Ninja Gaiden 2 Review
Ninja Gaiden 2 box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Team Ninja 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft / Tecmo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 3, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Players will utterly dominate the majority of each chapter. New foes provide a challenge for the first few minutes, but once you see how they attack, they are dispatched as quickly as the initial Spider Clan baddies. Where things get really tough, especially on the Warrior difficulty setting, is in the boss battles. -- Thanks for the information, Captain Obvious! -- Seriously, Ninja Gaiden has always been known for tough bosses and NG II is no exception. The problem is these showdowns aren't nearly as interesting as they are in say, Metroid Prime or God of War. In fact, I only found the boss battles to be frustrating and not particularly enjoyable.

Ninja Gaiden 2 screenshot

All the dominance and unbashed ass-kickery I threw down while roaming the city streets was negated by some Sephiroth-looking D-bag with a purple-trimmed outfit. After quickly figuring out each boss' little tricks, you'll only be challenged by the task of executing your strategy with expert timing. Moreover, all the delightfully gruesome ways in which minions are slain are reduced to far more noble, and relatively blood-free, cinematic death sequences.

My last couple of gripes have to do with the graphics and the environments. The framerate is incredibly smooth and the textures are stunning, but there are a few chinks in the visual armor. Certain environments are fantastic, while others are simply standard. For example, the awesome views of the futuristic Tokyo cityscape were great, but the interior of the buildings are bland and featureless. Similarly, New York, a city known for its details, nooks, and crannies looked as if I was plodding around Denver. I didn't mind the mildly branching, basically linear level design at all, but I would have liked to have seen more attention paid to puddles, rust spots, billboards, etc. Those are the kind of details that bring gaming to the next level. Finally, the splattered blood on walls, while fun to look at, would often carry over into mid-air. This is a fairly knit picky complaint, but it's not the kind of thing for which the last game in the series should be remembered.

There are a number of things the game gets spot on, however. For one, the pacing is fast and furious. There is never any downtime, and you will quickly advance from area to area. Additionally, there is almost no shuttering. I was absolutely thrilled at just how stable everything is. It really is ultra-smooth. Finally, the regenerating health meter and ability to play in either Acolyte or Warrior difficulty makes the game accessible for more people. This may be unsettling for those who cut their teeth on Ninja Gaiden Black, but having the option to breeze through the chapters in Acolyte is nice for everyone except the most dedicated gamers. Thankfully, Warrior difficulty will still be a challenge to Ninja Gaiden masters. Anyone who says otherwise is either bionic or a lying snob!

Bottom line, Ninja Gaiden II is a very good action title that has a repetitive yet satisfying combat mechanic. It doesn't look or feel quite like the masterpiece Itagaki stated it was, but it will provide you with several hours of a bloody good time.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

The textures and framerate are astounding, but the environments are often bland and uninspired. Don't get me started with the phantom blood splatters!
They function extremely well, but the lack of creativity makes combat a bit too repetitive.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sounds of cloven flesh and gurgling blood-filled throats help set the tone. The Japanese voice work is more engaging than the English one.
Play Value
Cutting through the horde of enemies is fun. I just wish the boss battles were more intriguing.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Exhilarating ninja action. Assuming the role of a ninja warrior, players will experience an all-new combat system that requires skill and mastery of their full arsenal of weapons, including Obliteration Techniques that allow players to quickly and stylishly finish off an opponent. In addition to the variety of brutal new primary weapons and enhanced versions of previous favorites, Ninja Gaiden II will feature unique acrobatic combat and attacks used not only by Ryu Hayabusa but also by his formidable enemies.
  • Easy to play but hard to master. The new auto-healing system in Ninja Gaiden II, featuring semi-permanent damage restored at save points, is the natural evolution of the franchise's distinctive gameplay and introduces a new twist to managing health. With a newly implemented auto-healing functionality and save-point system, as well as an extensive story mode and multiple levels of difficulty available from the start of the game, the gameplay of Ninja Gaiden II will be accessible to more casual players and challenging to even the most demanding gamers.
  • Massive content and engrossing story. The themes of revenge and friendship in Ninja Gaiden II give rise to a series of dramatic events to create a truly compelling story. From Tokyo to New York and to the netherworld, the story will lead players through a lengthy, action-packed story mode as they skillfully maneuver Ryu Hayabusa through a demonized world fraught with danger.
  • Shared adventures over Xbox LIVE. The Ninja Cinema feature will allow gamers to record Ryu's combat exploits as movie clips on their Xbox 360. Players' favorite clips can be viewed at any time, and by coupling them with the black-and-white Akira Kurosawa-style video filter, they will be able to relive their adventures as though they were part of the traditional Japanese art form of the samurai film. The best Ninja Gaiden II players in the world will be able to upload their clips to Xbox LIVE for everyone to download and view, making this new Ninja Cinema feature a great way to accelerate the growth of the Ninja Gaiden II player community around the globe.
  • Realistic graphics in next-generation gaming. Built from the ground up from Team NINJA's in-house gaming engine for the next-generation Xbox 360 platform, Ninja Gaiden II represents the best in amazing visuals, responsive control, and thrilling combat with an extensive assortment of ninja weaponry.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV, Widescreen).

  • Screenshots / Images
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