately, I was never able to play the original Ninja Gaiden. But I had heard such wonderful things about it that when Ninja Gaiden Sigma came out, I was thoroughly pumped. And once I popped it into my PlayStation 3, I have to say that I was taken aback by the spectacle that I found myself in. Did I deserve all this excellent Ninja-yumminess? Well, apparently Ninja Gaiden Sigma was what I got for being such a good gamer girl for half a year!
There's just so much to love about this game. I suppose it's only appropriate to begin with the story. The game starts you off by putting you through some grueling ninja training. However, once you finally pass your test and make your way to the resident Ninja Master, you learn that rogue Samurai have invaded your hometown. As you search through the town, however, you find that these were not just Samurai, but an ancient race of Badguys known as fiends. And to make things worse, they have your family's sword!
And it gets better from there! But in the spirit of keeping this review mostly spoiler-free I'll stop there. One new addition in this version of the game is the addition of femme-fatale Rachel as a playable character. Although her mechanics are a little different than Ryu's and take a little getting used to, it's still pretty awesome playing as the blonde bombshell. Course I'm a little partial to Ryu still, but I might let that pass for now
Controls for your characters are pretty easy to pick up, and of course, difficult to master. You'll be able to unlock combos and special moves as you progress, and surprisingly, there's not too much button-mashing involved. Special moves are simplistic, but deliver on the devastating damage that I know you crave. This is especially exciting to me because I've been in all too many situations in a game where mashing out the right 10 button sequence would mean killing that ultra-hard boss, but I ended up being the one biting the dust because I just didn't have that immediate coordination. So the simplistic combo structure is a big improvement in my book.
However, I did have one qualm with the control scheme. You see there's this really cool Ninpo (Ninja Magic) that you can use in the game, but you need to do a two-button smash to activate it, and then you have to shake the PS3 controller to make it useful. While this doesn't sound annoying perhaps as you're reading it, trust me it is very annoying, and more often then not you'll opt to just use your katana. And there's nothing wrong with going back to old faithful, because a ninja's creed is forged by the sword.
Now to the part where this game really outshines it's predecessor. The visuals. They are absolutely beautiful. If your jaw doesn't drop at some point during this game, there may be something wrong with your vision. It is intricately detailed, and has breathtaking landscapes. Plus your characters look wonderful. You'll be able to see every muscle and curvature in your character's body during gameplay and you'll be privy to a virtual feast for the eyes anytime there's a cutscene. I just can't stop raving about how beautiful this game looks. The only game that I've ever seen that could rival this one is Assassin's Creed. And it's not even out yet!
Sound in this game is also exceptional. The score is a delight to listen to and really fits the mood and action going on in the game. It's also extremely varied, so you won't be hearing the same couple bars over and over. It's definitely an experience in itself, and I have to say that I am more than pleased with the score. The voice acting isn't quite up to snuff to really be classified as exceptional, but it passes the bar, so there are no complaints here. All your badguys have different voices and different sounds that they make, so it's not too bad, but I feel that the voicework done on the main characters could have been done a little better. But as I said earlier, there's no real complaints, so I'll just take it as it comes.
Overall, if you buy one Ninja game this year, make it Ninja Gaiden Sigma. I know there's lots to choose from out there, but trust me, this one delivers. It's got satisfying gameplay, wonderful music, and some uber-amazing visuals. And you'll have lots of fun. I can almost guarantee it. If not, then you may be allergic to ninja fun. And that's something to get looked at!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer