Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus Review
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus Box Art
System: PS Vita
Dev: Team Ninja
Pub: Tecmo Koei
Release: February 26, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 544p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity

This is all well and good for those who have played a version of Ninja Gaiden 2 before, but what of those who haven’t? How does NGS2P stand on its own merits as a game, and not as an entry in the Ninja Gaiden franchise?

Discounting the slowdown, this is a very attractive game. Even with a reduced resolution, many of the levels feature complex architecture (sometimes to the point of obfuscating objectives) and appealing arenas in which to do battle with one’s foes. The combat itself flows beautifully when the game does, forcing the player to shift seamlessly between attack and defense as the enemy aggressively pursues them, even the lowest of the low providing a credible threat if left unchecked. The wealth of weapons on display and precise controls further serve the action, ensure that one does not want for variety and that Ryu is able to react with split-second timing to changing circumstances.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus Screenshot

That said, the plot is still a near non-entity, the platforming that occasionally breaks up the combat ranges from inoffensive-but-dull to controller-chucking-annoying. Ryu’s movement has a fair amount of inertia, which is fine for launching him into combat, but not so great for precise jumping action.

In comparison to what’s out there today, though, NGS2P feels like a relic. While the combat is fun, it’s the only real hook in the game, and enemies don’t really provide enough variety to remain engaging for the entire length of the campaign. Their placement, too, is somewhat haphazard, with them sometimes popping up as you enter narrow hallways only to be totally absent from large, perfectly outfitted rooms. It also feels very “flat,” since foes will mostly be attacking you in straight lines long the ground, rarely availing themselves of terrain or altitude (not that Ryu’s controls or abilities would lend themselves to such a combat system). Maybe I’ve been spoiled by DmC, with its extremely mobile, multi-tiered combat and quick-swapping of weapons, or Metal Gear Rising and its meticulous placement of enemies to make its levels actual scenarios, rather than slash-and-smash galleries of foes.

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This game’s very existence perplexes me. It smacks of having been produced by committee, with anything that might have provided a technical challenge either altered, excised, or ignored. It is visually appealing, but its performance is lacking. At least one of the additional modes is engaging, but the online functionality that could have given it lasting appeal is absent. And the gameplay itself, the core of the experience, is faithful to the original, but lacks value in the face of advances in the genre. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus is a sub-par port of a game that was impressive when it launched, but has since been overshadowed.

By
Shelby Reiches
Contributing Writer
Date: March 1, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.0
Graphics
Still appealing, but the lower resolution and less-detailed characters hurt it. Not as much as the unavoidable slowdown, though.
4.5
Control
Still the same core as Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, but the Vita version gets bonus points for smart use of the touchscreen aiming and accommodating those of us whose awkward hands are in constant contact with the back touch panel.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent, meaty sound effects ensure that combat is viscerally satisfying. The music, though, is forgettable and the voice acting is nothing to write home about. No option for Japanese voices, either.
1.5
Play Value
It’s the same Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 that hit the PS3 four years ago. Even if you missed it, the game pales before the other action options out there today. The lack of online modes is a further blow to its replayability, though the Ninja Races are a lot of fun.
2.8
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • The ultimate ninja action game.
  • Ayane, Momiji, and Rachel as playable characters.
  • All-new Ninja Race and Tag Mission gameplay modes.


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