March 20, 2007 – Ninjas are so awesome. It’s no wonder that everyone wishes they were one. The cool outfit, amazing weapons, awe inspiring combat moves that rival their stealth motions and, of course, the cool outfit. Team Ninja and Tecmo have been bringing one of the coolest of cool ninjas to gamers for a while now on the Xbox. Finally, PlayStation enthusiasts will have their chance to be a ninja as only Team Ninja can allow. A remake at heart, Ninja Gaiden Sigma retells the events of Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black with tons of extra features. How can they improve on an already classic title on the Xbox you ask? Simple, bring it to the PS3.
The story will be the same as Ninja Gaiden Black, revolving around the Dark Dragon Blade, which was sealed away and protected by warriors of the Dragon Lineage. Their descendants formed the Hayabusa ninja clan, and Ryu Hayabusa was one of them. The blade is stolen by forces of the Vigorian Empire led by the Great Fiend Doku. Now, Ryu must infiltrate the secretive Vigorian Empire and retrieve the ancient cursed blade.
While the general story will be the same, this new addition to Ninja Gaiden will bring more to the table than before. Most of the combat system will remain intact. The inclusion of the new double sword wielding Ryu will undoubtedly introduce a new perspective to the already impressive combat style. The ability to hold and attack with two swords won’t be the only upgrade to Ryu’s weapons.
Team Ninja is working on refining the usage of the shuriken and the bow, as well. Of course, we can also expect a nice assortment of newer weapons for Ryu to use in addition to the newly polished old favorites. New weapons aside, Ryu will also have new combinations to pull off, most notably the expansion to water-running.
In the past editions, this novel concept has been underused extensively but now you will be able to fight and, as long as you keep running, slash through you enemies on water. One of the moves displayed on the trailer showed Ryu using his Izuna Drop against a fish man, of sorts, that got in his way, crashing below the surface of water from a destructible pile-driving attack.
Ryu’s new and upgraded weapons won’t be the only thing fans of the series will be eager to experience. Rachel will be a playable character this time around. The player will see through her eyes the world of Ninja Gaiden. Most of her missions will center on and around events that took place off screen in the Ninja Gaiden Black. However, she will have her own storyline to follow, and these will reveal more information on the Vigorian Empire. Rachel will also have her own weapons and combat moves independent to Ryu’s. With new boss fights like Gamov, new encounters of old bosses, you will have an encounter with Ishtaros in the chapel, in place of the Unawakened Alma, previously only a boss in the mission modes or in the final stages of Master Ninja difficulty, and a worm boss encounter with significantly more worms coming from all directions around Ryu. Regular AI enemies will also receive an upgrade.
One of the biggest concerns for the Ninja Gaiden series has been the level of difficulty. In Ninja Gaiden, several players scrutinized Team Ninja for making the game incredibly difficult. Team Ninja addressed this problem with the inclusion of Ninja Dog mode on Ninja Gaiden Black. Team Ninja has stated that Sigma will be directed at a broad audience, meaning that it will probably include higher difficulty levels of play for the experienced Ninja Gaiden fan as well as levels specifically directed at the newcomers to the series.
Along with the next stages, advance weaponry, new enemies, upgrade to combat, and the inclusion of a separate story mode for Rachel, Ninja Gaiden Sigma is lavishly improved graphically. The trailer showed improvement in simple character mapping as well as some new particle effect, and an improved fire effect. Ryu’s model looked smooth, as did Rachel’s, and the background textures looked equally improved. These graphic upgrades to the game have even gladly caused Team Ninja to remove some of the FMVs from earlier editions and replace them with in-game cutscenes that might even involve player interaction.
Even though Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a remake, it is heavily wrapped in extra additions to the already successful game. This will be one to watch for. PlayStation fans will have a reason to express their love for ninjas, other than a certain group of “heroes in a half shell “come summer 2007, and if the trailer is any indication to the graphic improvements made, then PS3 owners are in for some beautiful ninja action. So practice your ninja skills, sharpen your shuriken, and prepare yourself for Ninja Gaiden Sigma.